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3Com Offers DSL VPNs

3Com Corp. Wednesday put the finishing touches on a virtual private network that will be rolled out by digital subscriber line providers and christened the new product by signing up Copper Mountain to be its first client.

The VPN over DSL solution from 3Com Carrier Networks Business integrates the IP services of the infrastructure provider's Total Control® 500 192-port DSL concentrator with the VPN tunnel-switching capabilities of the Total Control 1000 platform.

3Com, which stresses "simplicity in networking," described how it works.

In the VPN over DSL solution, the Total Control 500 192-port DSL concentrator recognizes user profiles and services at the IP layer, aggregates all VPN traffic from multiple subscribers in a geographic region onto a single virtual circuit and forwards the traffic to the Total Control 1000 platform.

The platform adds security and tunneling services to the VPN traffic (such as IPSec, L2TP, authentication, accounting and billing) and forwards the traffic to an Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) switch or to an IP-based router. The result is that the need for additional subscriber management systems is eliminated, paving the way for service providers to centralize solutions and lower capital costs.

Todd Landry, vice president, product management, 3Com Carrier Networks Business, said VPNs are in high demand due to the increase on remote offices and telecommuters -- veins where voice and data converge and security comes at a premium.

"By deploying VPNs, DSL providers put themselves in position to cost-effectively retain and build their customer base, increase profitability and deliver additional enhanced services," Landry said.

Specifically, in the deal with DSL equipment provider Copper Mountain, 3Com has fastened its VPNoDSL solution to Copper Mountain's CopperEdge® 200 DSL Concentrator. Financial details of the deal were not made public.

Kevin Mitchell, service provider networks analyst of Infonetics Research, also stressed the importance of the convergence of the VPN and DSL.

"Our recent study of US Tier 2 service providers shows that 76 percent of the respondents deploying DSL plan to offer VPN services over that broadband connection in 2001," Mitchell said. "These providers look to use DSL as an enabling platform for value-added services such as VPNs; this provides tremendous value to the customer and helps expedite the service providers' return on investment."

Forrester Research analyst Galen Schreck said those desiring VPNs will turn away from in-house solutions and address the burgeoning managed service market.

"Technology vendors tout virtual private networks as a solution to remote access, wide area networking, and extranet woes," Schreck said in an October 2000 brief. "But implementation and interoperability issues will send enterprises scurrying for a managed service offering."

Indeed, Infonetics agreed. The research firm found that U.S. managed network service expenditures will balloon 357 percent from $7.2 billion to $32.9 billion between 2000 and 2004. Senior Analyst and Executive Director of Infonetics Jeff Wilson said 2001 will be a make or break year in the managed services arena.

"Organizations of all sizes that are kicking the tires on managed services will consider wide-scale deployments if service providers put more emphasis on security and thoroughly test and document service reliability," Wilson said.

This seems to be exactly what 3Com is addressing with its VPNoDSL play Wednesday.



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