Keeping a closer eye on dial-up VPNs

Inverse Networks is teaming with Cisco Systems, Indus River Networks and VPNet Technologies to make the monitoring of dial-up virtual private networks (VPN) easier.

This week, Inverse announced its TunnelVision Initiative, a program that lets vendors bundle Inverse's IP InSight measurement software with their VPN client software, such as Cisco's VPN Client, Indus River's Riverworks Pilot and VPNet's VPNremote Client Software.

By combining IP InSight and VPN client software, users will be able to set up their own VPN measurement system, so they can ensure their ISPs are living up to their service-level guarantees, said Bobbie Murphy, vice president of marketing at Inverse.

IP InSight lets users gather statistics, such as call failure rates, network throughput and latency, for each dial-up user. Cisco, Indus River and VPNet plan to make IP InSight client software available free to their customers by the third quarter. But before you think you're getting a virtually no-cost way to monitor your dial-up VPN, hold on.

In order to actually gather the statistics IP InSight generates, users first have to purchase Inverse's IP InSight server software, pricing for which starts at $US49,000 for 1000 users. Alternatively, a company could outsource the VPN monitoring to Inverse for $22,700 a year for 1000 users. Inverse's outsourcing service eliminates the need for a company to purchase and maintain its own IP InSight server. Customers access their VPN information via a secure Web site.

Indus River and VPNet plan to resell IP InSight's server as a package deal. And Indus River plans to integrate Inverse's server software into its RiverWorks Tunnel Server so users won't have to buy the software separately, said Dave Zwicker, vice president of marketing at Indus River.

Inverse's Murphy also said that additional vendors will be part of the TunnelVision Initiative in the near future.

Inverse Networks: www.inversenet. com; Cisco: www.cisco.com; Indus River: www.indusriver.com; VPNet: www.vpnet.com.

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