• United States
Executive Editor

Do you want all your eggs in a single edgeBOX

Dec 08, 20052 mins

* EdgeBOX claims to do it all

EdgeBOX is a relatively inexpensive way to support VPNs in small offices, but the device can do a lot more.

In addition to site-to-site VPNs via IPSec and remote access VPNs via Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), edgeBOX also includes an IP PBX, a VoIP gateway, a mail server, a wireless access point, a Web server, a storage device and a firewall. A device that can handle 20 end users costs $1,150.

With all that, who needs anything else? That is what the maker of the device, Critical Software, wants you to wonder.

The appliance has some clear advantages. It drastically reduces the amount of equipment needed in branch offices or small businesses by cramming all those functions into a single box. It reduces the number of vendors needed to support such offices and it can be centrally managed for businesses that want to deploy a lot of them.

The downside is that these are the classic single point of failure. If somebody pours a Coke into it and it drowns, there’s not a lot you can still do in that office. Plus, who’s ever heard of edgeBOX or Critical Software? Will it be around to give support when it’s needed?

Critical Software, it turns out, is a diverse company based in Portugal that has its fingers in a lot of different industries from telecommunications to defense to aerospace. It’s been around since 1998.

It builds edgeBOX around a lot of open source code and makes it compatible with off-the-shelf servers and hardware blades, which combine to keep the cost down.

The company plans to start selling the devices in the U.S. early next year.