Nortel has rolled out a VPN services framework designed to let service providers know how they can use existing Nortel gear to offer IPSec VPN and Secure Sockets Layer remote access services.The framework asserts that Nortel gear can support network-based SSL remote access to corporate networks, making it possible for the service provider customers to use this technology without spending any effort setting up their own infrastructure. With SSL support included with Nortel's Shasta IP services equipment, carriers can offer secure access to corporate resources from PCs with a Web browser and Internet access.The Shasta gear already supports network-based IPSec connections to customer networks and Nortel notes that its Alteon SSL gear can be tied to Nortel Alteon equipment to provide SSL access as well.Nortel equipment can also incorporate metro Ethernet services as an access method to an existing network based VPN, enabling customers to tie in more sites via Ethernet without altering services to existing locations. It also enables encrypting traffic over frame relay access links that lead into service provider networks. With Nortel gear in their networks, providers can also dish up MPLS VPNs.This formalization by Nortel of its VPN service options means the company is trying to make it clear to service providers the new services they can sell based on Nortel equipment. The company obviously wants to sell more equipment.But this exercise of setting possible service roadmaps for providers may actually prompt carriers to offer these services sooner, assuming the providers believe they can make money off them. If successful, the services will mean more options for customers that are interested in the flexibility and security of VPNs without the need to build their own.