UBS derails Ford NZ Remote Office pilot

Customers can only access Remote Office via Telecom's own service

A Remote Office pilot providing VPN access for Ford NZ ran into problems earlier this month when it switched from Paradise DSL to the wholesale Unbundled Bitstream Service (UBS).

Telecom spokesman Tom Clancy says there is currently no way a UBS customer can access Remote Office over that service, as the way it is implemented means the connection terminates with ISPs' networks and not Telecom. However, Ford NZ's IT manager, Peter McDonald, says his company was given no warning that accessing Remote Office over DSL isn't possible. McDonald says the trial was on a small scale but now he is not sure whether the company will go ahead with Remote Office if UBS is not possible.

Remote Office is a Telecom service for businesses that offers VPN access for remote workers and branch offices. Telecom's description of Remote Office says it allows businesses to "choose the way ... staff work, using Jetstream, Mobile Jetstream or dial-up connections."

Whereas Remote Office works with Telecom retail Jetstream DSL, or one of its two wholesale equivalents, UBS is delivered as a Layer 2 Tunnelled Protocol (L2TP) service. This means that, unlike Jetstream DSL, Telecom's network has no visibility of UBS. Remote Office is also delivered as a L2TP service routed via multi-core protocol label switching (MPLS), using non-internet routable RFC 1918 addresses.

Ford NZ is a TelstraClear customer and the telco's spokesman, Mathew Bolland, criticised Telecom, saying Telecom is quite happy to position itself as a fair and equal competitor at the retail level, but moves quickly to remove services to customers if possible.

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