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Networking industry confab

The networking industry gathers to see what's faster, better, and cheaper, plus what's new in intranet security.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada--This year's Networld + Interop trade show served up the usual fare of faster, better, cheaper networking solutions plus a new focus on Internet server technology and security solutions for the ever-growing number of intranets.

Among the developments at the show:

--The Nterprise division of regional Bell operating company USWest announced a high-speed trial that lets users access the Web more than 50 times faster than is currently possible with 28.8-kbps modems. The trial is using a sophisticated transmission techniques called ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) and HDSL (High-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line) to transmit data over conventional phone lines. The trial has already started in Denver, Boulder, Colorado, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The company expects to offer service in selected markets starting next year. Cisco Systems is working with Nterprise to supply several key internetworking technologies while both PairGain and Westell will supply high-speed modems to USWest customers. The RBOC serves 25 million customers in the West and Midwest.

--PSINet today announced the availability of SecureEnterprise, a managed Internet security service designed to connect private corporate networks to the Internet. The service will include full-time monitoring of a company's Internet connection by PSINet technicians and will provide the company with encryption products that let it form virtual private networks over the Net.

--Sun Microsystems released the Solaris Internet Server, an Internet gateway that connects Windows, Unix, and NetWare users to the Net without having to install TCP-IP stacks on every desktop. The server, which sells for $2,995, is based on SunSoft's Solaris 2.5 Unix operating system for Sparc and Intel-based platforms.

--Secure Computing unveiled a suite of intranet security products that includes a firewall, authentication system, and Web browser. The company's Sidewinder 3.0 firewall, due in the second quarter and priced at $7,000, will include encryption capabilities to let administrators use existing Internet connections to set up virtual private networks, a solution the company says is cheaper and simpler then proprietary networks. Secure's LockOut 3.0 is a software- and hardware-based authentication technology for keeping unauthorized users off corporate networks. Due in the second quarter, the upgrade of LockOut will run on Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows NT, Macintosh, and Unix clients priced at $40 per user. Secure is also jumping into the browser business with NetRanger, an integrated Web browser and email client that supports secure, encrypted communications to LANs that use the Sidewinder firewall. NetRanger will ship in the second quarter, but the company has not yet set pricing.

--Netscape Communications announced the release of a free beta version of the Netscape Proxy Server 2.0. Available for downloading immediately, Proxy Server 2.0 conserves network bandwidth by caching Web documents on a local workgroup server. This means that page serving runs faster because clients don't need to retrieve documents across the Internet every time. The Proxy Server version, announced in early March, includes scripting capabilities for on-demand caching. The beta version is initially available on Unix platforms but will run on Windows NT for alpha and Intel-based servers later this year priced at $995.

--Process Software announced two Internet servers, one for Windows NT and one for OpenVMS systems. The Purveyor Encrypt WebServer runs on NT and supports the widely used Secure Sockets Layer encryption for secure communications. The server will ship next week priced at $895. Process' $1,995 TCPware Internet Server lets OpenVMS systems become full-fledged Internet servers. The package includes a TCP-IP stack, Telnet client and server, FTP (file transfer protocol) client and server, Domain Name Services, Kerberos security, simple mail transport protocol server, mail server, and Usenet news server.

--3Com announced today that it will try to make ordering ISDN lines easier for companies and individual users via a free 800 number. While helping users set up those lines, 3Com will hawk its range of ISDN hardware products, including modems, remote access routers, and remote access servers. 3Com also today announced a partnership with videoconferencing vendor PictureTel to provide LAN-based videoconferencing solutions. 3Com will enhance its Ethernet and Fast Ethernet network interface cards to deliver higher quality multimedia transmissions over LANs while PictureTel will bundle its data conferencing software for free with 3Com's network cards.

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