VoIP Call Quality Can Improve with SSL VPN

By | February 23, 2006

VoIP and SSL VPN can coexist very happily, concluded a recent Network World Clear Choice Test, and, in some cases, provide an even better experience than VoIP without SSL VPN. The testing showed that a VoIP call made over SSL VPN on a typical broadband Internet connection is of higher quality than an unencrypted call. In high-bandwidth, low-latency environments, there is virtually no difference in quality between an unencrypted VoIP call and the same over an SSL VPN.

“We had predicted that the quality of a call over an SSL VPN could not be better than over a clean wire . . . but we were astonished with the results that showed many SSL VPNs improved the quality of VoIP calls,” said Joel Snyder, senior partner at Opus One and a member of the Network World Lab Alliance, who ran the tests. “In every case, adding an SSL VPN to a VoIP call over a good broadband network improved call quality.”

“This test affirms what Aventail has been saying for years – that VoIP would become a critical application for remote access, and SSL VPNs would become the platform for providing secure, VoIP communication from anywhere on any device,” said Evan Kaplan, president and CEO, Aventail. “With the advancements in SSL VPN technology that we are delivering, there is no reason for enterprises to stay with IPSec for all remote access.”

Aventail was one of 10 SSL VPN products examined by Network World for the VoIP testing. Aventail’s secure, remote access platform provides full support for VoIP applications with its Smart Tunneling architecture. Aventail Smart Tunneling enables a full IP network tunnel to be created over SSL, providing a Layer 3 connection with the policy control of Layers 4 to 7. Smart Tunneling was designed specifically for complex applications like VoIP.

While the Network World evaluation focused only on VoIP call quality and did not test for security aspects, secure transmission with VoIP remains an issue for many network managers, according to Aventail research. Aventail Smart Tunneling includes Aventail Bi-directional Tunnel Control, a policy-based security model that controls all traffic through the tunnel, both from the end device to the application and back out to the end device. Bi-directional control is vital for applications like VoIP and remote help desk support that require security during the reverse tunnel connection back out to the end user.

“This Network World review confirms what we have proven in the field regarding the incredible benefits of SSL VPN and VoIP deployments,” said Frank Tallarico, director, Voice Integration and Managed Services, synergIT Incorporated, a systems integrator and consultancy based in Pittsburgh, who has worked with Burt Hill for more than 10 years. “For customers like Burt Hill who have a mostly mobile, remote workforce, utilizing an IP telephony solution with an SSL VPN provides secure, on-demand communication with reliable performance and complete ease of use.”

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