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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Japan’s KDD to Construct IP-Based Backbone Network
  • January 29, 1999 (TOKYO) — KDD Corp., Japan’s largest provider of international telephone services, said it plans to upgrade its backbone networks to be based on the Internet Protocol.
    It is making the move to create the company’s vision of a next-generation network.

    The name for this next-generation network will be “KDD Terabit Highway” or “KTH21.” Testing of it is scheduled to start in March using both domestic lines and those linking Japan and the United States.

    The most important feature of KTH21 is that only routers are used to construct the network. That means that much of the other equipment commonly used until now when other operators have constructed their networks, such as asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) switches, telephone switches and synchronous optical network (SONET)/ synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) devices, are not used.

    Using routers, which are comparatively cheap compared with the value of the existing equipment the company has already invested in and installed, and then connecting them directly to the network’s optical fibers will enable transmission costs to be reduced to about 1/100 of their current level.

    Eventually, ordinary telephone services will also be linked to the KTH21 network, meaning customers can expect to benefit from much lower charges for their ordinary telephone calls in addition to the cheaper data communications services.

    In order to allow the company to cut out all the ATM and SONET/SDH switches and transmission equipment that was previously necessary, KDD is also introducing a new protocol technology. The technology is called “IP over WDM,” and it will be used to form a direct connection between the IP and the wavelength division multiplex (WDM) equipment.

    Actual telecommunications services using “IP over WDM” will be made available in 2002 or 2003 in Japan, and around 2005 internationally. A comprehensive “IP over WDM” service, including ordinary telephone calls, will probably be offered some time around 2010.

    The first international lines to be revamped with the new technology will be those connecting Japan with the United States and other regions with a lot of telecommunications traffic. Domestically, the first lines to be switched over to the new technology will be those making up KDD’s domestic long-distance backbone network.

    At present, “IP over WDM” technology is still in the development stages, and commercial routers compatible with the technology are not yet available. As soon as the technology is ready, KDD will start working to gradually convert its existing backbone network into the new KTH21 network.

    According to sources at KDD, “IP over WDM” routers should start appearing sometime in 2001 or 2002, and as soon as they become available, the company will immediately start conducting tests to prove the system.

    The tests scheduled to begin this March will use other networks, including the optical fiber network belonging to the former Teleway Japan Corp. that runs alongside the nation’s highways, and the Japan Information Highway (JIH), the cables of which loop around the whole Japanese archipelago.

    In addition to switching backbone networks over to IP, the testing will also be used to try out ways of coping with the increasing diversity of access lines. Testing will likely be carried out on a variety of different access methods, including CATV (Cable TV), fixed wireless access (FWA) and IMT-2000.

    On the domestic front, it was only a month or so ago, back in December 1998, that Japan Telecom Co., Ltd. unveiled plans to convert its own backbone network into an IP network to be called “PRISM” (Progressive and Revolutionary Integration Service Media). That makes two major Japanese carriers so far to have revealed intentions to create IP-based networks, making it probable that other companies in the field will follow suit.

    Related story: Japan Telecom, Nihon Cisco Systems to Begin IP Network Trials

    (Nikkei Communications)

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