PSIS trials new Telecom VPN

Full rollout planned for November

The PSIS will be one of the first customers for Telecom’s virtual private network service under the One Office banner. A proof of concept simulation between two floors of the Wellington office began last week and a fuller trial involving the Nelson, Hamilton and Levin branches will begin in early July.

The company’s existing wideband DDS service was no longer providing sufficient bandwidth, says IT technical services manager Allan Dorne. The PSIS considered frame relay, but decided eventually to align with the growing trend of IP networking.

The Telecom VPN service provides differential quality of service in three bands: real-time, for applications such as voice and video; low-latency, “for Citrix-type uses”, says Dorne, those with a less critical time constraint; and a band for “non-time-critical stuff like email”. This, however, does not provide sufficient “granularity” for PSIS’s needs, which will include voice and video, Windows Terminal Server sessions and file transfer, as well as internet and intranet. The company will therefore do further traffic shaping in its Cisco routers, supplied by IBM. Intranet traffic, for example, is placed at a priority “just under Citrix traffic”.

The pilot will run until about November, when — assuming a positive result — the rollout to other branches will start.

The One Office managed VPN service will offer more flexibility and reliability than existing private network services, which operate over frame relay and ATM, says Telecom data product manager Sally Holloway. The One Office version is meant for operation within a company, but later this year VPN software for operation over the public internet will be released, allowing staff on the road to log in securely from anywhere. This will be provided in both IPsec and SSL versions.

The PSIS considered TelastraClear's plans in the VPN space but decided to stick with its existing provider, Dorne says. TelstraClear spokesman Mathew Bolland says the company has private LAN-to-LAN VPN solutions but has not yet ventured into the wider internet VPN market. TelstraClear representatives spoke with Juniper Networks' Vasili Ghiya about SSL VPNs when she was in New Zealand last month.

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