Clifton Gunderson LLP, a major accounting firm, is deploying an IP-based VPN and has signed AT&T to a three-year, $3.7 million contract to provide the necessary networking gear and services. Clifton Gunderson is deploying the AT&T-managed IP VPN to connect its offices in 14 states.
Under the deal, disclosed Thursday, AT&T will host the firm's Web servers at its Chicago data center and provide business-continuity planning services. The IP VPN, which replaces an older frame relay network, will provide the firm with network-based capabilities such as voice over IP and videoconferencing. "We want to drive our network toward pure IP," says Jeff Hapeman, Clifton Gunderson's chief technology officer. "In the frame relay world, we were running IP, but it wasn't end to end."
The network, which will go live in about two months, will employ multiprotocol label switching, a method of routing packets of information through an IP-based network. MPLS-based VPNs enable companies to carry different types of traffic, including voice, data, Internet, and video, on a single circuit, and also make it easier to interconnect multiple sites across a network.