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Lucent spruces up Net offerings

Lucent Technologies adds to its Internet-based efforts with new security and Internet telephony products aimed at small and midsized businesses.

Lucent Technologies spruced up its Internet-based efforts Monday with new security and Internet telephony products aimed at small and midsized businesses.

These technologies round out Lucent's family of products that allow telecommunications service providers to offer Net-based services to their business customers.

Lucent competes against Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Juniper Networks and smaller players, such as Ennovate, in the growing market for Net-based services. To generate more revenue beyond simple Internet access, service providers are offering more sophisticated services to their business customers, such as extra security over the Net.

Lucent, whose products previously targeted larger companies, began targeting smaller companies Monday with a handful of new products that provide a variety of services, such as phone calls over the Net and security through firewalls, technology that businesses use to protect computer networks against unauthorized users or viruses.

Other Net-based services include Virtual Private Networks, which offer businesses inexpensive and secure high-speed connections to corporate networks over the Internet. Lucent is also offering the ability for businesses to prioritize its bandwidth usage. Phone calls over the Net can have more priority than e-mail to ensure good voice quality, for example.

Service providers "made investments in their networks, but they're realizing plain-old (Internet) access is commoditized," said Howie Gittleson, a Lucent general manager. "They need differentiated services."

Lucent also announced a new firewall product aimed at Internet data centers. The new products, announced Monday, will be available between now and September.