Efficient boosts DSL routing flexibility, self-installation

By Michael Martin, Network World |  Networking

Efficient Networks Monday unveiled new features for its Speedstream 5700 and 5800 series of DSL routers, as well as a residential DSL suite designed to simplify the DSL installation process for service providers and their customers.

The enhancements to the 5700 and 5800 series are contained in Efficient Operating System Version 5.0. They include a dial back-up option, support for the Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol and hardware-based, line-speed VPN support.

The dial back-up option allows administrators to connect a V.90 modem or ISDN Terminal Adapter to the Efficient routers. If the main DSL line fails, the router will automatically switch to the dial backup.

"There's a pause for the actual dialup," says Dano Ybarra vice president and general manager of Efficient's commercial access business unit. "But if you're running a VPN session over DSL, the dial backup can maintain the VPN session."

VRRP lets administrators set up two or more DSL lines and have them appear as one connection. If one line fails, traffic will automatically switch over to the surviving lines. Users can segment their networks and perform load balancing over the multiple lines.

Ybarra notes VRRP can work with different DSL technologies, so a user could have a symmetrical DSL primary line and an ADSL backup line.

The hardware-based RapidSecure VPN, which will be included in routers shipped after this month, offers Triple-DES encryption at line-speed performance up to 1M bit/sec. The line-speed capability is made possible by performing the encryption in hardware, Ybarra says. In past versions of its routers, Efficient has used software encryption.

Existing Efficient customers can download the software upgrades at no cost from Efficient's Web site starting this month. Customers wanting the line-speed VPN capability will have to upgrade to the new routers, which start at $599.

On the residential side, Efficient has produced a suite of software products designed to simplify DSL self-installs. The suite's components include:

  • MobileKiosk, a brandable, customizable software tool that qualifies PCs for DSL and can automatically start the service ordering process.
  • MobileQual, a PC qualification wizard that recommends a compatible Efficient CPE for a user's PC.
  • MobileTutor, a video that guides users through the installation process.
  • A new SpeedStream DSL suite that takes users through the remainder of the DSL installation process.
  • Firewall and VPN client software plug-ins for added security.
  • Efficient's suite will also include a DSL modem and filters for telephone lines.

    SBC has begun offering the Efficient suite to residential customers, says Mike Fox, vice president of Efficient's residential access business unit.

    Efficient Networks: www.efficient.com.

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