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Private Lines, Public Sweat

Even as enterprise administrators, service providers, and network providers extol the security and performance virtues of Virtual Private Networks, it turns out there is still plenty of demand for regular-old private-lines.

In many applications, the still-unmatched security and price-performance characteristics of leased private-line services make them more cost-effective than VPNs. That will remain true though the end of the decade, and probably beyond.

"While we are getting tremendous pick-up and buy-in from our business customers about our VPN offerings, the growth in that business has not cannibalized our leased-line offers," said Brett Theiss, director of IP services at SBC.

In fact, Theiss said, SBC continues to post record private-line sales. The reason: vertical industries that need to establish point-to-point dedicated networks to support intense levels of traffic and cannot even flirt with the possibility of a security breach.

Examples include point-to-point connections between data centers at financial institutions, hard links between hospitals in a community health network that must share sensitive clinical data (such as MRI scans) and other situations where business needs revolve around connecting a very limited number of points with a completely secure and high-performance network. (The advantages of maturing IP VPN technologies, on the other hand, are essentially undisputed on multi-point connectivity implementations.)

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