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AT&T makes intranet a safer place

AT&T combined the benefits of an intranet with the security of a private network.

AT&T today announced a managed network service that promises to combine the benefits of an intranet with the security of a private network, completely separated from the Internet rather than just blocked off by a firewall.

AT&T WorldNet Intranet Connect Service will replace AT&T NetWare Connect Service (ANCS), which relieves users of Novell's network operating system from the hassle of having to manage their own wide-area network.

Like ANCS, the WorldNet Intranet Connect Service will provide a private, frame-relay network, but it will use the standard IP protocol instead of Novell's proprietary IPX protocol. That means that users could take advantage of the recent flurry of intranet software announced by virtually every major software vendor, including Netscape Communications, Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM.

"If a year ago someone had told me that there was something that could cause more excitement than the Internet, I wouldn't have believed them," said Tom Evslin, vice president of AT&T WorldNet Service. "Now it seems that the intranet is doing just that."

The company isn't completely abandoning IPX, though, offering users the option of running both IP and IPX-based applications. Taking a page from IPX, AT&T will also boost the security of its IP offerings to prevent IP "spoofing," a hacker technique for forging the identity of the sender of information on the Net.

The service will cost between $250 to $3,995 per month, depending on the number of connections are needed. Mobile users can also dial into local and 800 phone numbers to get remote access to their intranets for prices ranging between $3.50 and $8.75 an hour.

"[ANCS customers] are running what are now becoming legacy applications, applications running on IPX," Evslin said. "What customer are telling us that they want intraneting completely integrated with Interneting. This is about using the same application for different purposes."

AT&T's WorldNet offerings already include a dial-up Internet access service and managed connections to the Internet.

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