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Coming to ComNet

Voice-over-IP wares, VPN gear and DSL services on tap.

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If enterprise customers can cut through the clutter and noise of 50,000 attendees at ComNet 2000 next week, they will be treated to myriad new products such as high-quality voice-over-IP gear; faster, less-expensive virtual private network (VPN) devices; and the ingredients for more manageable digital subscriber line (DSL) services.

Start-ups such as Integral Access and VPNX - plus veterans such as Alcatel - will be rolling out a slew of hardware, software and services that will help network professionals bolster all aspects of their enterprise IP networks.

For starters, Integral Access will introduce its PurePacket access switches. This gear employs Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) to support voice over IP and DSL, as well as traditional voice and data. Corporate customers should be interested in Integral Access products because such switches can support network services that dish up different qualities of service (QoS) to meet the needs of different applications.

Integral Access says its switch can support QoS requests across pure MPLS-enabled IP networks, starting at a customer site where its Outburst SB access device supports multiple services over a single connection. For example, the device can simultaneously deliver 24 IP voice calls plus a 500K bit/sec data channel on a 1.5M bit/sec T-1 line. The gear also supports multiple traffic types over DSL lines.

Speaking of DSL, Larscom, which makes enterprise WAN gear, will debut in the DSL arena, wheeling out two offerings: the CupreDSU, a symmetric DSL modem, and the CupreBoss, a high-bit-rate DSL2 (HDSL2) modem.

The Larscom modems will address the corporate need for symmetrical links between sites and the desire for less-expensive connections. HDSL2 supports a service virtually identical to a T-1, but uses only two wires instead of four.

The devices support WAN services inexpensive enough that smaller corporate sites can be tied into enterprises by dedicated lines.

TollBridge, maker of voice- over-DSL gateways to public phone networks, plans to introduce its element management system that will let users more easily configure TollBridge hardware and troubleshoot service problems. The package can speed the often slow process of getting DSL once customers order it and make it easier to resolve problems when something goes wrong.

Similarly, Vina Technologies plans to announce voice-over-DSL technology designed to make deploying such services easier. Voice over DSL can put 10 or more voice channels on a single traditional phone line with room left over for a wideband data pipe.

And expect voice-over-DSL announcements from Efficient Networks, following its $1 billion purchase of Cabletron subsidiary FlowPoint, which makes DSL routers for customer sites.

For the IP world, industry giant Alcatel, a major force in Europe, plans the U.S. launch of its voice-over-IP platform for enterprise nets. The company would not release details about the platform, but typically voice-over-IP products let corporations consolidate their local voice and data networks, and reduce their need for leased WAN links because one packet-based link can carry all traffic.

In a related area, a start-up service provider called VPNX will introduce a VPN service. Located in Redwood City, Calif., the company will encrypt IP sessions over the Internet for its customers who don't want to build their own VPN networks.

VPN vendor Altiga will make its VPN concentrators more attractive by slashing prices. The boxes also get new nomenclature. The C10 becomes the C15 and drops from $10,000 to $8,000. The C50 becomes the C60 and drops from $50,000 to $30,000. The C20 becomes the C30 and drops from $20,000 to $17,500. The C30 also gets a boost in processing power so it can encrypt at 50M bit/sec rather than 25M bit/sec. The new device supports 1,500 simultaneous remote users rather than the C20's 1,250.

Upgrades of traditional gear

Paradyne will announce a scaled-down version of its smart DSU/CSU that measures the performance of frame relay virtual circuits. The new devices will make it affordable for customers to put circuit-monitoring equipment at each site in frame relay networks.

FrameSaver Flex DSU/CSUs not only cost less, but they also are easier to install than earlier FrameSaver gear, says Frank Weiner, Paradyne vice president of broadband access services.

The Flex equipment can be polled by FrameSaver's management platform to troubleshoot circuits. Software preloaded in the devices can be activated to generate data that can be used to verify whether carriers meet service-level promises.

Paradyne will also introduce an ATM card for its Grand Slam DSL multiplexer. The card will enable carriers to offer four different QoSes over a single symmetric DSL circuit. That means voice can be treated differently from data on the same wires.

Adtran will introduce an integrated access device for customer sites that combines voice and data onto T-1 lines. Combining traffic cuts the need for separate voice and data trunks, saving users money.

The Atlas 550 can function as a frame relay concentrator, a traditional T-1 multiplexer or a voice switch. It has LAN ports to allow PBX calls, LAN data and remote access traffic to share a single WAN link.


Contact Senior Editor Tim Greene

Other recent articles by Greene

Firm to blend voice, data traffic
Newcomer Integral Access aiming to help users eliminate multiple access pipes.
Network World, 2/15/99.

Integral Access Web site

A taste of VPNs
Network World, 11/1/99.

Ramp router supports VPNs over DSL links
Network World, 11/1/99.

Alcatel takes aim at the branch office
Network World, 10/11/99.

DSL explosion ready to rip
Network World, 07/19/99.

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