Asia-Pacific Advanced Network(APAN)
Chair, APAN Committee
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, and the transition phase. It is in the commercialization
phase now. See Figure 1 for the diagrammatic description.
The second generation networking started with various experiments on gigabit
testbeds around the world in 1980's and 1990's. It is moving into the
research and development production phase now. The examples in North America
are Next Generation Internet Initiative including vBNS, Internet 2, and
CA*net 2.[2,3,4,5,6] North America set up the third generation network based
on DWDM such as CA*net3, NTON, and ATDnet.
In Europe, TEN-34 was deployed to cover much of Europe, and it is being
upgraded to TEN-155 now. Various
national high performance research networks have been deployed, too.[7,8,9,10]
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 these national and regional testbeds as well as
other high performance networks to offer the production
network service for the research and development community of the
Asia-Pacific region with global
interconnectivity.[12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20] APAN is to offer the network
environment for the Asia-Pacific research community as well as to offer the
to carry on research and development on high performance networks at the same
APAN consists of various networks, each of which owns international circuits
and APAN itself does not own any international circuit. In this sense, APAN
can be seen a consortium of research networks, each of which has its own
mission. In addition to the international circuits, APAN established
points in Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo, called XP-Seoul, XP-Singapore, and
XP-Tokyo, respectively. They handle exchanges of both Layers 2 and 3 traffic
with appropriate switches and routers. In addition, each APAN member network
operates access points to handle domestic access to APAN as well as domestic
exchange. Various servers are placed at the
exchange points, access points, and other places. We are looking into
evolution of these exchange and access points to become GigaPoPs in the coming
APAN operates various working groups and committees to manage its mission.
APAN manages network operation centers, engineering teams and secretariats.
See Table 2 as well as APAN web site for further information.
The current APAN network topology can be found in Figure 2. It consists of
various inter-continental and intra-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
between 14 and
73 Mbps now with the plan of the total inter-continental bandwidth of
155 Mbps in a few years. The intra-continental links are typically between
2 Mbps and 8 Mbps.
We planned the inter-continental backbone of 45 Mbps or
more originally, 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 being planned now. 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 time being.
We have APAN hubs, called exchange points(XP) in Seoul,Singapore and
Tokyo for packet exchange and other purposes. See Figure 3 for the sample
configuration of the exchange points. It's primary function is to exchange
ATM cells through 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
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 APAN's exchange points to be the
continental exchange points for Asia to peer with other continental exchange
points in Americas 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. See Figure 3
for further information. Some of XPs and APs are expanded to evolve to
APAN network operation consists of two levels. At APAN level, we have the
APAN Network Operation Centers in Australia, Japan, Korea, and Singapore to
run its domestic network or coordinate its domestic networks in the case of
Japan. 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 coordinates
various APAN member networks. See Table 1 for the list of
APAN member networks.
All Network Operation Centers are operated for 7 days a week and 24 hours a
day. We recently added Engineering Teams to enhance the Network Operation
Centers in the areas of IPv6, measurement, multicast and quality of
service, called QBone.
Bandwidth allocation is managed by Bandwidth Allocation Subcommittee, and
is operated by Network Operation Centers. Each APAN member network has its own
Acceptable Use Policy(AUP), which includes
(High performance) project traffic,
High performance research and education traffic,
Research and education traffic,
Commodity traffic, and
We have the following technology working groups(WGs)
to handle technology issues;
Quality of Service
Cache WG is to coordinate cache systems among APAN member networks.
APAN participates to the global cache hierarchy system development with
counterparts in North America, and Europe. In addition the cache systems
in some countries including Japan serves other member networks such as AI3
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 performance on delay as
well as throughput so that we can assess 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 OC3MON, Skitter, and Surveyor.[33, 34, 35]
Multicst with MBone is one of the major utilities in APAN as well as the
major technical infrastrcuture. 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 evaluating
several multimedia conferencing systems to be used in APAN now.
Network Design WG concentrated on APAN network design and analysis
initially, and its major work has been completed.
Satellite Internet WG is looking into inclusion of satellite in APAN networks.
AI3 is the first effort with hubs in Japan and several sites in Asia.
It is expanding the coverage to include Indian Ocean and number of sites now.
Currently, the group is
looking into addition of another hub in Singapore with links to Malaysia and
Security is always an important issue in any network. We plan to deploy
necessary security measure on our network, and carry on the security research.
Television is a new working group to concentrate on television and video
traffic in APAN such as Digital Video at 45 Mbps, MPEG 2 at 6~8 Mbps and
MPEG 1 at 1.5~2 Mbps. The group is expected to have collaboration with
the counterparts in Internet 2 in USA as well as CA*net 2 in Canada.
USER COMMUNITY AREA
Network usage is coordinated with the following Working Group under User
Digital Library WG
Medical Informatics 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 Resource
Allocation Committee. Some applications need to reserve the bandwidth in
multiple networks such as APAN and vBNS, or APAN and CA*net 2. We will try to
arrange such a reservation easy to make.
See APAN home page for the initial list of APAN application candidates, which
are updated regularly.
Funding for APAN is handled in two ways. For the network infrastructure such
as communication links and exchange points are paid by some of APAN members.
In the other words, you have to own the communication link and/or the exchange
points to be the primary member of APAN.
The network operation centers and the secretariats are also volunteered by some
of APAN members. Some of the operating expense may be covered by APAN
membership fees and/or the relevant projects.
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.[21,22,23,24] Many research networks around the world have links
to STAR TAP in Chicago and other exchange points in North America now. See
Figure 4 for the interconnection of the high performance research networks.
They provide either Layer 2 link(ATM cell) or Layer 3 link(IP packet). These
engineered interconnection is particularly important for high performance
applications, which tend to require high performance quality of service
Various collaboration efforts are being done globally. Some of global policy
Global Interoperability of Broadband Networks(GIBN)
Coordinated Committee for Intercontinental Research Networking(CCIRN)
Some of technologies are coordinated globally in the following areas;
Multicast including MBone
Quality of Service
Applications are usually coordinated by specific user communities.
The idea on APAN came up during APEC Symposium in Tsukuba, March 1996.
Professor M. McRobbie and the author proposed the high performance research
network for the
Asia-Pacific region with the inter-continental links. During the evenings
of the symposium, the symposium participants got together to polish up the
idea. With series of
monthly meetings in the spring and summer of 1996, APAN was proposed.
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
realized due to lack of traffic and fund as well as the pricing structure
which favors direct links to USA. We need to develop the Asian
backbone in the next phases to promote intra-continental collaboration.
Domestic infrastructures, i.e., 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 minimal initially, and we need to put special effort
to make the APAN initiative attractive to the industry including service
industry and manufacturing industry as well as public sectors.
We need to come up with many attractive applications with intra-continental
collaboration and/or inter-continental collaboration. This is also new to
us, at least not at this level of intensity. We believe that we have to go
through much of learning with trial and error before we come up with many
Looking into future, the first question is the same as the one the author
raised in 1996 when APAN was discussed initially; "Why not gigabit?"
We hope we can realize the gigabit
Asian backbone with the gigabit inter-continental link early in the next
decade as soon as other continents are ready with the gigabit networking.
1. Ivan Campos, "An External View," Proceedings of Cheyenne Mountain Workshop,
2. Next Generation Internet Initiative; Draft Implementation Plan, July 1997.
3. Next Generation Internet Workshop Proceedings, 1996.
5. Internet 2
6. CA*net 2
11. Proceedings of APII Testbed Forum, Seoul, Korea, May 1996.
12. Australia(AARNET, ACSys)
13. Zhi Min Yang and Zhen Ming Lei, ATM Networking in China, Asian ISDN Council
Working Groups, 17-22 October 1996.
http://www.bta.net.cn, http://www.edu.cn, http://www.cnc.ac.cn
18. Asia Institute of Technology, Bangkok
19. NECTEC, Thailand
20. Asia-Pacific Advanced Network
21. Interop Proceedings, Tokyo, June 1996.
22. Proceedings of International Telecommunications Forum: ISS'97, Toronto,
Canada, September 1997.
23. Annual CCIRN Meeting, June 1997.
24. G7 GII/GIBN Meeting, Rome, Italy, October 1997.
26. APEC Symposium Proceedings, Tsukuba, Japan, March 1996.
27. DANTE, CAPE: Feasibility Study for Connecting Asia Pacific and Europe,
30. SURFNET, the Netherlands
31. RENATER, France
32. STAR TAP
36. Asia Internet Infrastructure Initiative(AI3)
Figure 1 Network Evolution Spiral
Figure 2 APAN Network Topology
Figure 3 APAN Exchange and Access Points
Figure 4 Global Interconnection of Research Networks
Table 1 Member Network List
Table 2 APAN Organization