Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ProtoSphere 1.4 Feature Peek: Single port NAT traversal keeps company networks secure

3-D virtual world products require companies to open numerous TCP/IP ports. This is how companies connect the virtual world platform to their network. ProtoSphere 1.4, however, will require just one port, port 80 or 443, to be opened. This is made possible through a technique known as NAT (network address translation) traversal.

If you're not familiar with TCP/IP ports, think of a port like a door to a house. The house represents a firewall. Since the firewall is the tool that protects intellectual properties, computers, and servers, the more "doors" (ports) you keep open, the more vulnerable your data, digital assets, and servers are to security threats.

We chose ports 80 and 443 for ProtoSphere v1.4 because most companies keep them open anyway. Customers can install ProtoSphere without bothering their IT department. All other 3-D virtual world platforms require companies to open multiple ports. One requires over 100 ports to be opened. I'm sure no IT manager would be happy about opening 100 ports. In fact, many IT managers will refuse to do so due to the security risks.

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