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CipherOptics Encrypts Ethernet

Firm readies Layer 2 encryption for metro-area Ethernet, seeking to reduce the latency of traditional IPSec-based VPNs

CipherOptics last week unveiled new gateways that encrypt Ethernet frames at 100 Mbit/s and 1 Gbit/s speeds -- without the latency of a traditional IPSec-based virtual private network.

The new capability could go a long way in helping providers secure metropolitan-area Ethernet services, which are skyrocketing in popularity. Ethernet services revenues more than doubled to $5.9 billion worldwide between 2004 and 2005, and the market could see a 280 percent increase by 2009, according to Infonetics Research, a market research firm.

In IPSec-based VPNs, non-IP protocols that use Ethernet as a transport usually must be encapsulated. Integrating IPSec into the network usually requires changes to IP addressing and limits users' ability to use fundamental network architecture strategies such as virtual LANs. And not all IPSec gateways support legacy protocols such as Novell IPX. By using encryption, users can extend the reach of their secure Ethernet environments across an entire metro area without the headaches of IPSec.

"CipherOptics is looking at encryption in terms of network service and business needs rather than packets and protocols," says Jon Oltsik, senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group, an IT consultancy. "This is a subtle but important point. For example, IPSec would be overkill -- and a performance killer -- in a private metro-Ethernet ring, but encryption may still be necessary for compliance reasons."

CipherOptics is partnering with Extreme Networks to combine Extreme's policy-based networking for security and quality-of-service enforcement with CipherOptics' high-speed, Layer 2 encryption. The idea is to create encrypted traffic flows without forcing the user to add costly gateways or make infrastructure changes.

— Mike Fratto, Editor at Large, Dark Reading

Organizations mentioned in this story

  • CipherOptics Inc.
  • Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR)
  • Infonetics Research Inc.
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