Companies are being offered new routers that allow users to measure their ISP's network performance.
Sarian Systems' DR6000 Series ranges from a basic ADSL router to a device that includes ADSL, ISDN and HSDPA (the faster variant of 3G) capabilities, but all routers in the series let their users police the service they are receiving from their ISPs, to ensure that service level agreements (SLAs) are being honoured.
Service providers themselves are also being offered the products for distribution in their broadband packages, as they can be configured to alert the ISP of network performance problems.
The enterprise-oriented routers' SLA policing capabilities work "in association" with Sarian's RemoteManager configuration management tool, the company's sales director Duncan Ellison told ZDNet UK on Wednesday. "It was originally conceived as a configuration management system, but developed into a very powerful system for making sure that SLAs are actually being achieved," he said.
Ellison also highlighted the routers' HSDPA-based redundancy, suggesting that it offers "a viable alternative with no wires to having a broadband connection". Although the first routers in the series will only be able to connect at 1.8Mbps — the maximum speed which operators' HSDPA networks currently achieve — most upcoming production units should bring that up to 3.6Mbps. In 18 months, Ellison claimed, the HSDPA networks should be able to manage 7.2Mbps and the routers will accordingly be software-upgradeable.
The ability to support both ISDN and ADSL capabilities would also be a draw for companies looking to migrate from ISDN, Ellison suggested. He claimed that many BT business customers were currently facing uncertainty due to the imminent withdrawal of the Business Highway ISDN service, a move that he claimed would force many customers to switch to ADSL or "pay to downgrade" to BT's ISDN2e service.
"A lot of customers are saying 'we might as well go to ADSL', which we think is a covert strategy behind what BT are doing here," said Ellison, who said that Sarian already had pre-orders for around 18,000 DR6000 routers, with "volume production" commencing within two months. The routers will range in price from around £500 to £800.