GTE and Nortel Networks Add Increased Reliability and Flexible Security to Virtual Private Networks

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IRVING, Texas and BOSTON, Ma. - GTE and Nortel Networks [NYSE: NT/TSE: NTL] today announced they have collaborated to expand GTE's industry-leading virtual private network (VPN) service, VPN Advantage. VPNs help businesses expand their use of the Internet to support communications more effectively and at less cost than traditional dedicated circuits. The new collaborative offering from GTE and Nortel Networks delivers the combination of technology and managed service capabilities required for companies to benefit from virtual private networks, while addressing the perceived risks of outsourcing mission-critical networking functions.

The new offering combines GTE's VPN Advantage with Nortel Networks' Contivity* Extranet Switch product family, providing a more secure, reliable and redundant VPN solution. VPN Advantage also gives IT managers greater control over who in an organization can access which resources via the VPN.

"Nortel Networks and GTE have established themselves as market leaders in building and managing VPNs," said Joseph S. Pzepiora, manager of remote access, Corporate Telecommunications at Cargill. "The addition of the Contivity product line to VPN Advantage offers the promise that GTE's managed VPN service will be able to meet Cargill's needs for current and future connectivity requirements."

Better Reliability Built-in

VPN Advantage, enabled by Nortel Networks' Contivity Extranet Switch, offers multiple features that allow a company a greater sense of comfort when running mission-critical applications over its VPN. With automatic backup of all system data, the Contivity Extranet Switches' failover capabilities allow user traffic to be automatically rerouted to a backup device without end-users ever knowing there was a problem. The Contivity Extranet Switch also provides the ability to even-out the levels of traffic running on a particular VPN connection. If one device is handling too much traffic, VPN Advantage, in conjunction with the Nortel Networks' Contivity product line, can redistribute traffic evenly across other connections.

As a totally managed and monitored service, GTE monitors the VPN 24 hours a day, seven days a week. GTE can also monitor the performance of the VPN at any time, sharing that information with its customers.

"Two of the biggest questions customers ask us when discussing the possibility of using a VPN are: is it going to be there when they need it, and can they monitor its performance on a continuous basis," said Robert McKinney, director of VPN services for GTE Internetworking. "By collaborating with Nortel Networks, we answer those questions. The combination of Nortel Networks' Contivity platform and the 24x7x365 management and monitoring of VPN Advantage addresses the most pressing concerns expressed by our customers."

Additional Security and Features

Nortel Networks Contivity line's sophisticated access control features provide organizations better flexibility to control who has access to their network. This added level of security allows businesses to expand their VPN to people outside of their company through new applications such as extranets.

As part of the new service, VPN Advantage, along with Nortel Networks' Contivity Extranet Switches, are being integrated with GTE's CyberTrust X.509 digital certificates to take advantage of CyberTrust's extensive automation tools that enable rapid deployment of large numbers of remote users. RADIUS accounting, which allows organizations to track usage by individual or group and provides for department-level reporting, will also be supported.

"As one of the market's leading service providers, GTE specified their need for a solution that could meet a rich set of requirements for offering their customers the most reliable and secure managed VPN service available today," said Ilan Carmi, vice president and general manager, Nortel Networks router products division. "GTE's deployment of the Contivity Extranet Switch makes this one of the largest VPN wins for Nortel Networks in the service provider space, and among the most significant Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) victories in the managed network services business."

The new VPN solution provides full IPsec-compliance, along with support for both dedicated and remote access requirements, giving customers a single solution for their intranet or extranet VPN needs. For remote access, Nortel Networks' Contivity Extranet Switch supports Microsoft Windows 95, 98 and NT environments and includes an easy to install and configure software client. This client software is designed to be connection media independent, allowing users to connect via analog modem, ISDN, cable modem, xDSL, or dedicated connection. The GTE/Nortel Networks' VPN platform will be available in the second quarter, 1999.

Guaranteed Service

The Nortel Networks-enabled version of VPN Advantage will be supported by the industry's most comprehensive, proactive service level agreements (SLAs). Available for both dedicated connectivity and remote access VPNs, GTE's SLAs guarantee performance levels and reliability that are detailed in comprehensive SLAs with proactive billing credits. Dedicated access VPNs have guaranteed availability of 99.9%, and round-trip latency of less than or equal to 125 milliseconds (ms). These guarantees are designed to reflect a customer's real-world experience and cover the VPN device, connectivity on the GTE backbone, local loop, and the customer premises router.

The SLAs for remote-access VPNs guarantee busy-free dial availability of 97%, and minimum modem connect speeds of 26.4kbps 99% of the time. In all cases, GTE proactively manages these service levels, automatically crediting a customer's next bill if targets are not met.

GTE's VPN services are further enhanced by its new high-speed, high-capacity, private fiber network, the Global Network Infrastructure (GNI). Upon completion, GTE's GNI will be one of the most secure, reliable, high-capacity, end-to-end, multi-service, private networks in the industry, capable of eliminating single points of network failure. The GNI provides virtually limitless capacity to meet the demands of GTE customers' most data-intensive applications.

About GTE Internetworking

GTE Internetworking, a unit of GTE Corporation (NYSE:GTE) offers customers, from consumers to Fortune 500 companies, a full spectrum of integrated Internet services using IP networking technologies. GTE Internetworking delivers complete network solutions, including dial-up and dedicated Internet access, high-performance Web hosting, virtual private networks (VPNs) managed Internet security, network management, systems integration, and Web-based application development for integrating the Internet into business operations. GTE Internetworking draws upon its expertise in funded research and development of advanced technologies, including satellite networks, packet radio networks, multi-gigabit routers, network and information security, and speech recognition, and GTE's strong existing telecommunications services, including local and long distance, wireless, paging, video, and Internet. GTE is one the world's largest telecommunications companies and a leading provider of integrated voice, video and data services.

About Nortel Networks

Nortel Networks delivers value to customers around the world through Unified Networks* solutions, spanning mission-critical telephony and IP-optimized networks. Customers include public and private enterprises and institutions; Internet service providers; local, long-distance, cellular and PCS communications companies, cable television carriers, and utilities.

Nortel Networks' common shares are listed on the New York, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and London stock exchanges. Nortel Networks had 1998 revenues of US$17.6 billion and has approximately 75,000 employees worldwide.

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  • Nortel Networks, the Nortel Networks Globemark, Unified Networks, Contivity, and How the world shares ideas are trademarks of Northern Telecom Limited

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