Sprint upgrades trans-Atlantic VPN service, performance

Sprint Corp. plans to upgrade its fiber-optic connection across the Atlantic Ocean, using Cisco Systems Inc. routers to expand its Internet virtual private network (VPN) services, the companies announced in a joint statement Wednesday.

Sprint will use Cisco's 12400 Internet router family to help create the trans-Atlantic OC-192 connection. An OC-192 Internet backbone can support transmission speeds of 10G bps(bits per second). OC-192 technology is relatively new, and other carriers like AT&T Corp. have been upgrading their continental networks to support the higher-speed technology.

Sprint intends to expand its VPN (virtual private network) services along with the upgrade to attract multinational corporations which may have headquarters in the U.S. and branch or partner locations in Europe and Asia, according to the release. The new options combine the functions of a router, firewall protection and Internet protocol security-based VPN capabilities in a single Cisco device, the companies said. The VPN functions will be available as an upgrade to Cisco routers companies may have already installed.

Sprint announced plans in February to expand its SprintLink Internet backbone into Europe and Asia. Sprint currently buys trans-Atlantic connectivity through resale agreements with WorldCom Inc. and Global One Communications Inc., along fiber-optic cables jointly owned by a consortium of 14 telecommunications companies, including Sprint. A Sprint spokesman said the OC-192 services would be available by the end of the month, and that Sprint would be the first of the consortium to provide the higher-speed connection.