Nortel builds security framework

Pads out products

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Nortel Networks Corp yesterday released two enhancements to products in its range of security devices and published a catchall Unified Security Architecture how-to guide for companies planning to comprehensively secure their networks.

Nortel became the second major firewall vendor to announce support for SSL-based extranets in its devices, following Check Point Software Technologies Inc's apparently reluctant move last month. However, Nortel has integrated the feature into its Alteon SSL accelerator, rather than putting it in the firewall or releasing it as a separate product.

SSL extranets are a relatively new concept, pioneered by startups such as Neoteris Inc and SafeWeb Inc, that allow companies to reduce the cost of deploying a VPN by having most transactions encrypted using secure sockets layer, using a web browser as the client and an application proxy to replace the VPN gateway.

Nortel said its Alteon SSL 410, which already includes load balancing and filtering, now includes user authentication, URL transformation and application proxying. Executives claimed the device has one up on the aforementioned startups due to its SSL acceleration and load balancing features, and one up on the VPN firms due to its proxying.

The accelerator has also had a hardware upgrade, and now supports up to 2,000 transactions per second and up to 16,000 concurrent SSL sessions. That's about half of what some competitors claim, but Nortel executives said claims rarely matter as some products have difficulty performing half as well as their marketing in bake-offs.

Nortel's Contivity secure routers also received feature enhancements. The devices, which essentially combine features of an edge router and an IPSec VPN gateway and client, have been upgraded in version 4.7 of the software to support voice over IP traffic and notoriously insecure wireless LANs.

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