Verizon Business is offering its managed wireless LAN service internationally for the first time, a move the carrier says will help companies broaden the reach of their local area networks in a secure, managed environment.
Although this new managed WLAN service is very similar to the managed WLAN service Verizon debuted in 2006, the addition of Cisco gear will make it available in 28 countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, the company said. Previously, the managed WLAN service had relied on Aruba Networks gear and was available only in the United States.
The service is based on the IEEE 802.11 industry standard currently used for Wi-Fi networks, and it will employ Cisco’s Unified Wireless Network gear to provide wireless access to Internet browsing, email, business data and other network resources. Verizon says the new managed WLAN can act as an upgrade for customers’ current LAN service or a full replacement.
“Users are able to connect to critical business information whenever, wherever they are, and to improve upon their ability to share that information with their fellow employees,” said Chip Freund, the director of managed services product marketing at Verizon Business. “By going to a managed service provider like Verizon Business to deliver that service, it gives real peace of mind around that network environment.”
One of the key advantages of the managed WLAN service is that it will share information instantly between employees and guests when they travel to different locations, Freund said. So, for instance, if an employee from a company branch in Los Angeles travels to a company branch in Seattle, that employee will immediately have wireless access to the corporate network on his company laptop when he arrives on the campus.
As with its other managed services, Verizon will provide such security services as identity management, managed security services, vulnerability and threat management, and security certification programmes. The company has been ramping up its efforts to improve its managed security capabilities since it acquired network-security firm Cybertrust in 2007.
“Specifically for our Cisco version of Managed Wireless LAN, we have integrated AirWave management software into Impact,” Freund said, referring to Verizon’s platform that it uses to manage customer network services. “Things like alarms and ticket-management for Cisco Managed WLAN are managed by Impact, and therefore maintain consistency in ‘look and feel’ from our network operations centres' perspective.”
Companies can procure and install the WLAN equipment themselves, or have Verizon install and manage it for them, Freund said. Customers also can monitor their WLAN’s performance, use and access logs through the Verizon Enterprise Centre, which serves as the company’s customer portal for its business and wireless divisions.
Managed services have become central to Verizon Business's core product offerings. To improve its managed services capabilities, Verizon Business has invested more than $150 million (£85 million) in Impact over the past two years.
Currently, the company manages more than 3,700 customer networks in more than 140 countries, as well more than 250,000 customer communications devices. It has rolled out several new management services over the past two years, including telecom management services, a WAN optimisation service and VoIP migration services for business.