Intel forges ahead in VPN quest –

Intel released a set of virtual private network (VPN) products on Monday that are said to securely connect remote users over the Internet to branch offices. Aimed at corporate environments, application service providers, hosting service providers, and others, the Intel products also are intended to allow different business partners to securely access corporate information over the Internet, while cutting dialup charges and private leased-line costs.

The products are part of the Intel NetStructure line, which has been forged by a series of acquisitions that began with its 1998 purchase of Shiva.

The NetStructure VPN gateway products are said to be compliant with the IPSec 1.1 industry security standard and also include an ICSA firewall, unlimited remote clients, and a BlackICE Defender personal firewall. Included in the NetStructure VPN management suite are Access Manager for user and firewall tunnel management, the Reporting Tool for VPN security audits and usage analysis, and the VPN Client Deployment Tool for Web- based management and deployment of VPN client software.

The demand for VPNs in corporate environments and among ASPs has been steadily increasing with the growth of the Internet and online access. The worldwide market for VPN equipment and software will more than triple from $1.2 billion this year to $3.7 billion in 2004, according to Infonetics Research in San Jose. The VPN is oftentimes replacing a smorgasbord of remote access media types.

"Traditional access models are harder to support because of the different types of media involved," said Doug Smith, product line manager of Intel's Communications Products Group. "With VPNs, everything goes over one media." The products compete with Cisco, Checkpoint, and Nortel offerings.

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