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Allot Goes Deep on Packets

Vendor's deep packet inspection lets service providers track user behavior

CHICAGO -- Globalcomm 2006 -- Auditing your service provider's monthly phone bill works wonders in preventing end users from making costly or inappropriate calls. What if you had that same level of detail when you examined the behavior of Internet-connected end users?

Allot Communications (Nasdaq: ALLT), a maker of deep packet inspection technology, this week at Globalcomm demonstrated a new traffic management appliance, the AC-2500, which could let service providers give IT departments exactly this sort of information.

The AC-2500 lets service providers inspect, identify, and analyze hundreds of applications and protocols, track subscriber behavior, and prioritize traffic, according to Allot.

The system is designed to help service providers create classes of service that they can offer at different price levels. But a key element of the product is the NetXplorer management software, which lets network administrators track bandwidth usage and drill down to individual users, applications, and service plans. Using this data, NetXplorer can trigger alarms programmed to identify potential security risks, according to the vendor.

Deep-packet inspection has been available for some time, but it is usually done as a means of analyzing traffic patterns and end-user behavior over time. The Allot product, which can support throughput rates as fast as 5 Gbit/s, analyzes this data in real time, at carrier-class speeds.

Using the Allot product, service providers could conceivably track network behavior down to the end-user level and warn IT managers of potentially risky activities. The technology also could be used to analyze subscriber behavior over periods of time, much as is done in the phone bill model.

Allot offers deep packet inspection tools for the enterprise as well, but they don't perform at carrier-class speeds. The feature is available now; pricing is dependent on configuration of the product, which can accommodate up to 8 Gbit/s of capacity.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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