Juniper Networks Inc. and Lucent Technologies Inc. are rallying the industry to develop intercarrier interface standards to make the public data network as secure and reliable as private networks. The idea is to allow enterprises to turn over more of their networking tasks to service providers and to allow vendors to sell more routers and switches.
The standards effort, called the Infranet Initiative, would allow service providers to securely hand off premium traffic to one another globally. The standard would be integrated into the user network interface in devices such as edge and customer premise routers, and it would also be incorporated into routers and switches serving as intercarrier interfaces.
"The Internet has been a security nightmare. The big problem is that these [security] issues are probably not solvable within the Internet business model," said Tom Nolle, CEO of Cimi Corp., of Voorhees, N.J.
Standard interfaces for quality and security would give service providers a reason to provide assurance for one anothers data. Internet and enterprise virtual private routes might both travel on the Infranet, but they would be separate from each other and be managed independently.
The initiative aims to accelerate the deployment of packet-based infrastructure, in recognition that machine-initiated communications are going to grow. Applications such as peer-to-peer networking, on-demand computing and Web services will benefit from networks optimized for IP.
Enterprises are not necessarily ready to concede the security of mission- critical traffic. "I dont think this type of service will be successful with a company that has any type of an IT department," said Michael Schwedhelm, a senior vice president and CIO for United Labor Bank, in Oakland, Calif., and an eWEEK Corporate Partner. "The security standards of a bicycle manufacturer would be different from a bank. For the carriers to make the service profitable, they would need a homogenized level of security that would most likely be very difficult to tweak for our specific needs."