December 27, 2000, 2:25 PM — 3Com is giving service providers the ability to support network-based VPN services off its Total Control 1000 platform.
Based on new software and hardware for the Total Control 1000, service providers will be able to offer VPN services based on IP Security (IPSec) or Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) tunnels.
The gear interoperates with customer-site equipment made by Cisco, NetScreen, Amplify, and Ramp Networks.
So, customers install VPN boxes made by one of these manufacturers at their sites and connect to a Total Control 1000 within the service providers' network. The Total Control would authenticate the user and establish a tunnel to the end destination.
If a remote user accesses the service provider's network via, say, an ATM-based DSL link, the Total Control could switch the ATM stream onto a VPN tunnel to the end destination. 3Com calls this capability "tunnel switching." The Total Control 1000 can perform tunnel switching between IPSec and L2TP tunnels as well.
The new software in the Total Control box establishes virtual routers within the platform, enabling service providers to segregate memory and route tables for individual customers. That means customers need not alter their IP addresses to use a service-provider-based VPN.
These new developments by 3Com mean service providers can offer more sophisticated VPN services based on upgrading their current Total Control platforms. Check with your service provider to see whether they use it and plan new services based on the new hardware and software.