Aramiska cracks satellite broadband VPNs

PC users who want fast and secure access to their corporate networks from home now have the option of getting a satellite-based service

Dutch satellite broadband company Aramiska launched what it claims is the first commercial virtual private networking (VPN) service for satellite users on Monday.

The company says that it has solved the problems that until now have prevented satellite broadband providers from supporting VPN networking. It hopes to target home workers and small businesses with the product, which is called the Aramiska VPN Service.

"It's ideal for a director who works from home and wants secure access to the head office network," said Noud Cornelissen, marketing vice president.

In the past, it's been very tricky to run a VPN over a satellite connection because of packet latency. If the client takes too long to respond to a request from the VPN server then the connection will be rejected.

Aramiska hasn't disclosed exactly how it has solved this problem, but promises that its VPN Service provides a secure connection at broadband speeds. Several companies have already signed up for the service, including the All Sports retail chain, according to Cornelissen.

Rivals agree that providing a VPN connection over satellite is very difficult.

"Aramiska is probably the only company that can do it at this stage, and that's because they've invested so heavily in their satellite uplink," said Eoin Lambkin, managing director of rival communications vendor SatDrive.

SatDrive provides a one-way satellite broadband service -- unlike Aramiska, whose service is high-speed in both directions.

Lambkin says that SatDrive has been trialling its own VPN system for some months, and will launch commercially once beta testing is complete.

"The problem is the number of VPN clients," said Lambkin. "Citrix works fine, but there's so many more out there that we're working our way through and ticking them off."