December 20, 2000, 1:54 PM — SANTA CLARA, CALIF. -- Ramp Networks is betting its new router will make supporting virtual private networks (VPN) over digital subscriber line (DSL) links a lot easier for branch-office customers.
The company last week announced the WebRamp 600i ADSL, a router that can link offices to the Internet over DSL using secure IP tunnels. The device creates secure tunnels with individual remote users over the 'Net from PCs equipped with Windows 95, 98 or NT.
WebRamp 600i connects directly to a DSL line and to a local network via a 10/100 Ethernet port. Customers can buy a DSL Internet access line, and the Ramp box will be able to create tunnels with other sites and users.
When the box ships in December, it will support Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) as the basis for these secure connections. Early next year, Ramp will issue a software package for the box that will support IP Security (IPSec)-based VPNs, which authenticate and encrypt on a packet-by-packet basis.
With IPSec support in mind, WebRamp 600i is equipped with a 133M instruction/sec processor to handle encryption at wire speed, according to Raghu Bathina, vice president of broadband products for Ramp. The device supports two flavors of DSL: G.lite at 1.5M bit/sec downloads, and asymmetric DSL, which is capable of 8M bit/sec downloads.
The equipment will also support traffic shaping to give designated traffic priority over other traffic. The device sets a type-of-service bit in each packet header to indicate one of eight different service priorities.
Ramp promises the boxes will be compatible with carrier DSL gear made by Alcatel, Copper Mountain, Orckit, Nokia and Siemens.
Ramp has already run the device through compatibility tests with other vendors' gear in University of New Hampshire trials. However, the company would not release the results of the tests.
Individual users trying to tunnel to a WebRamp 600i will need an operating system that supports PPTP, such as Windows 95, 98 or NT. Ramp does not have client software for its equipment.
Similarly, customers will need Windows 2000 with its IPSec support if they want to create IPSec tunnels to a WebRamp 600i, Bathina says.
The gear can support up to 100 simultaneous tunnels, he says.
The box includes a built-in, fourport hub. A serial port can connect to an external modem, so if the DSL connection fails, customers can reach the Internet over a regular phone connection.
WebRamp 600i will cost $700.