MTN Network Solutions (MTN NS) this week unveiled four packages that will give users high-speed access to virtual private networks (VPNs) and the Internet.

The asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) packages are: ADSL VPN access, ADSL uncapped Internet access, and leased-line backup, while the fourth package is a combination of the first and second options.

The ADSL VPN access service and Internet access are available now, and the other two products, ADSL VPN backup with Internet access and concurrent ADSL VPN access with uncapped Internet, are under development and will be released shortly.

The products offer a static Internet Protocol address, which enables hosting of a Web or mail server.

“MTN NS now offers VPN clients a new access medium that provides a broadband connection to their data networks,” says Mike Brierley, MTN NS CEO. “This is a low-cost, ‘always-on' connection for last mile access, ideally suited to small branch or regional home office users that require this type of access.”

He adds that the ADSL VPN solution caters for both the small and medium enterprise (SME) and corporate markets.

For the VPN access service, Internet access is allocated from the customer's VPN Internet pool. The uncapped Internet access via ADSL product is a separately managed Internet service.

All products include a Cisco router with integrated firewall at the customer's premises, which is managed by MTN NS.

For the ADSL VPN backup product, the client can choose either an Internet service from Telkom, or take the MTN NS uncapped service.

The company says this allows the client to keep mission-critical traffic on the traditional VPN and off-load Internet browsing traffic. If the leased-line fails, the VPN traffic can be rerouted over the ADSL link.

“It should be noted that MTN NS is not encouraging its clients to move from traditional leased VPN links to ADSL links, where reliability and quality are a requirement, as each product has its place,” says Brierley.

“The ADSL service is a best effort service which carries no service level agreements. It is specifically targeted at bringing small branches and SMEs into the benefits of the VPN offering.”

MTN NS senior network research engineer Kris Vandenbroucke says smaller offices will find these options cheaper, with the added advantage that the technology works on traditional telecommunications infrastructure.

He says MTN NS has a dedicated link to Telkom, which will help it avoid some of the bandwidth problems encountered by companies offering similar services via broadband wireless.