Visual Networks Eyes Ethernet With New Appliances

With the rollout of three new Ethernet ASE (Application Service Element) appliances, Visual Networks is pushing its application and network performance management capabilities out to the growing number of sites that utilize Ethernet connections such as business DSL or cable, said Jeff Schmitz, senior vice president of marketing at Visual Networks, Rockville, Md.

The new appliances, part of the company's Visual UpTime Select family, help identify when bandwidth hogs such as streaming media or peer-to-peer applications are in use. They can also help detect security threats such as denial-of-service attacks, Schmitz said.

The new capabilities also enable the platform to manage LAN performance as well as the WAN, giving customers a complete view into how much bandwidth applications are utilizing, down to the individual user. "We're bridging that gap," Schmitz said.

Until now, the Visual UpTime Select line focused on telecommunications WAN interfaces such as frame relay and ATM.

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As more and more customers migrate to Ethernet-based access interfaces, the addition of the new appliances to Visual Networks' portfolio is a critical move that will enable solution providers to better meet customers' needs, said Dave Forbes, president of End to End, a solution provider and Visual Networks partner in Toronto.

"You're far more likely to encounter a network with a wide variety of access technologies within that single network," Forbes said.

The new appliances are slated for general availability next month and come in three versions aimed at small, midsize and large sites. Model 120, targeted at business DSL/Cable users, processes data at speeds up to 2 Mbps in each direction. Model 122, aimed at customers using NxT1 or fractional DS3 WAN connectivity, processes 10 Mbps in each direction, while Model 200 supports gigabit copper interfaces and processes 100 Mbps in each direction.

Prices on the new appliances range from $795 to $20,000.