ComNet 2001 roundup

New technologies to help manage, optimize and secure telecommunications networks seized the spotlight at the ComNet Conference and Exposition, Jan. 29 to Feb. 1 in Washington, D.C.

Many vendors focused on products that help network operators keep an eye on hardware and monitor service levels. Most of these technologies will make their way to the federal market through subcontracts with large network integrators, but some vendors announced new business with government agencies.

Federal agencies have given a warm reception to the OptiView Integrated Network Analyzer from Fluke Networks, a monitoring and analysis tool for enterprise environments. Now, the company is modifying the tool based on government requests.

OptiView is Fluke Networks' "first true protocol analyzer" and includes many features designed with the government in mind, said Peter Wittenberg, strategic account manager for the Everett, Wash.-based company.

The government-friendly features include its portability and its coverage of everything from Fast Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet in one box. Fluke also is working to make OptiView's internal hard drive removable — a task that should be finished later this year and was based on a government customer's request.

The Air Force already uses OptiView, which began shipping in October. Fluke Networks is negotiating with other Defense agencies, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Justice Department, Wittenberg said.

Security tool makes hackers hit the bricks

BrickServer, a Web security appliance designed to protect a site from hackers and viruses, will announce its first government customer in the next 60 days.

Developed by Systems Advisory Group Enterprises Inc., BrickServer is not a firewall, but integrates seamlessly with an existing network. It is based on process-based security, a Linux-based security model.

In a PBS system, access to resources is based on the process running, as opposed to traditional security methods that base access on an identified user, said Rusty Riley, government sales director for the company. A PBS system effectively guards against Web site attacks, Trojan Horse viruses and internal and external malicious users.

Riley would not comment on the identity of the first government customer due to a confidentiality agreement.

SilentRunner makes noise in government space

Raytheon Co. introduced its SilentRunner internal network security product to the telecommunications market at ComNet.

SilentRunner, which discovers and analyzes network threats by monitoring network activity, was identified as a low-cost, low-risk technology during the Defense Department Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration project last summer ["Military mines for golden technology," Federal Computer Week, Oct. 2, 2000].

As a result of SilentRunner's performance at JWID, the software will be integrated into some DOD systems by summer 2001, the company said. Specific technologies are selected for use in DOD during the first year of JWID and will be fielded to military systems in the second year.

AT&T announces new data services

AT&T announced a series of enterprise networking offerings that could aid the federal government in its electronic government efforts.

* AT&T has new Internet data centers in the Washington, D.C., and Dallas metropolitan areas that will boost its hosting capabilities.

* It unveiled new virtual private network offerings that include a portfolio of voice-over-IP services.

* The company also is improving its network service-level agreements for managed Internet services, promising 99.99 percent network availability, no more than 60-millisecond round-trip domestic latency and guarantees that service will be installed more quickly.

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