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Cisco eases access to private networks

New technology lets users build secure virtual private networks using the Net.

Cisco Systems is launching a technology that lets users build secure virtual private networks using the Internet.

The technology, Layer Two Forwarding (L2F), integrated in Cisco's networking products and submitted as a proposed standard to the Internet Engineering Task Force, lets Internet service providers offer dial-up access to private corporate networks via the Internet. The technology offers corporations an alternative to building costly private networks for connecting remote offices and mobile users.

Users dial into an ISP's local or toll-free access number, provide passwords, and are connected to their company's private network. Cisco has already signed up L2F supporters, including Northern Telecom and Shiva. Both companies will integrate L2F into future products.