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VPN and DIA Network Services For Europe
Dedicated Internet Access and Virtual Private Networking services for European markets

By: John Shepler

Level 3 Communications, a Tier 1 Internet networking services company with a global fiber optic footprint, is bringing its Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services portfolio to European markets, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom. As the worldwide business climate improves, international connectivity will become more and more important for business success in a global marketplace.

For Companies Without Their Own International Networks
Major multinational corporations and larger Internet Service Providers may operate their own Autonomous System (AS) networks that give them the ability to peer with other networks and purchase IP transit services to get to the Internet backbone. But many businesses don’t have or want the level of investment that it takes to operate an International private network. These companies still need high quality, reliable Internet access for e-commerce, communication with their customers, and private connections between far-flung company locations.

Dedicated vs Shared Internet Access
Dedicated Internet Access is the service of choice for most business users. What dedicated means is that you have exclusive use of the bandwidth that you purchase to connect to the Internet. But isn’t that always the case? Not really. Residential users and smaller businesses get by with shared bandwidth arrangements such as DSL, Cable broadband, two-way high speed satellite Internet, and 3G or 4G wireless.

Costs and Limitations of Shared Bandwidth
The motivation behind bandwidth sharing is that costs are shared as well. The cost of shared bandwidth broadband services is usually well below equivalent speed dedicated bandwidth services. The price you pay is acceptance of not having a guaranteed bandwidth. Indeed, the bandwidth at any given time is a function of how many other users are sharing the service and what they are doing. Just a few people download huge software, database or video files can bring a speedy line to a crawl.

Solid Bandwidth Using Dedicated Internet Access
You don’t experience this with Dedicated Internet Access. You have the full T1 line speed of 1.5 Mbps or E1 line speed of 2.0 Mbps available in both upload and download directions at all times. Ethernet access connections are becoming popular as replacements for legacy T1/E1 lines. Ethernet is highly scalable from 1 Mbps on up to 10 Gbps. The lower line speeds can be provisioned over twisted pair copper, while higher speeds require fiber optic connections.

What is a VPN?
The VPN or Virtual Private Network is a way to take advantage of the universal reach of the Internet while adding a layer of security to protect your data during the time it is traversing the Internet.

Beyond Point to Point Private Lines
Many companies have private point to point connections to securely link multiple business locations within a metropolitan areas or in nearby states. International private lines are also available, but they are pretty expensive for smaller companies to connect with sales offices overseas.

VPNs to Link Facilities and Employees
The Virtual Private Network makes it possible for businesses of all sizes to interconnect their domestic or global facilities. Another popular use for VPNs is to provide access to company networks for employees working from home or on the road. Without VPN capability, the organization would have to install a dedicated line between the corporate data center and they employee’s home at considerable cost.

Types of VPN Encryption
The way a VPN works is that it encrypts the data packets so that they can’t be decoded by anyone who happens to gain access to them along the way. The process is said to create a “tunnel”through the Internet. There a two popular ways to dothis. One is IPSec, which requires special client software at each end to perform the encryption and decryption of the data. Another approach is SSL or Secure Socket Layer. This technique requires only a standard Web browser for access. It uses the same encryption employed by ecommerce sites so that visitors can make online purchases securely.

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