Equant offers integrated IP VPN service

Equant NV is launching an integrated IP VPN service that can carry voice, corporate data and public Internet traffic over one connection.

The global service provider launched its fully managed Advanced IP VPN service here at NetWorld+Interop Wednesday.

The offering allows users to set up a business exchange with partners, a corporate intranet for employees, a voice-over-IP network and a link to the public Internet - all on the same T-1, says Jim Forbes, vice president of Equant's IP solutions.

"Previously, users were required to have separate EDI, extranets and voice networks," he says. "Now, users don't have to have three separate silos." Equant says users can expect cost savings by reducing the number of connections and customer premise devices they need.

Equant uses Cisco Systems Inc. gear that supports Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS), which allows the service provider to more intelligently route packets over its network. The carrier deploys a Cisco router at each customer site connected to its VPN. These routers, which can be as small as Cisco's 800 series or as large as its 7000 series, are equipped with a queuing technology. This technology lets users divvy up their bandwidth for specific traffic types or applications.

For example, a customer can dedicate 200K bit/sec to all voice traffic, 700K bit/sec to all corporate data traffic and the remaining amount of its T-1 bandwidth can be dedicated to Internet traffic.

The service is available in 135 countries. Equant would not provide specific pricing information, but says its service is priced based on geography and bandwidth. Customers will pay one flat rate for all T-1 VPN connections in the U.S. and a different rate for T-1s in Europe or Asia.