Proficient's lower cost device aims to pick best VPN route

Proficient Networks is introducing a less expensive appliance that directs VPN traffic to the best Internet connection at sites with more than one Internet link.

Called NPE210A, the box is a scaled-down version of its NPE510A device, priced to attract customers that have site-to-site VPNs whose performance they want to improve.

Because picking the best route for VPN traffic to take requires a Proficient device at each site, it is important to keep down the price of outfitting each office. Previously, customers had to use the NPE510A, which cost $30,000, but they can now buy an NPE210A for $9,000.

Proficient’s appliances fall into the class of route-control equipment that plugs into corporate LANs and monitors performance on Internet access lines to determine which link is giving the best performance. Then based on policies that take into account the performance of the Internet connections and the price of the connections, the devices can divert traffic to one Internet connection or another.

For instance, if the latency on two links is within 50 milliseconds, the NPE could be set to pick the cheaper link. But if the latency difference goes above 50 milliseconds, the NPE could pick the faster regardless of the price.

To optimize the performance of site-to-site VPNs where each site has more than one Internet connection, both ends of the connections have to be tended by a route control device. Since most VPNs are between smaller branch offices and larger headquarters, equipment for smaller offices need not have as much capacity as equipment for larger headquarters.

NPE210A supports keeping track of performance to 100 destinations, which Proficient says should be enough for a branch office. NPE510A supports up to 5,000 destinations.

The entire NPE line has been certified by Check Point to integrate with its VPN-1/Firewall-1 software. This means the NPE equipment can be monitored and managed from Check Point’s management platform.

NPE210A is available now.

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