Global One readies international VPN

Following through on a promise to forge ahead despite ownership chaos, international carrier Global One has introduced its first IP-based virtual private network.

The service, Global Intranet VPN, will use tag-switching technology, Cisco's implementation of Multi-protocol Label Switching, to initially provide two classes of service -- standard and priority -- for VPN enterprise traffic.

Global One coupled the service announcement with a long-awaited disclosure of its standard service-level agreements (SLA). The SLAs apply not only to Global Intranet VPN, but also to the carrier's other services.

The first of the major international ventures to come forward with standard SLA numbers, Global One is offering guaranteed network availability ranging from 95 per cent to over 99.9 per cent, depending on location.

The SLA announcement impressed industry watchers.

"Standard SLAs are still few and far between for IP VPNs, let alone global IP VPNs," says Jennifer Pigg, senior vice president at The Yankee Group in Boston.

Global One has been rocked recently by reports that its three owners -- Sprint, France Telecom and Germany's Deutsche Telekom -- are feuding. Customers reportedly have been shortening contract terms while they wait to see if Global One will be sold or restructured.

Global One officials have been on a campaign to show the company is no longer just an alliance. Global One has been investing in its own unified switching architectures to establish itself as an ongoing business regardless of ownership.

Part of that plan has been to install Cisco 7500 series routers in 14 locations around the world -- the initial points of presence (POP) for Global Intranet VPN. That number will rise to 30 by year-end, says Adil Mahmood, Global One's director of IP network services.

By the second quarter of 2000, there should be Cisco VPN POPs in all locations where Global One currently has Nortel Networks ATM switches for its frame relay and ATM services, Mahmood adds.

Global One did not release prices for the VPN service. But Mahmood says users will have five options based on their traffic priority settings. One option is likely to enable 100 per cent standard traffic and no priority traffic, and another the opposite. Details on the other options will be released by October.

Dial-up access options with secure tunnelling will allow branch offices, mobile users or outside users in an extranet to access the network. Dedicated-access options will include private lines, frame relay and ATM.

Global One: http://www.global-one.net

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