VPN and Bandwith Management Come Together

Predicting the reliability of an IP virtual private network (VPN) has been difficult for network managers and service providers, but NetReality Inc. is hoping to change that with its latest management system.

This week at ComNet 2000, NetReality is introducing Wise/IP Accelerator, a hardware and software system that will let ISPs offer VPN services with more stringent service-level agreements (SLA).

Wise/IP Accelerator includes NetReality's WiseWan bandwidth management devices and new IP Accelerator management software, which monitors packet loss and network jitter while guaranteeing network throughput and bandwidth management across a VPN.

"Wise/IP Accelerator enables not only service-monitoring capabilities, but the ability to shape traffic flow across a VPN," says Dennis Drogseth, a director at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), a consulting firm in Boulder, Colo.

"It allows users to take action and prioritize traffic on their VPN."

NetReality has sold WiseWan devices primarily to business users who wanted more control over their dedicated Internet access connections. Wise/IP Accelerator is for service providers that want to offer fully managed VPN services with SLAs that reach beyond standard network availability and round-trip latency guarantees, says Bob VanSickle, NetReality's director of carrier sales.

An ISP that offers a VPN service based on NetReality's products would need to install a WiseWan device at each site that's connecting to a customer's VPN.

The WiseWan device sits behind an access router at each site. Software on the device lets an ISP monitor and maintain it from a centralized location using the IP Accelerator management system. Customers would tell their ISP how much bandwidth they wanted dedicated across their VPN for specific types of traffic based on application, IP address or URL.

IP Accelerator also monitors packet loss and latency over a VPN by sending datagrams from site to site. This feature will let an ISP offer customers SLAs that cover an entire VPN instead of only the portion that runs over an ISP's net.

NetReality isn't the only vendor offering end-to-end VPN systems. Lucent Technologies Inc. last week announced its Secure VPN product line, which integrates its Ascend Communications and Xedia VPN products with Lucent's original VPN devices. Lucent last year acquired Xedia and Ascend. The bandwidth management features in Xedia's product line will not be ported over to Lucent's other VPN Routers and VPN Gateways until later this year. Lucent is rolling out a unified management system that can be used to maintain its VPN products.

Also in VPN news, Radguard and Allot Communications announced last week they are bundling Radguard's cIPro VPN devices and Allot's NetEnforcer bandwidth management devices so users can set up a secure VPN that includes bandwidth management features. But the two products aren't integrated yet and don't include one centralized management system.

EMA's Drogseth says a handful of vendors will roll out VPN systems like NetReality's in the next few months. ISPs are looking to offer differentiated VPN offerings with more detailed guarantees, which is expected to fuel further product developments in this arena, he says.

Wise/IP Accelerator is slated for availability next month, when several ISPs are expected to start testing the products.

NetReality: www.netreality. com.

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