Spirent teams with Check Point for ATM test simulations
05 July 2006 | 2041 views | 0
Source: Spirent Communications
Network testing specialist Spirent Communications (NYSE: SPM; LSE: SPT) has released an innovative solution to test the next-generation of IP-based cash point systems, going live in 2006.
Spirent is emulating Check Point Software Technologies' VPN client software, Check Point VPN-1 SecureClient, which is used by a number of high street banks to secure the connection between ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) and the network. Spirent will use its simulation and load testing tools, Spirent Avalanche and Spirent Reflector, to allow banks to replicate over 10,000 cash point machines live on the network at the same time. This helps to ensure high street giants are able to deal with fluctuating demand, without falling over.
At present, the majority of global ATMs run on IBM's OS/2, but the firm halted sales at the end of 2005, and has plans to stop standard support by the end of 2006. As a result, banks are now looking to migrate their systems to IP-based ATMs running on Windows, Unix or Linux.
Unlike other testing tools, Spirent's solution is able to generate a large number of Check Point VPN tunnels with encrypted traffic to fully simulate a large ATM network.
David Hill, vice-president EMEA sales at Spirent Communications, said that there is no room for error with the move away from the highly robust OS/2.
"As banks receive a fee for every ATM transaction that takes place, losing a number of cash machines to a lack of network capacity could result in huge financial losses as well as unhappy customers. Spirent Avalanche's IPSec test solution helps banks to simulate large and complex networks of cash machines, to determine the scalability of the ATM back-end application and the network infrastructure when dealing with peaks in demand," he concluded.
Nick Lowe, Check Point's regional director for Northern Europe, said "The co-operation between Check Point and Spirent introduces a tool that harnesses the performance and scalability benefits of our VPN-1 Remote Access products. Spirent's testing tools will help the banking industry and other customers accelerate the development of their emerging networks."
In 2004, UK consumers carried out 2,455 million cash point transactions compared to 2,228 million in 2003 and 1,834 million in 2002, according to LINK, which owns the UK's national ATM network. The LINK network deals with up to 224 million transactions per month and at its busiest it processes almost 1 million transactions per hour.
There are over 130 million LINK cards in circulation from around 38 issuers and over 56,000 ATMs connected to the network, effectively every ATM in the UK.