Until now, WorldCom's VPN customers have had two choices, one for total access (site-to-site) VPNs and the other for remote access users. Both services are fully outsourced to WorldCom and are based on Nortel and Lucent equipment.
With the new IP VPN Select Access Edition bundle of services and hardware, which includes Cisco routers and access to UUNet Technologies' network, WorldCom is targeting the 45% of users that want to maintain control of the management and monitoring their VPN.
Janel Crabtree, director of IP VPN global services for WorldCom, said, "We provide customers with everything they need, and they take it from there. The customer implements it, sets up the design, manages it and monitors it on an ongoing basis."
This package "fills a small hole" in WorldCom's IP VPN offering and might not have a lot of traction initially, said Rob Carlson, senior analyst for network services at Current Analysis. He added that Select Access would be more likely to fit into the plans of companies that are migrating in-house in about 18 months, as firms begin to feel more comfortable with managing their IP VPNs themselves. Crabtree said that, while Select Access may cost more than managed services initially, there are no monthly management fees and, over time, it works out cheaper.
Crabtree declined to provide specifics about the number of current IP VPN users but described growth as tremendous. "Everyone believes that IP VPN is where they need to be. It is just a matter of deciding when to move," she said. WorldCom IP VPN Select Access offers connection speeds from 56kbps through OC-3 (155mbps) and IPSec-based security that can be augmented by firewalls and gateways.