Cisco unveils unified VPN

Cisco has unveiled its Unified VPN Suite which it claims allows a variety of protocols to be sent over an ordinary packet network, increasing revenues for service providers and simplifying operations for enterprises.

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By  Philip Fenton Published  March 6, 2002

Cisco has unveiled what it claims is the most complete set of Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN technologies, supporting the largest common set of IP services and provisioning capabilities.

The Unified VPN Suite grants service providers a greater reach, increasing revenues, whilst offering greater choice and flexibility to customers by allowing any technology to be sent over a packet network.

Rather than constructing a costly private point to point WAN network to serve different sites, a customer would be able to send all their data over an existing public infrastructure, explained Emma Kilcoyne, VPN product manager.

“We’re bringing to market multiple VPN offerings under one umbrella,” she said. “A VPN covers a very broad range of technologies: it allows customers to create a private network over a shared or public infrastructure.

“Cisco VPN is the unification of any access transfer technology, across an existing IP or MPLS core network. It’s basically the unification of access technologies across a packet network.”

The suite is made up of two main protocols: Any Transport over MPLS (AToM), which as the name suggests allows anything to be sent over MPLS, and Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol, version 3 (L2TPv3), which allows anything to be sent over IP.

Provisioning becomes much easier under the new suite, since many of the changes can be made remotely, explained Kilcoyne. “Provisioning in the old way would have required somebody with a van to go out to the site and manually configure switches in a core network. In the IP world a lot of that is very dynamic and you have to touch minimal parts of the network.”

Currently service providers specialise in different areas, but Cisco’s VPN suite will allow a more complete solution, increasing revenues for service providers whilst simplifying matters for enterprise customers.

“Enterprises are having to work with different service providers for different things, which is a challenge for them. By converging the technologies we are allowing the service providers to expand their business,” explained Kilcoyne.

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