Managed VPNs increasingly popular

AT&T has added to its managed virtual private network portfolio in New Zealand with what it calls an enhanced VPN product.

AT&T has added to its managed virtual private network portfolio in New Zealand with what it calls an enhanced VPN product.

The US-based carrier has offered managed VPN services for several years and has been utilising MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) technology in order to offer IP services to clients using frame relay and ATM (asynchronous transfer mode).

“MPLS allows us to integrate the IP flavour of networking and add to it the robustness of switched technologies,” says David Foster, marketing head of AT&T’s US-based global network services division, who visited New Zealand earlier this year. “It allows IP to be bolted on to frame relay or ATM and welds them together.”

MPLS, developed in the late 1990s, is so named because it works with all three protocols and provides for packets to be forwarded at the switching (layer two) level, rather than the routing (layer three) level.

New Zealand companies using AT&T managed VPN services include Peace Software, which uses it to link its New Zealand and US operations, Wilson and Horton and NZ Post.

Wilson and Horton has retained AT&T as its global VPN (virtual private network) provider, though it recently looked at other global services such as iPass, says group communications manager Drew Collins. “We’ve been using AT&T’s managed VPN service for three-and-a-half years, for executives and senior staff members moving through the world.”

The service, which allows access to the VPN that AT&T manages on its behalf, “was one of the few that allowed that to be done in a secure environment”. W&H’s service doesn’t involve MPLS.

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