One of Japan’s largest backbone network providers is making a $30 million
investment in U.S. Internet routing and switching equipment to ramp up for
the country’s increased metropolitan bandwidth demands.
Internet Initiative Japan,
Inc., tapped ONI Systems Corp. and
its dynamic transport system product line Thursday to expand the metro
network ring and increase the productivity of an Internet that now delivers
data traffic in a variety of flavors, from dialup and digital subscriber
line (DSL) to wireless handhelds and digital phones. The deal calls for a
two-year phased project incorporating the new equipment.
According to the Computer Industry Almanac,
Inc., Japan ranked second, behind the U.S., with more
than eight million Internet users at the end of 1999. According to a
report released in June by Japan’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications
(MPT), there are now about 27 million Internet users in Japan, 10 million
using a wireless connection.
Koichi Suzuki, IIJ
chief executive officer, said his
company’s continued expansion and entrance into new markets demanded a
flexible, scalable solution.
“IIJ is the leading advocate for Internet access and Internet solutions for
Japan,” Suzuki said. “After an extensive evaluation of the ONI solution,
we found that it met our objectives for low cost configuration,
scalability, flexibility and service protection. The DTS will easily scale
with our project growth, making it a wise long-term investment for us.”
Metro network rings are increasingly in demand as the fiber network
deployment switches its focus from international and national backbones to
inter-city networks. The change in focus is caused by Internet traffic
bottlenecks in major cities around the world as more and more people use
bandwidth-draining applications at work and home.
IIJ is one of the leading backbone providers in the Asia Pacific region,
with its A-Bone connecting Japan and the U.S. to countries including China,
Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Philippines. The company also owns
majority positions in various Web hosting, help desk and systems integrator
companies throughout the Asian region and in the U.S.
Hugh Martin, ONI Systems
president and chief executive
officer, said the Asian market is particularly vulnerable when it comes to
“The Asian market, and Japan in particular, is perfect for metro optical
networking solutions,” said Martin. “Broadband services, both wireless and
wireline, are growing very rapidly there and current network
infrastructures cannot meet the demand. All-optical networking gives
carriers the ability to assign wavelengths on a protocol-independent basis,
which is very important in meeting the demand of new broadband data-centric
services like gigabit Ethernet, fibre channel, in addition to existing
SONET/SDH based services.”
Internet use in Japan has a shaky history, with communications resting
solely in the hands of the powerful Nippon
Telegraph and Telephone Corp.
. It wasn’t until 1985,
when the Japanese government passed the Telecommunications Business Law to
promote competition, that other companies were able to make headway in
Even so, strict regulations by the MPT hampered the development of networks
by free-market agencies. The ministry is slowly easing its hold on network
development, even publishing the “Manual
for Market Entry into Japanese Telecommunications Business” and
for the Construction of Networks by Telecommunications Carriers,”
to help companies wade through the many system and regulatory requirements.