New Technology for the Packet Police

Cisco Systems has introduced new technology that will let law enforcement agencies and ISPs police both networks and people. According to Cisco, one new creation already present in routers but not yet deployed, is the ability to tap both IP telephony calls and data streams.

Cisco submitted a draft proposal for a new standard, "Lawful Intercept in IP Networks," to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The procedures used to tap and intercept voice and data traffic would be undetectable by a user and prevent unauthorized personnel from knowing about such data taps. Additionally, if the tapped data is encrypted and an ISP has access to the encryption keys, then the ISP must either decrypt the information in the packets or provide the keys to law enforcement agencies.

Other new technology includes a new Bandwidth Processing Engine (BPE) for the company's uBR7246VXR Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS). The new BPE can recognize more than 80 applications, perform packet inspection on those applications, and throttle a user's bandwidth accordingly, raising or lowering the usage.

Cisco said, "\[Multiple system operators (MSOs), such as cable Internet providers\] are looking at how they can profitably and competitively expand their data services while managing the challenges caused by peer-to-peer traffic. The ability to add both processing power and intelligence at the edge will help the MSOs further increase free cash flow from their IP services portfolio."

Service providers could use the new BPE to monitor traffic and warn users that they're exceeding their current service levels and might need to increase their level of paid service, or the providers might automatically adjust a user's account accordingly to a higher service level. For example, a customer who is streaming audio or video would require more bandwidth than someone who typically only views Web pages. On the other hand, the BPE could limit bandwidth automatically if a user is repeatedly downloading lots of digital media files from a peer-to-peer (P2P) network such as KaZaA.

TAGS: Security
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