VPN Appliances Galore at NetWorld+Interop 2000

FRAMINGHAM (05/04/2000) - Tighter enterprise network security via one-box virtual private network (VPN) technology is the theme shared by three vendors rolling out new equipment at NetWorld+ Interop 2000 this week.

The companies' goal is to boost VPN throughput over the speeds of server-based software VPNs while encrypting customer traffic with Triple Data Encryption Standard encryption. RapidStream Inc., RedCreek Communications Inc. and V-One Corp. focus on dedicated VPN hardware and software, and can enable enterprises to deploy VPNs rapidly into existing networks without ripping out existing gear.

RapidStream, for example, will be showing for the first time RapidStream 6000, a VPN appliance that performs Triple-DES encryption at 180M bit/sec, and is capable of maintaining 8,000 IP Security (IPSec) tunnels. By contrast, VPNet's top of the line VSU 1200 VPN server handles 7,500 tunnels at 90M bit/sec.

The box will support Windows 2000 users as well as Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) clients in Windows 95 and 98. By the time the box ships, it will also support an IPSec- compatible client the company will rebrand from an unidentified vendor.

The 6000 can load balance sessions among servers via round-robin queuing or weighted round robin.

RapidStream 6000 costs $14,995 and will be available by midyear.

RedCreek will have on hand its newly announced Personal Ravlin II, a branch-office VPN appliance designed to support offices connected to VPNs via digital subscriber line and cable modem connections. Personal Ravlin II is available this month and costs $550.

Red Creek will also be unveiling a prototype of its Ravlin 7200, a 150M bit/sec VPN server that fits into the company's enterprise network strategy. The 7200 has three Ethernet ports, and is designed to support high-use sites such as server farms. It ships late this summer and costs $15,900.

The RedCreek enterprise family includes recently announced RedCreek e-Director (ReD), the management software for RedCreek equipment that sets up policy rules for corporate VPNs. The software defines user domains, what resources each domain is allowed to access and what other domains they are allowed to connect with. ReD costs $10,000 per server, and will be available by the end of this month.

V-One has loaded its SmartGate VPN software onto a new Linux-based hardware appliance made by Intel - called SmartGuard, the V-One device includes a firewall.

SmartGuard uses a proprietary tunneling scheme to establish secure connections between users of the VPN, but V-One also plans to support standards-based IPSec tunneling within four months, the company says. The appliance has two 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet ports.

Users at remote PCs will authenticate themselves to the device, and then their access privileges will be downloaded from SmartGuard each time they set up a VPN session. That will allow centrally located administrators to more easily update and change authorization for remote access.

SmartGuard can support a dedicated IP address or can translate between public IP addresses and private IP addresses used on the LAN.

The box is designed for small to midsize businesses and branch offices that might lack technical staff to set up more-complex VPNs, the company says.

SmartGuard is available now for $9,495. Without the firewall provided by Phoenix Program Systems, it costs $7,495.

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