Will managed services mean better Net quality?

Will managed services mean better Net quality?


'The Internet is not about security, performance or manageability,' said Dennis Brouwer, senior vice president of marketing for SmartPipes Inc. of Redwood City, Calif. 'The Internet in its current state doesn't meet business needs.'
SmartPipes is trying to remedy that shortfall with an offering called Global IP Services that lets users build intranets, extranets and virtual private networks by entering their access policies into a Web interface.

Servers at the company's site in Dublin, Ohio, translate the policies into device-specific instructions for the user site's routers. Security services such as authentication, firewalls and intrusion detection are overlaid on the intranet and extranet connections.

'We're talking to some federal agencies,' said Drew Onufer, SmartPipes' director of product marketing. 'We're seeing a demand to replace frame relay drops with IP drops.'

Another company striving to improve the Internet's quality of service is QOS Networks Ltd. of Dublin, Ireland, which is building an IP network with 40 nodes in Europe, North America, Asia and South America. In addition to quality-of-service guarantees, QOS offers virtual private IP networking and voice over IP on its managed net.

'People want QOS,' president and chief executive officer James Valentine said. 'They clamor for it, but they want to test it for four months. So we have a lot of test customers,' which do not yet include the government.

'We want to wait until we have more of our network in place,' he said. 'Then we'll approach government markets in earnest.'

One tool used by QOS and other providers is Multi-Protocol Label Switching, an industry standard based on Tag switching architecture from Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif. With MPLS, edge routers do the thinking for the network by tagging packet streams so that core switches can work more efficiently.

'Where it shines is that it lets you do cross-network connectivity and tunnel through the cloud to other MPLS-enabled routers,' Valentine said.
MPLS also can prioritize traffic for service-level agreements and charge-backs, said Michael Marks, senior product marketing manager for Concord Communications Inc. of Marlborough, Mass.


Concord has MPLS products installed at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Its eHealth Service Provider Version uses MPLS to let carriers provision virtual private IP networks and differentiate their Internet services at premium prices.

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