About 25 of the 40 Securicor Aviation offices at UK airports are to be connected via a managed IP virtual private network to the company headquarters in Sutton, Surrey.
The network, installed by VPlus Networks, uses an ADSL link from each office securely connected over the internet to headquarters through the corporate firewall. It allows the offices to receive e-mail and access financial databases and other applications from Securicor Security's main servers.
Securicor decided not to use ADSL links for its larger branch offices and is instead using the more expensive BT MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) wide area network product. This form of IP VPN offers greater quality of service for larger numbers of users and higher bandwidth applications such as videoconferencing and voice over IP.
Michael Greest, head of technical support at Securicor Security, said, "It would have been uneconomical for our smaller branches to install a leased line to connect to head office, and instead we trialled the managed VPN service from VPlus over six months, which proved reliable and cost-effective."
Anton Eratt, managing director at VPlus, said using ADSL was not only cheaper than leased lines, but also less than half the cost of BT MPLS.
Securicor is sticking with the BT MPLS solution at the larger offices in the short term, as it needs it to support voice over IP and videoconferencing applications. Eratt said Securicor would, however, soon test videoconferencing over the DSL links to the smaller offices.
Analyst firm In-Stat Cahners said IP VPN connectivity between small branch offices and small and medium-sized enterprises is currently generating £350m in global sales for service providers such as VPlus.