Keys to Creating Managed VPN Services for the Enterprise

Posted: 09/1998

Keys to Creating Managed VPN Services for the Enterprise

By Kurt Bauer

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are nothing short of a revolution in how enterprises
can deploy advanced network services. Through VPN technology, enterprises can network
remote offices, integrate data and applications with key partners and develop even closer
relationships with customers. The missing link so far, however, is service providers; they
too can benefit from the VPN revolution by creating state-of-the-art managed VPN services,
which can both satisfy the needs of their enterprise customers and generate new revenue.

Service providers can take advantage of a new approach to VPNs, one that encompasses a
multipronged strategy involving virtual private remote networking (VPRN), virtual private
trunking (VPT) and virtual Internet protocol (IP) routing.

A multiVPN approach enables the delivery of these capabilities in part or in total
while addressing the issues of high availability service delivery, cost-effective service
management and the effective delivery of customer network management (CNM) services.

VPNs present service providers with unprecedented opportunities to create highly
differentiated and profitable value-added services. Many also are interested in becoming
"full-service" by adding voice communications (over IP, frame relay and
asynchronous transfer mode or ATM), developing channel expansion partnerships with
resellers and integrators and even offering turnkey outsourcing of the VPN. And many want
to provide or obtain network resources wholesale from one another in the form of virtual
points of presence or V-POPs. With the multiVPN approach, service providers can implement
VPN services and build other value-added services as their infrastructure expertise and
business plans evolve. At the same time, this approach allows them to overcome these three
primary obstacles: high availability, service management and customer network management.

MultiVPN Services

The multiVPN approach as conceived and developed by Ascend Communications Inc. lets
service providers offer highly differentiated–and profitable–value-added services.
Specific capabilities include:

  • Choice of VPN architectures: VPRN, VPT or virtual IP routing
  • Comprehensive security provisions, including integrated firewalls, secure routing
    domains and logical segmentation of physical resources
  • Service level agreement (SLA) delivery and confirmation reporting
  • Tiered quality of service (QoS) options ranging from "best effort" to an
    absolute guarantee of throughput and latency
  • End-to-end management with full customer network management
  • Value-added features, such as voice over IP (VoIP) and IP multicast
  • Value-added services, including systems integration and ongoing support

High Availability

Enterprise subscribers demand SLAs that offer money-back guarantees whenever network
quality or availability falls below some predefined level. Such stringent service
deliverables goes well beyond the traditional measure of availability–whether the leased
line is up or down–to require automated recovery and resiliency in the public network
infrastructure. The multiVPN approach demands a common carrier-class architecture that has
the redundancy and rerouting capabilities service providers need to deliver SLAs and QoS
guarantees to enterprise customers who require continuous uptime. In this scenario, the
technologies and services can be completely managed by advanced network management, so
service providers can comfortably offer a secure network infrastructure that enterprise
customers can easily depend on.

Service Management

Using advanced network management products, service providers get comprehensive control
of four distinct elements–service creation, provisioning, operations and billing. In
addition, they have the ability to leverage the existing infrastructure for the profitable
deployment of new services on a "pay as you grow" basis. Network management
begins by giving service providers the ability to create a powerful and dependable network
infrastructure–capable of delivering multiple services, quickly and easily. Ascend’s
Navis network management architecture then offers unparalleled flexibility for
provisioning a wide range of services that appeal to diverse subscriber needs, while
simultaneously optimizing utilization of network infrastructure resources for maximum

On a 24/7 basis, network management continues managing the entire infrastructure
providing details ranging from the "big picture" view of the enterprise to
details about the performance on a single port. In addition, Navis helps reduce overall
operating costs through advanced features such as real-time network monitoring, automated
provisioning and streamlined fault management. The network management system also gathers
detailed accounting information on network utilization by all subscribers and for all
infrastructure resources. In this way, service providers are able to set competitive rates
that preserve profitability. In short, the management platform allows network managers to
view all of the multiVPN services and devices on their network as a single, comprehensive

Customer Network Management

CNM extends the service management capabilities by sharing network infrastructure
information securely–thereby empowering the enterprise to manage its VPN. CNM grants
real-time, 24-hour access to complete configuration, performance and fault
information–all through the familiar web browser interface for maximum productivity. The
service provider has total control over read (view only) and write (manage) capabilities,
which affords the flexibility to define a range of CNM services to meet different customer
needs. Additional security provisions include network partitioning, a secure socket layer
(SSL) interface and IPSec encryption of transported information.

Using the multiVPN approach, we believe service providers, too, can profit from the VPN

By Kurt Bauer is Vice President, Product Management Access Switching for Ascend
Communications Inc., Alameda, Calif. He can be reached at +1 510 769 6001.

The Benefits of the MultiVPN Approach for Service Providers:

  • A huge business opportunity with substantial revenue potential
  • Delivery of highly differentiated–and profitable–value-added services
  • Ability to leverage Ascend’s experience and installed base in Internet protocol
    (IP), asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) and frame relay networks as a foundation for future
    infrastructure deployment
  • Offer quality of service (QoS) and service level agreement (SLA)
    assurances–with confidence–for mission-critical applications
  • Reduce operating costs through tiered wholesale arrangements with other
    providers for access ports (virtual points of presence or V-POPs) and/or backbone
  • Become more of a full-service provider through managed network services, and
    even complete turnkey partnerships with resellers and integrators

Source: Ascend Communications Inc.

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