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Profile of the Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN)

Written by  Dr Kilnam Chon
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Dr Kilnam ChonIssue:Asia-Pacific II 1999
Article no.:7
Topic:Profile of the Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN)
Author:Dr Kilnam Chon
Title:Chair
Organisation:APTLD and APAN
PDF size:24KB

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Article abstract

Introduction The Internet started around thirty years ago as an experimental network project called Arpanet. It has been through the research and development experiment phase, the research and development production phase, the transition phase and is currently in its commercialisation phase.

 

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The second generation Internet development started with various experiments on gigabit testbeds around the world in the 1980s and 1990s but it is now moving into the research and development production phase. The first generation with best effort service does not guarantee the quality of service, whereas the second generation guarantees the quality of service. The quality of the service is particularly important to multimedia communications such as video and sound. Examples of the second generation Internet in North America are Internet 2 with vBNS and Abilene, and CA*net 2. TEN-155 was deployed to cover much of Europe, and various national high performance research networks have been deployed. In Asia, various gigabit testbeds have been developed among many countries and regions including Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. Asia-Pacific Advanced Network Consortium (APAN) was formed in 1997 to interconnect national and regional testbeds as well as other high performance networks in order to offer global interconnectivity to the production network service for the research and development community of the Asia -Pacific region. APAN will offer the network environment for the Asia-Pacific research community as well as the testbed needed to carry out research and development on high performance networks. APAN operates various working groups and committees to manage its mission. There are also a number of network operation centres, engineering teams and secretariats under APAN management. See Table 2 as well as APAN web site for further information. The current APAN network topology can be found in Figure 1. It consists of various inter-continental links. The primary inter-continental link is between the APAN exchange points in Tokyo (XP-Tokyo) and STAR TAP in Chicago with an additional inter-continental link between XP-Singapore and STAR TAP. More inter-continental links are coming up across the Pacific and Eurasia Continent. Their bandwidth ranges from between 14 and 73 Mbps and there are now plans to develop an inter-continental bandwidth of 155 Mbps this year. The intra-continental links are typically between 2 Mbps and 8 Mbps. We originally planned the inter-continental backbone of 45 Mbps or more , but this has to be postponed to the next phase due to lack of traffic and funding. Otherwise, we are covering all major countries and regions in Asia who need to be linked with 1.5 Mbps or more for (high performance) research and education traffic. Global links are initially handled in STAR TAP in Chicago, where Canadian high performance research network, CA* net 2, and various European high performance research networks such as TEN-155 could be reached. The direct link from Asia to Europe is now being planned . [27] Since there are no efficient broadband links such as the one through Siberia, it is very likely that we have to exchange packets with Europe through North America for the time being. We have APAN hubs, called exchange points (XP) in Soul, Singapore and Tokyo for packet exchange and other purposes. Its primary function is to exchange ATM cells through a permanent virtual path and circuit (PVP/PVC). In addition, XP routes IP packets, and converts the IP packets and the ATM cells. Each XP has various servers for network operation and applications. Examples are the route server for network operation, and cache and Mbone servers for network applications. Interoperability with STAR TAP in Chicago and other exchange points of different continents are very important to form globally interoperable research networks. We expect some of APANs exchange points to be the continental exchange points for Asia to peer with other continental exchange points in America and Europe. In addition to XPs, each APAN member network operates various access points, called APs to handle APAN access as well as domestic exchange. Some of the XPs and APS are expanded to evolve to become GigaPoPs. Network Operation APAN network operation consists of two levels. At APAN level, we have the APAN Network Operation Centres in Australia, Japan, Korea, and Singapore to run its domestic network or co-ordinate its domestic networks in the case of Japan. The APAN Network Operation Center in Japan operates various international links. One of them is TransPac, the primary Trans-Pacific link, which is jointly operated with the USA counterpart. At the APAN member network level, APAN Network Operation Center co-ordinates various APAN member networks. All Network Operation Centres are operated for 7 days a week and 24 hours a day. We recently added Engineering Teams to enhance the Network Operation Centres in the areas of Ipv6, measurement, multicast and quality of service, called Qbone. Technology Area The following technology working groups (WGs) handle technology issues; Cache Ipv6 Multicast Measurement Multimedia Network Design Quality of Service Satellite Internet Security Television Cache WG is to co-ordinate cache systems among APAN member networks. APAN participates to the global cache hierarchy system development with counterparts in North America, and Europe. [25] In addition the cache systems in some countries including Japan serves other member networks such as A13 members as the parent cache. Ipv6 WG of APAN investigates to test its usability for global high performance research networks. Initially, the Ipv6 test network was developed in APAN with interconnection to other similar networks including the Ipv6 network of Internet 2. Measurement is one of the most important projects of APAN. We need to measure on delay* throughput for long distance such as the Trans-Pacific link and the Asia-Europe link. We need to find out actual levels of performance on delay as well as throughput so that we can make an assessment based on real-time applications , broadband applications and others. We plan to collaborate with similar effort in other continents. Specifically, we are developing the virtual measurement networks with 0C3MON, Skitter, and Surveyor. [33,34,35] Multicst with Mbone is one of the major utilities in APAN apart from the technical infrastructure. We provide high quality Mbone with minimal packet loss to guarantee high quality. In addition, we offer multicast infrastructure in APAN, which is migrating toward MBGP-based multicast starting from Tokyo-XP. Multimedia WG is focusing on various multimedia support tools including multimedia conferencing systems and documentation tools at this moment. Virtual reality technology is also included here. The group is currently evaluating several multimedia conferencing systems to be used in APAN . Network Design WG concentrated on APAN network design and analysis initially, and its major work has now been completed Satellite Internet WG is looking into inclusion of satellite in APAN networks. A13 is the first effort with hubs in Japan and several sites in Asia. [36] It is expanding the coverage to include the Indian Ocean and number of other sites. Currently, the group is looking to add another hub in Singapore with links to Malaysia and Indonesia. Security is always an important issue in any network. We plan to deploy necessary security measure on our network, and carry on our research into the area of security. A new group currently focussing on television and video traffic in APAN such as Digital Video at 45 MPEG 2 at 6-8 Mbps and MPEG 1 at 1.5-2 Mbps. The group is expected to collaborate with the counterparts in Internet 2 in USA as well as CA* net 2 in Canada. User Community Area Network usage is co-ordinated with the following Working Group under User Community Area; Agriculture WG BioInformatics WG Digital Library WG Education WG Grid WG Medical Informatics WG Monitoring WG Manufacturing WG Most of user communities of APAN are in science and engineering now.? We plan to expand to cover research activities in social science and humanity. All applications need to reserve the necessary bandwidth through a Resource Allocation Committee. Some applications need to reserve the bandwidth in multiple networks such as APAN and vBNS, or APAN and CA* net2. We will try to arrange so that such reservations are easy to make. See APAN home page, http://www.apan.net for APAN applications in addition to other information. Inter-Continental Collaboration Inter-continental collaboration is one of the main objectives of APAN along intra-continental collaboration. APAN collaborates with various regional and national high performance research networks such as the ones in North America and Europe. At present many research networks around the world have links to STAR TAP in Chicago and other exchange points in North America . They provide either Layer 2 link (ATM cell) or Layer 3 link (IP packet). These engineered interconnections are particularly important to high performance applications, which tend to require high performance quality of service connections. Various collaborations efforts are being made globally. Some of global policy collaborations are: Global Interoperability of Broadband Networks (GIBN) Co-ordinated Committee for Intercontinental Research Networking (CCIRN) Some of the technologies are co-ordinated globally in the following areas; Cache Ipv6 Measurements Multicast including Mbone Network Storage Quality of Service Security Television Applications are usually co-ordinated by specific user communities; globally or regionally Concluding Remarks The idea to create APAN came about during the APEC Symposium in Tsukuba, March 1996. Professor M. McRobbie and the author proposed a high performance research network for the Asia-Pacific region with inter-continental links. During the evenings of the Symposium, the symposium participants got together to polish up the idea. APAN was proposed during a series of monthly meetings in the spring and summer of 1996. APAN Consortium was formed in June 1996 with four founding member countries; Australia, Japan, Korea, and Singapore, and two liaison member countries; Canada and USA. We originally planned the Asian Backbone with 45 Mbps or more as well as the inter-continental link with 45 Mbps or more. The Asian backbone has not been realised due to lack of funding and problems related to the pricing structure which favours direct links to USA. We need to develop the Asian backbone in the next phases to promote intra-continental collaboration. Conclusion Domestic infrastructures, ie., domestic high performance research networks are not quite ready in many countries. Thus, we are being forced to develop the necessary domestic infrastructure at the same time. This is a typical catch-up game in Asia. Industry participation is initially minimal, and we need to make an effort so that the APAN initiative is attractive to the industry including the service industry and manufacturing industry as well as the public sectors. We need to come up with many attractive applications with intra-continental collaborations and/or inter-continental collaboration. This is also new to us, at least at this level of intensity. We believe that we have to go through much learning with trial and error before we can come up with new attractive applications. Looking into future, the first question is the same as the one the author raised in 1996 when APAN was initially discussed. ; Why not gigabit We hope we can realise the gigabit Asian backbone with the gigabit inter-continental link early in the next decade as soon as other continents are ready with their gigabit networks.

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