Networld+Interop: Nortel to beef up VPN line

Nortel Networks next week will unveil the latest updates to its secure networking range, including new remote-access management...

Nortel Networks next week will unveil the latest updates to its secure networking range, including new remote-access management software, a higher performance Contivity VPN (virtual private network) platform and software that expands an enterprise's ability to ensure every remote connection is safe.

The enhancements, which were demonstrated this week at the Networld+Interop show in Las Vegas, are meant to help companies secure ever larger numbers of remote offices and users trying to reach central sites by a variety of methods.

With the Contivity 5000 platform, Nortel will boost data throughput at the top of its Contivity line to 400 megabits per second (mbps) from 180mbps. This means it is designed to process as much as 400mbps of traffic with Triple Data Encryption Standard encryption.

Though it supports the same number of simultaneous VPN tunnels - 5,000 - as the existing top-end product, more traffic can go through those tunnels, said Nick Pegley, vice-president and general manager of Enterprise IP Services at Nortel.

The platform also has routing, firewall, bandwidth management and quality of service capabilities. The devices can be clustered behind a Nortel Alteon load-balancing platform, with a single Internet Protocol address, so VPN demand can be spread across the devices.

The capabilities of the Contivity line will also get a boost with a new release of software, Contivity 4.8, which will let administrators put even tighter restrictions on access to a VPN.

In addition to a login, a password and a piece of client software, they will be able to require that a client system be configured in a certain way and be running critical software, such as antivirus software.

That will help prevent interlopers breaking into a system by changing its characteristics - for example, turning off a required client firewall - after being admitted to the network.

The system will check clients periodically and administrators can set the time interval at which the checks take place, said David Passamonte, a senior engineer at Nortel.

Also coming to the Contivity line will be Remote Access Manager software, which can help enterprises make sure their mobile employees always have the best available source of dial-up access and can select it easily. The software can maintain lists of local access numbers for multiple carriers, which can be updated with new information about prices and service levels.

Users can be presented with a choice of access numbers for their location, along with ratings as to its price and quality, said John Doyle, director of product marketing for corporate edge services.

Details of pricing and availability for the Contivity products are not available yet.

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