DSL Firm Unveils Private Network Service

National broadband provider DSLnetworks Inc. is targeting companies seeking secure, less-expensive WAN connections with its 3PN DSL service announced last week.

Michael Kennedy, managing partner with the Boston consultancy Network Strategy Partners, says the DSLnetworks offering is the first DSL-based service capable of replacing enterprise WAN links that he has seen.

"The issue we're working with is our clients recognize the flexibility and performance they can get with Internet-based DSL services," he says. "But they're scared to death of them because security and performance on the Internet are unpredictable."

DSLnetworks is addressing this concern by avoiding the Internet. 3PN users will have their WAN traffic transported over DSL connections to a DSLnetworks incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) or competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) partner. From the ILEC/CLEC, the traffic will run onto a national OC-12 SONET backbone provided by DSLnetworks partner Level 3 Communications Inc.

"What we're doing is splitting the U.S. into regions and getting traffic from our CLEC and ILEC partners onto our own network as quickly as possible to allow it to be managed," says Greg Kleine, DSLnetworks' vice president of engineering.

Security on the network will be maintained through IP Security and Triple-DES.

The 3PN service will operate at Layer 3 and be fully meshed, which means endpoints connected to the service can communicate with all other endpoints belonging to the same Layer 3 subnetwork. Kleine says many other VPN options operate only at Layer 2, which means they have to operate point to point.

Internet access, too

For clients that require Internet access in addition to private WAN connectivity, DSLnetworks is offering a variation of the service called 3PNi.

This service will work in the same fashion as 3PN except it will include an Internet connection separated from the private network by a firewall.

In addition to acting as a corporate WAN connection for large sites and branch offices, the 3PN service can connect remote users to a corporate network.

DSLnetworks will back the 3PN offering with a service-level agreement (SLA). End users will be able to check SLA compliance through Web-based tools, Kleine says.

3PN will be introduced to more than 80 metropolitan areas this year or in the first quarter of 2001.

DSLnetworks will offer users a variety of bandwidth options, which will vary depending on the distance of a customer site from a telephone company central office.

Kleine says the most bandwidth a customer could get would be 7M bit/sec. Pricing will vary depending on configuration and required bandwidth. For 192K bit/sec service, pricing will be approximately $300 per node, per month.

DSLnetworks: www.dslnet_works.com

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