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(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Many Products Fail NTT's VPN Interoperability Tests
  • December 1, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. conducted interoperability tests on 13 routers, firewalls and other products with virtual private network (VPN) capabilities, but many of them failed the tests, industry sources said.
    The tests were carried out by NTT's Business Communications Headquarters.

    A VPN enables an enterprise to use a public network in the same way as a private leased-line network. Among the features of a VPN is the ability to encrypt the data transmitted on communication lines.

    However, vendors use different encryption methods and key exchange protocols, which can cause problems when data is routed via a variety of VPN products deployed across a network.

    One retailer that handles imported VPN products said that the store does not collect information about product compatibility.

    "Customers haven't particularly wanted to know if products work with other vendors' products, and we just look into it if someone needs to connect to existing equipment," he said.

    NTT's Business Communications Headquarters has embarked on full-scale testing of VPN product interoperability to shed light on the issues involved.

    According to industry sources, tests were conducted on a total of 13 VPN-capable products, including routers and firewalls. An interim report on the various products was released to Japanese distributors.

    "Even devices that worked relatively well with those of other vendors only worked directly with between five and seven of the other 12 products. After changing the configurations manually, interoperability with eight products out of the 12 was about the limit," according to the report.

    Also, the report stated that "on average, about half of the devices could be interconnected with other vendors' products, and one of the devices would not work with any of the others."

    (Nikkei Watcher on IT Business)

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    Updated: Mon Nov 30 17:22:09 1998 PDT