VPLS is the latest evolution of virtual private network (VPN) technology. VPNs establish "virtual" connections across the public Internet by creating secure, encrypted "tunnels" to link network nodes. However, until now, they have only been able to create a point-to-point connection. VPLS enables VPN connections between multiple points.
"What we can do now is traffic engineering," explains Matt Perry, Foundry's technical manager in the UK and Ireland. "IP connections usually find the shortest way between two points, meaning that packets often follow the same route, swallowing up bandwidth. VPLS allows traffic to be routed to optimise bandwidth use.
Foundry's Netiron 400, 800 and 1500 Metro routers will be available from April, with the Metro Ironware operating system hitting the market this month.
"We are experiencing demand from service providers that want to exploit the Metro, and also from enterprises that are looking at ways to leverage their own infrastructure," said Perry.
The devices also support multi-protocol label switching (MPLS), a technology that uses labels to add forwarding information to IP packets. Routers examine the label more quickly than if they had to look up destination addresses in a routing table.
The Netiron family can use 10 Gigabit Ethernet - the established Sonet/SDH standard - and Ethernet-over-Sonet (EOSonet) methods of routing network traffic. This means that those service providers or enterprises with existing Sonet infrastructures will be able migrate to Ethernet as and when they need to.