Lucent is attempting to bridge gaps between its multiple virtual private network (VPN) product lines by promising business users ease of management and strong security.
Next week Lucent is expected to announce its Secure VPN product line that includes its VPN Gateways, VPN Routers, secure client software and centralized policy management systems. Lucent is integrating its VPN Gateways with VPN devices acquired through Lucent's purchase of Ascend Communications and Xedia last year.
Lucent is achieving this tighter integration by coupling management systems and offering a single secure client that interoperates with all of its VPN hardware devices.
By midyear, Lucent expects to combine its Lucent Security Management Server system and its QVPN policy management system (formerly from Xedia) into a single product. This will allow business users to set policies for their entire VPN and replicate those commands on every VPN Router or VPN Gateway on their network.
"If they can pull this off, they will own the VPN market," says Eric Hindin, director of data communications at The Yankee Group, a consulting firm in Boston. Today, most policy changes have to be made on individual devices using arcane commands. No other VPN vendor is offering end-to-end policy management support today, he says.
Lucent is also developing a single IPSec client that business users can deploy on remote workers' laptops regardless of which Lucent VPN device they are accessing. Previously, the IPSec clients were specific to each VPN Gateway or VPN Router. The Lucent IPSec client now supports a fully dynamic Internet key exchange and public key infrastructure to support and manage digital certificates. Digital certificates are used to verify users and networks for an added level of security.
Lucent is also rolling out its VPN Gateway 80, which is a network device that sits behind a router. The VPN Gateway 80 can support up to 400 IPSec tunnels simultaneously and costs US$2,000 to $4,000. Lucent's VPN Gateway 201 is for larger enterprises supporting up to 2000 IPSec tunnels. It costs $8,000 to $12,000.
For customers who want an integrated router-VPN device, Lucent offers its Pipeline, SuperPipe and AccessPoint VPN routers, which range in price from $1,000 to $45,000, depending on the WAN port configurations. Lucent's VPN Routers are not new but are now formally integrated into Lucent's Secure VPN package.
"Lucent has probably assembled the most comprehensive line of VPN products," Hindin says. "To date, only Nortel has invested in both network and [customer premise equipment] sides of the VPN house."