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Citrix to acquire SSL VPN start-up

Software maker Citrix announces that it's acquiring SSL VPN equipment maker Net6 for $50 million in cash.

Software maker Citrix Systems is getting into the secure remote access business.

The company announced Tuesday that it's acquiring privately held security equipment maker Net6 for $50 million in cash. The acquisition, expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2004, will thrust Citrix into the growing virtual private network, or VPN, security market. Net6 makes appliance gateways that combine features of both SSL and IPSec VPN technology.

Secure Socket Layer VPNs have become a popular alternative to VPNs that use IPsec encryption and tunneling for connecting remote workers to corporate networks. Because SSL VPNs give access through a standard Web browser instead of through an IPsec client running on each device accessing the network, many companies find SSL to be much easier to deploy and manage.

But SSL isn't perfect, so Net6 has tweaked its solution to also use some attributes of IPSec. The company claims its technology is one of the first that allows voice and video to be transmitted over SSL VPNs.

Citrix plans to offer Net6's VPN technology as part of its MetaFrame Access Suite and as a standalone product.

The SSL VPN market is already crowded with a slew of players. F5 Networks; Juniper Networks, through its acquisition of Netscreen Technologies; and Symantec have all gobbled up smaller players for the technology. Meanwhile, larger companies, such as Cisco Systems, Check Point Software, Nortel Networks and Nokia, have developed their own technology.