OpenReach reaches for large enterprises

OpenReach Inc., a VPN-overlay network vendor that specialized in services for small enterprises, now says its offerings are suited for large enterprises as well.

The ability to set up VPNs (virtual private networks) quickly and inexpensively and to pull performance data from OpenReach's network operations center are pluses that large enterprises will find attractive, the company says.

The company has signed up a large international hotel chain that uses its service to connect its far-flung franchises to the centrally located reservation application and customer-preference database. The hotel company would not allow its name to be used, but it says the OpenReach service makes it simpler to connect its relatively independent individual hotels with the corporate network.

Open Reach VPN Services consists of VPN server software that converts user PCs into VPN gateways that are distributed to each VPN site. Via a Web interface with OpenReach's network operations center, users can configure secure tunnels among whichever of its sites it deems appropriate. They can also download the server software via the Internet.

Because the VPN is set up across the Internet, any site with an Internet connection can be connected to the VPN, regardless of how many individual Internet service providers are used to connect sites to the Internet, the company says. And because the servers are relatively inexpensive and connections can be set up rapidly, they can be used to extend corporate access to business partners via a VPN extranet.

OpenReach faces competition from the likes of SmartPipes and Fiberlink, both of which offer centrally managed VPN services.

Global Crossing has named OpenReach as its Asian VPN partner. Global Crossing customers seeking international VPN services are directed to OpenReach for protecting the connections and Global Crossing supplies performance guarantees on top of that.

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