Prompted by the continuing growth of Internet
traffic and the potential cost-savings for traditional telephony
applications, Japanese telecommunications firms and Internet service
providers are expanding their backbone
On March 10, International Digital
Communications (IDC) announced the
addition of a 155-megabit-per-second (mbps) Internet backbone
connection between Japan and the US. The new line boosts IDC’s total
Japan-US backbone capacity by over 170 percent, to 245 mbps.
IDC trails Internet Initiative
Japan (IIJ) in trans-Pacific backbone
capacity expansion, however.
Operator of Japan’s largest Internet
backbone, IIJ has added 200 mbps of additional capacity to its Japan-US
backbones since the start of the year.
In January, IIJ added a second 45 mbps line to its Osaka-NY-NAP
(Pennsauken, New York) connection.
And in late February, the company added a new 155 mbps line to the
existing 45M bps link between IIJ Tokyo and MAE-WEST in California,
thereby more than quadrupling its Tokyo-San Jose backbone capacity.
These two backbone upgrades, combined with its 155 mbps Tokyo-Palo Alto
(DIX) connection, give IIJ a total Japan-US bandwidth of 445 mbps.
According to a company spokesperson, IIJ will further expand its
Osaka-New York backbone in April.
Since installing its first international dedicated line in March 1994,
IIJ has increased its US-Japan backbone capacity by more than 200,000
Of the approximately one dozen other Japan-based ISPs that currently
have a 45M bps or greater connection to the US, PSINet Japan recently
announced plans to more than double its existing 90M bps Japan-US
backbone by next year.
While the vast majority of Japan’s international IP links is with the
US, backbone connections with other regions are also increasing.
IIJ’s 245 mbps Japan-US backbone, for example, also connects directly to
countries throughout Asia via the A-Bone, the Asia-wide Internet
backbone network operated by IIJ-affiliate Asia Internet Holding (AIH).
By the end of the month, when it is scheduled to make a 2M bps
connection with ChinaNet, A-Bone will be tied into IP networks in 10
Japan’s other big international Internet backbone network is linked to
Neweb, the Internet service network of long-distance carrier KDD.
In February, KDD announced the opening of a new backbone link between
Neweb and the IP network of Sweden’s
Telia. And just last week, Neweb
announced connections with Teleglobe Canada and Digital Communications
Neweb now has links with about three dozen providers in some 20
countries throughout the Asia-Pacific, Europe, the North America.
Japan’s major telecom carriers are planning new domestic IP-based
backbones as well.
In December 1998, Japan Telecom
announced it will convert its existing
Japan backbone into an IP network to be called “PRISM” (Progressive and
Revolutionary Integration Service Media).
In January, KDD detailed plans for upgrading its backbone networks by
introducing “IP over WDM,” a method of directly connecting IP and
wavelength division multiplex (WDM) equipment. KDD says this new
technology will enable creation of a super-high-speed network without
the conventional telephony switches and transmission equipment it is now
using, thus significantly lowering the cost.
Testing of this next-generation “KDD Terabit Highway,” or “KTH21,”
starts this month, but actual IP-over-WDM services are not expected to
be available domestically for another three years, and not until around
This network, to be called the Powered IP Network (PIN), will be
operated by an umbrella organization known as Power Nets Japan (PNJ).
The PNJ group carriers plan to begin domestic trials next year, and aim
to eventually deliver a bandwidth of 100 gigabits per second.
With three major telecom groups having announced plans to build IP
backbones, others are likely to follow suit.