Nortel Networks Boosts Network Security With Alteon Switched Firewall System

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 9, 2001–

Open Security Architecture Takes Networking Applications to New Levels of Performance, Scalability

Nortel Networks (NYSE:NT)(TSE:NT.) today introduced the Alteon Switched Firewall (ASF) System, which will enable customers to secure their networks with greater ease and performance, as well as increase data throughput by an order of magnitude over current firewall systems. The industry’s first firewall system to provide these levels of multi-Gigabit throughput, the ASF System relies on a unique hardware architecture optimized to incorporate some of the most-sophisticated security software technology in the industry.

The ASF System relies on an overarching hardware/software framework called the Nortel Networks Open Security Architecture. The Open Security Architecture enables cutting-edge security applications to be incorporated onto a hardware device optimized to run security software with maximum speed, performance and scalability. Using this architecture, Nortel Networks is able to incorporate best-of-breed security from industry-leading solution providers.

“The Open Security Architecture allows us to deliver leadership in security system performance, taking existing server-based solutions to new levels of performance and scalability,” said Mark Tharby, vice president, marketing, Metro Networks, Nortel Networks.

“Hacker attacks, denial of service attacks, and malicious viruses cost organizations untold business losses and revenue opportunities,” Tharby said. “The need for security is obvious, but too often comprehensive security degrades network performance to unacceptable levels. The Nortel Networks Open Security Architecture product portfolio enables the delivery of security without compromising performance.”

The ASF System is the first product in the Open Security Architecture portfolio. It provides a major increase in performance for large data centers, enabling Enterprises to safeguard network access across geographically-dispersed sites without compromising speed, and allowing Service Providers to offer secure, full-service hosting that maximizes profitability through differentiated services. The ASF System is based on FireWall-1 Next Generation software from Check Point Software Technologies, Ltd. (NASDAQ:CHKP) and is OPSEC-certified. As a ‘Secured by Check Point’ appliance, the ASF System seamlessly integrates with Check Point’s industry-leading FireWall-1 Next Generation security software and leverages Check Point’s Secure XL performance technology to deliver multi-gigabit performance.

“By optimizing purpose-built hardware in the design phase of the ASF System, we have created a super-fast, high-performing firewall system for customers who require secure networks in high-volume traffic environments,” Tharby said. “The ASF System fills out our line of firewall and security products, which includes Contivity with Enterprise Virtual Private Networking and firewalling, Shasta with IP Services and subscriber firewalls and our Alteon iSD line of SSL accelerators.”

Typical firewall appliances inspect each packet individually as they pass through the firewall, which can cause severe performance degradation in high-volume data centers. Because typical firewalls sit on the data path and examine each packet, they act not only as a speed bump that slows data throughput, but also risk being a single point of failure in the network.

Unlike traditional firewalls, the ASF System uses Nortel Networks Open Services Architecture to massively accelerate overall performance. The Switched Firewall Director is optimized to manage the complex, processing-intensive job of setting up and tearing down secure sessions. The Switched Firewall Accelerator uses Nortel Networks award-winning Alteon technology to switch massive volumes of packets at wire speed. OSA enables the Switched Firewall Director to update the Switched Firewall Accelerator’s tables in real time, leaving complex firewall functions with the Switched Firewall Director and secure wire speed throughput with the Switched Firewall Accelerator.

The result is that the ASF System is optimized for both firewall processing and massive throughput. The OSA architecture and separation of tasks also allows the ASF System to provide single system image and auto configuration, meaning that after the first ASF System is configured, new firewall units added are automatically configured and integrated. With the sophisticated Alteon base, the ASF System also offers a full set of networking features including Network Address Translation, Virtual Local Area Network firewalling, traffic filtering and anti-spoofing in a 3U high configuration.

Using this architecture, the ASF System is able to process up to 3.2 gigabits per second of network data traffic, and can process up to 400,000 concurrent sessions. Because the ASF Systems are stackable, they can scale to the needs of the most demanding data center environments. The ASF Systems are also fully redundant, so sessions are automatically rerouted in the event of a component failure.

The ASF System is currently in beta trials and is expected to become generally available November 1, 2001.

Nortel Networks is a global leader in networking and communications solutions and infrastructure for service providers and corporations. The Company is at the forefront of transforming how the world communicates, exchanges information and profits from the high-performance Internet through capabilities spanning Optical Long Haul Networks, Wireless Networks and Metro Networks. Nortel Networks does business in more than 150 countries and can be found on the Web at

Nortel Networks, the Nortel Networks logo, the Globemark, Alteon, Contivity and Shasta are trademarks of Nortel Networks. FireWall-1 is a trademark of Check Point Software Technologies, Ltd.

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