Visual Networks Extends Reach To Ethernet WANs 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 use 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 also can 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, Schmitz said. "We're bridging that gap," he said.

As 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 Group, a solution provider and Visual Networks partner in Markham, Ontario. "You're far more likely to encounter a network with a wide variety of access technologies within that single network," he said.

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Schmitz said solution providers could sell the appliances as part of an overall VoIP solution, calling IP telephony one of the biggest drivers of IT spending right now.

The Visual UpTime Select product line today measures VoIP performance characteristics such as jitter, delay and packet loss. In its next software pack, scheduled for a June release, Visual Networks is adding a software module to provide VoIP readiness network assessments, he said.

The new Ethernet ASE 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 range from $795 to $20,000.