Networking is essential to your career, overpaid work gurus constantly tell us. Well, here's what's been happening in the world of networking this week:

Viatel intros international Ethernet
European telecoms operator Viatel has brought out a set of wide area Ethernet services. Customers can choose anything from a point-to-point connection to a full any-to-any network, routed through the Viatel WAN and called E-LAN, at committed rates from one Mbit/s to a Gigabit or more.

"The key driver for a customer is the equipment cost - it's typically 20 percent to 40 percent cheaper than Frame Relay or ATM," said Steve Best, Viatel's CTO. "Secondly, there's a real familiarity with Ethernet, and the support for applications is incredibly broad."

He added that Viatel will continue to offer MPLS services as well and expects the two businesses to grow in parallel. "E-LAN is not dependent on IP and is managed in the customer equipment, so it's for customers with network management expertise," he said. "Customers without that expertise would be attracted to MPLS, which is managed in the network and is IP-only."

E-LAN services are available in the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the US.

Powerline networks over the mains
Transmitting data over the mains wiring, the Ethernet Homeplug from Magenta Solutions is an option for anyone who needs to extend a branch office or remote site LAN. While it's not fast, at 14Mbit/s, its Powerline technology can bridge network segments or connect in extra devices without laying new cabling or using sniffable wireless.

Homeplug devices cost from £24 each, and Magenta director Rory Fidler said that they maintain security by DES-encrypting data before it is sent over the mains. Also available are wireless APs that use Powerline and the mains to link back into the network backbone.

Fluke analyses NetFlow for WAN performance
Fluke Network's ReporterAnalyzer can monitor LAN and WAN interfaces right across an enterprise by using Cisco NetFlow data, the company has claimed. Fluke said that the 25,000 euro traffic analysis device can store up to a year's worth of NetFlow data, before analysing it for troubleshooting and forecasting purposes.

Fluke added that ReporterAnalyzer uses NetFlow to see which applications are using bandwidth, who is using them and when. Traffic can be measured and analysed by application, host and conversation, which the company said can help with tasks such as WAN cost reduction and network capacity planning.

The passive device can monitor LAN and WAN interfaces continuously, which means it can generate immediate alerts when problems occur. It also connects to Fluke's OptiView WAN Analyzer for more complex analysis and troubleshooting.