Efficient launches T-1 gateway

DSL equipment provider Efficient Networks Inc. broke into the T-1 market last week by launching the Siemens se5940 T1 Business Gateway, which combines a DSU/CSU, router, firewall, Ethernet switch and back-up dial modem in one device.

Siemens AG is Efficient's parent company. Like the T-1 gateway, some new products from Efficient will carry the Siemens brand, while others will be Efficient-branded.

While the price of T-1 service continues to come down, T-1 gateways continue to be expensive, says Todd Tatum, the product line manager for Efficient's Business Solutions Division.

Efficient's gateway, which costs about US$1000, is designed to give potential small and midsized T-1 customers a low-cost access alternative to a pricier router.

The gateway supports Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol and IP Security-based virtual private networks, and offers data encryption standard and Triple-DES encryption. The box includes a dedicated encryption processor to speed up VPN sessions as an option. Customers also can add an optional ICSA-compliant stateful inspection firewall for added security.

Business customers can prioritize their traffic through Differentiated Services and Weighted Fair Queuing.

For customers concerned about availability, the gateway contains an optional dial-up modem and supports the Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, so it can fail over to other VRRP-enabled routers.

Small-office users can connect their workstations directly to the gateway through its eight-port 10/100M bit/sec integrated Ethernet switch.

While it might seem odd for Efficient to be entering the T-1 gateway market, which already has a number of established players, the move makes some sense, says Pat Hurley, an analyst with consultancy TeleChoice.

"Efficient already has a lot of service provider DSL customers," he says. "And a lot of those customers are adding T-1 services to their existing DSL portfolios."

Tatum says that given the poor economic climate, carriers aren't investing as much as they once were in building out DSL networks. By building a low-cost T-1 product, Efficient hopes to reach those businesses that don't yet have access to DSL.

The se5940 is available now through Efficient's carrier customers. Efficient also plans to make the gateway available through value-added resellers.

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