Nortel Looks to Ease Security Bottlenecks

By Dennis Fisher  |  Posted 2001-11-27

Nortel Networks Corp. on Tuesday unveiled a suite of products and services designed to increase the performance of corporate networks by eliminating the data bottleneck created by firewalls and other security applications.

Known collectively as the Alteon Security Cluster, the products include the Alteon Web Switch, Alteon Security Appliances and custom software. The suite is aimed at the data center market.

In a typical network, packets coming in from an SSL-encrypted e-commerce transaction, for example, must first travel through the firewall, then to the SSL box for decryption and possibly on to an intrusion detection system, all before they finally reach their final destination. Using Nortels new cluster, this process would only occur during the first such SSL session.

During that first session, the rule set and policies that are applied to the traffic are then written to the Nortel Accelerator. In each subsequent session, the Accelerator appliance applies the same rules to SSL traffic and prevents it from passing through any servers or applications unnecessarily.

The appliance can handle 3.2 Gb of throughput on a network firewall and approximately 500,000 simultaneous connections.

"Most vendors just throw more processing power at this problem, which works, but its really expensive," said Marie Hattar, director of intelligent Internet security at Nortel, headquartered in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

Nortel has partnered with Check Point Inc. for firewalls and Internet Security Systems Inc. for intrusion detection systems. The company is currently in talks with anti-virus vendors.

In related news, Nortel on Tuesday also filed to sell 1.9 million shares of Entrust Inc., the PKI software and services vendor. Nortel formed Entrust in 1997 as a majority-owned subsidiary and later spun it off as an independent company.

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