Asian Internet Interconnection Initiatives (AI3)
Suguru Yamaguchi and Jun Murai
October 27th, 1995
A lot of efforts have been made to develop the international Internet
environment. In order to achieve a better and efficient information
infrastructure around the globe, there are very strong urgent demands
in the area of Asia and Pacific for a practical working environment
where engineers and researchers in related fields work cooperatively.
The WIDE (Widely Integrated Distribute Environment) project which is a
research consortium in the Internet area of studies and JSAT(Japan
Satellite Systems Inc.) which is a satellite communication company
jointly propose a single year testbed construction and a series of
research activities using the testbed. The testbed and the activities
will be called AIII (AI3) and will contribute, promote, and encourage
any related efforts toward achievement of the international
information infrastructure such as Internet, AII, and APII.
The success of the Internet development is making the explosive
expansion of the Internet in many Asian countries and regions. This
rapid growth of the Internet introduces new requirements on the
Internet: broader bandwidth on the links, better operational
activities, and more efficient application environments. In the late
1980s and early 1990s, since the major applications on the Internet
were E- mail, remote host accesses via TELNET, and file transfer using
FTP, several hundreds Kbps connections were enough for both backbone
and access links. However, because of the commercialization of the
Internet and the expansion of the use of many types of multimedia
applications, multi-Mbps backbone and T1 grade access links are
required. Especially, the WWW (World Wide Web) service is a
significant player to push up the consumption of the bandwidth in the
Internet. Many major WWW servers are now providing audio and motion
video data which consume several hundreds Kbps. Furthermore, the MBone
testbed requires over 300Kbps per each live video/audio channel. With
these bandwidth requirements, adding more bandwidth to the current
existing links is vital to provide and improve these kinds of new
services on the Internet. WIDE Project and Japan Satellite Systems
Inc. (JSAT) have been driving the joint research program called WISH
(stands for "WIDE Internet with Satellite Harmonization") since
1993. In this joint research program, the WIDE Project has developed
several technologies to facilitate the VSAT satellite links as
Internet datalinks. Currently, as the part of the Internet in Japan,
the special backbone called "WISHbone" is in its operation, and
provides 2Mbps point-to-point connections among 7 earth stations
geographically distributed in Japan. Through the WISH experiments, we
confirmed that our technology can improve the performance of the MBone
type of multicast communications and applications based on bulk data
transfers. On 28th of August, 1995 (U.S. time), the JSAT launched
their new satellite called JCSAT-3 to start their new services, which
are initially limited to its domestic services , from November 1995.
This JCSAT-3 will provide its Asian Zone Beam which covers several
east and south east Asian countries and regions. The coverage of the
beam is shown in the Figure 1. This also shows the size of the antenna
of the earth station which can provide 2Mbps link between earth
stations. With these new services, it becomes possible to expand the
WISH experiments to the international Internet testbed environment.
Figure 1: The minimum requirement on the size of the VSAT antenna
to get 2Mbps bandwidth using the JCSAT-3 Asian Zone Beam (Ku band).
The WIDE Project will undertake a 30 month long "Asian Internets
Interconnection Initiatives Task Force" (called AI3-TF) starting
October 1995. The AI3-TF is focused on technologies to establish the
international Internet connection using satellite communication
channels. Goals of the AI3-TF are as follows:
1. The AI3-TF defines requirements for establishment of international
Internet connections among the Asian countries and the future APII
(Asia & Pacific Information Infrastructure) from both technical and
social viewpoints. Furthermore, through this process, the task force
makes several research outputs publicly available.
2. With the satellite links, the AI3-TF installs and operates
international Internet connections among several Asian countries for 2
years. The task force uses these connections for prototyping of the
3. Through the operation of these international links, the task force
coordinates the international mutual connectivity backup operation.
4. Based on the statistical analysis of the utilization of the
installed links, the task force makes recommendations and requirements
for the future installation of the APII.
For these goals of the AI3-TF, the WIDE Project proposes to start
several research activities with other research entities (hereafter
called "partners") in Asia. Using the JCSAT-3 new services, a partner
(a). use 2Mbps VSAT satellite link to carry the international Internet
traffic between its own earth station and the AI3 earth station
resided in Japan if all the traffic on the link do not violate AI3
AUP. Under this condition, a partner can exchange any traffic from
partners' networks and networks in Japan.
(b). ask the WIDE Project to make the WIDE Internet as a transit
network to carry its own traffic further to other networks.
Currently, the WIDE Internet has an international connection to the
U.S. Internet (Internet MCI, 1.5Mbps terrestrial link).
Tentative terms and conditions which potential partners should agree
are as follows:
(a) Each partner should obtain a license required for operation of an
earth station from an appropriate local authority.
(b) The WIDE Project requests partners to make statistical analysis of
link utilization in order to achieve research objectives of this task
force. The results of the statistical analysis is used only for
design of the future APII and other related research activities.
(c) For the stable link operation, partners share operation efforts
with the WIDE Project.
(d) The WIDE Project reserves a right to design and configure the
topology of the satellite links and other configurations with advanced
discussions with partners.
Installation and Operation Plan
Since the JCSAT-3 will be in operation in November 1995, the actual
installation of the AI3 earth stations in Asia can be started in the
first quarter of 1996.
Local Regulations and Licenses
The hardest part of the beginning of this task force is a "license."
In almost all of the countries in this region, governments have many
kinds of regulations to restrict the international commercial
communication services. In this sense, the JSAT, an owner of the
satellite, must have licenses from local governments to provide the
JCSAT-3 services in the countries. It is still unclear for us how
long it takes to get licenses. Any kinds of partners' help to obtain
license for the JCSAT-3 commercial operation would be appreciated.
An earth station is a gateway system for providing connectivity to the
AI3 network. Figure 2. shows the basic configuration of the VSAT
earth station. Each earth station is configured with a router, a VSAT
IDU (InDoor Unit) and a VSAT ODU (OutDoor Unit). The router is an IP
router with at least an Ethernet port and an serial port, to which a
V.35 or a RS449 interface of the VSAT IDU is connected. The VSAT IDU
is a modem for the VSAT communication channel. The VSAT ODU is
constructed with an antenna and a microwave transmitter/receiver.
The WIDE Project and the JSAT provide only the bandwidth in the
JCSAT-3 Asian Zone Beam, therefore, each partner has to construct its
earth station by itself.
In almost all of countries and regions covered by the JCSAT-3 Asian
Zone Beam, there are several regulations which restrict the usage of
the international satellite communication. In some countries, a
license is required to operate satellite earth stations. The partners
have to take care of these kinds of legal considerations.
The VSAT earth station for the AI3 network can be constructed with
around 50,000 U.S. dollars (the cost varies by countries). the WIDE
Project and the JSAT does not help partners financially for
construction of each earth station.
Figure 2: The basic configuration of the VSAT earth Station.
A link between a partner's earth station and an AI3 earth station in
Japan is a normal point-to-point link like an ordinary digital leased
line. A router on the earth station has to have serial interfaces to
operate the link as an Internet connection. At the AI3 earth station
in Japan, SUN workstations with HSI interfaces will be facilitated as
AI3 router. In order to support classless routing which is currently
deployed in the Internet, the software has to be modified slightly.
The BGP-4 protocol is used for the routing on this link. The router
at the earth station has to have a capability for BGP-4 operation. Of
course, the link should be operated under the AI3 AUP, and partners
should be careful on the configuration of the router. In the current
installation plan, on the AI3 earth station in Japan uses gated
(GateDaemon) developed by Gated Consortium. Recent versions of gated
support BGP-4 on several UNIX platforms.
One of the major issues in this task force is to design and develop
the international mutual connectivity backup system. Almost all of
Internets in the Asia region have direct connections to the
U.S. Internet backbone. However, there is few connections among these
Internets. Thus, strategies and requirements to install the mutual
backup system among Internets in the Asia region are still not clear.
However, since the importance of stable operation of the Internet is
increasing, availability of the Internet connectivity has became more
significant. Therefore, technologies to implement the operational
mutual backup system between regional Internets should be developed.
For this objective, this task force plans several experiments using
the AI3 testbed. Especially, routing server and policy routing
technologies are focused.
Another technical issues is the application based routing technology.
The major characteristics of a satellite link is its delay of about
500ms. This is not a good feature for interactive applications
generally. However, some of the World Wide Web clients may have
several HTTP sessions in parallel so that the link delay is expected
to be less significant. In the same sense, several application
traffic such as HTTP or FTP can be routed onto the AI3 network. In
order to accommodate this kind of application based routing, a WWW
cache server will be implemented in the AI3 site in Japan. The
experimental issues shown here are just for example, each partner is
encouraged to propose other experimental issues.
The AI3 Task Force will evaluate the link utilization and make
recommendations and requirements for the future APII construction.
These recommendations and requirements may be reported to the APNG and
other organizations. Also, this task force makes efforts to publish
The JSAT as a sponsor of the AI3-TF evaluates our activities every 12
months. According to their evaluation, the JSAT will decide if it
provide its own satellite link without any charges in the next 12
months. In this sense, the AI3-TF also have to report our activities
to the JSAT.
The AI3 AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) is simple: any traffic for
achievement of the AI3 goasl is acceptable. In this sense, the
following types of traffic are acceptable to transit the AI3 network
provided by this task force.
1. Any traffic related to academic and research activities.
2. Any traffic for operation and management of the AI3 network, which
includes direct support by commercial entities.
For More Information
Please contact Dr. Suguru Yamaguchi, as a representative of the AI3
Task Force of the WIDE Project.
FAX: +81 7437-2-5349
Postal Mail: WIDE Project AI3 Task Force
c/o Nara Institute of Science and Technology
8916-5, Takayama, Ikoma,
Also, several information about the AI3 Task Force will be available
through the WIDE WWW service (http://www.wide.ad.jp/). Any questions,
comments and suggestions are appreciated.