Asian Internet Interconnection Initiatives (AI3)

Suguru Yamaguchi and Jun Murai
WIDE Project
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 future APII.

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 can:

(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.

Earth Stations

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 them.

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,
Nara, 630-01

Also, several information about the AI3 Task Force will be available through the WIDE WWW service ( Any questions, comments and suggestions are appreciated.