Unisphere unveils VPN module

Unisphere Networks this week is introducing a blade for its ERX edge switch/router designed to enable carriers to offer network-based VPN services and also support customer premises-based VPNs.

The hardware is designed to handle virtually any type of customer access link - dial-up, frame relay, Ethernet, DSL, cable modem, T-1 or T-3 - and to set up VPN links across service providers' networks.

But the cards also can accept IPSec packets from customer sites and switch them through the core of the provider's network at Layer 2, enabling users that already have a VPN to continue using existing gear.

The modules also enable customers who have traditional frame relay services to switch to services based on IP without making changes to the gear at their own sites, Unisphere says. Their frame links would be plugged into an ERX and transported across the network using Multi-protocol Label Switching or packet-over-SONET technology.

The new card also supports virtual routers, which are separate internal routing tables grouped by customer. The card supports 1,000 of these virtual routers today, but that will be pushed up to 10,000 with a software upgrade, Unisphere says.

The IPSec blade can support 5,000 VPN tunnels for a total of 1G bit/sec throughput.

The module is available now and costs US$55,000.