VPN gear from VPNet can handle session failures

www.nwfusion.com –

SAN JOSE -- In response to customer demand for reliability, VPNet Technologies is making its virtual private network (VPN) gear more resistant to failure.

The company at NetWorld+Interop '99 Atlanta this week is introducing VSU 1200, a VPN tunnel server that has the ability to take over for another VSU 1200 if it fails.

That characteristic is important to network professionals who have set up corporate VPNs that must meet internal service-level agreements, says Jeff Wilson, an analyst with Infonetics Research in San Jose. Because VPN technology is developing rapidly, users may be wary of failures, he says.

To ease those fears, VPNet's VSU 1200s can work in tandem. Two or more VSU 1200 boxes can be tied together via 12M bit/sec cluster ports to send encrypted data between the devices. They share information about which remote users have established encrypted sessions over the Internet, as well as data on the encryption keys they are using.

The ability to share session data lets one VSU 1200 step in for another without dropping sessions, the company claims. Each device handles up to 7,500 simultaneous VPN sessions and supports 100M bit/sec throughput.

Each VSU 1200 also has four Ethernet ports that enable redundant VPN configurations. For instance, two Ethernet ports can be used as redundant connections to a single router or as single connections to separate routers that feed separate Internet connections. The other two could be used as redundant links to a LAN, VPNet says.

The Ethernet ports let customers build fully meshed environments in which routers, VPN gear and Internet links can back each other up, Wilson says.

The VSU 1200 has dual IP Security engines, which include the hardware and software that authenticates users and encrypts data. The device also features dual flash memory images and redundant power supplies.

The box differs from the previous high-end VSU 1100 because it has a processing upgrade from 233-MHz to 366-MHz and a memory upgrade from 640M bytes to 728M bytes.

Wilson notes that VSU 1200 lacks a firewall, load sharing and bandwidth management, which are features important to securing VPNs and boosting their efficiency. He says he expects the company to address these areas in future software releases.

VSU 1200 will be available next month and costs $30,000 plus management software and client licenses. The price range for client licenses is $20 to $90, depending on how many you buy.

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