ClearPath Preps Managed VPN


Service to offer data connectivity for SMBs


ClearPath Networks this week plans to unveil a managed VPN service that can serve as an affordable data connectivity solution for the SMB market.

To deliver the VPN service, ClearPath built a private fiber-optic network layered with multiprotocol label switching. A ClearPath solution available over two SDSL lines at a bandwidth of 384K would cost $670 a month and include management of the circuits and Internet access as needed, according to the company.

In comparison, a carrier offering a point-to-point frame-relay connection at the same bandwidth would charge $750 to $950 a month, ClearPath said. Equipment for the point-to-point frame-relay connection would cost $1,500 to $2,000, compared with about $400 for the ClearPath solution.

CEO Cliff Young said ClearPath works with VARs serving SMBs. ClearPath's BizBuilder online tool enables partners to manage customer accounts from sign-on to ongoing management. Partners also gain access to services delivered over the VPN and managed by ClearPath, such as managed storage, scanning,

e-mail filtering and network management.

Currently, ClearPath works with about 20 VARs, but it hopes to sign on 2,500 "as soon as possible," Young said. "We are not trying to replace or circumvent VARs; we want to enable them," he said. "We actually refer VARs to our customers."

Max Power, a North Woodmere, N.Y.-based VAR, recently went live with six ClearPath VPN solutions. Ron Caroff, a principal at Max Power, said ClearPath's solution has a strong appeal among the verticals it serves, which include doctors' offices, law firms and financial institutions.

"They offer an affordable software-based VPN solution vs. a hardware-based VPN solution that requires us to configure the hardware device at each location," Caroff said. "All we do is call in an order for a DSL or T1, it comes to us from ClearPath already configured, and we plug it in."

David Zweiban, principal of Los Angeles-based International Group, said his IT consulting firm has enlisted ClearPath's solution to help health-care customers such as Blue Cross of Minnesota comply with federal HIPAA requirements. "Costwise, there is no comparison if they [had to go with frame-relay," he said.