The traffic volume of telecommunications has been rapidly growing with the expanding use of traffic-intensive mobile terminals like smartphones as well as the dissemination of 4K/8K ultra high-definition video transmission services. Additionally, recent technology innovations such as IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) impose new requirements on telecommunications networks. In this external environment, telecommunications networks will be incorporated into social infrastructure, such as public utilities. We believe that it is imperative for telecommunications networks to evolve continuously so as to play an active role in business areas where ICT is underutilized.
At Network Service Systems Laboratories, we are conducting leading-edge R&D of future networks on the basis of the “NetroSphere concept.” Future networks are expected to be service-oriented platforms designed to accelerate ”B2B2X Business.” Our challenge is to lead the world in these networks.
Vice President Shinya Tachimoto
Network Service Systems Laboratories promote R&D for establishing future network infrastructures, which fosters collaborations with various partners, for expanding B2B2X business. To establish robust and stable network infrastructures that promptly fulfill various requirements from partners, we are researching and developing network technologies to meet such requirements.
Our activities include:
(1) “Open innovation strategy in network system development,” which enables network systems to be rapidly and cost-effectively developed through in-house assembly of market-available technologies including open-source software (OSS).
(2) “One-stop operation,” which enables service providers to offer consolidated services in which different services (e.g. network, cloud, and application services) are flexibly integrated as well as managed with a unified way.
(3) “Network security,” which protects networks from cyber attacks through efficient security operations.
(4) “Tacit Computing Technology,” which aims to create innovative network services in the IoT era overflowing with sensor devices, gadgets, and services.
(5) “Optical transport infrastructure technology,” which enables long-distance transport of large-volume traffic reliably while reducing capital and operational expenditures.
(6) “Soft error testing technology,” which enhances stability and reliability of large-scale telecommunications systems.
Network Service Systems Laboratories are promoting R&D to support collaborations with partners for expanding B2B2X business and pursuing ways to ensure secure and reliable communications.
The ability to quickly provide our business partners with cost-efficient network functions based on the B2B2X model requires enhanced system development latitude, greater investment resources, and far shorter development times. Open Earth offers a way to revolutionize rapid deployment of cost-effective carrier network equipment by exploiting available commercial technology on the basis of generic hardware devices and open source software (OSS).
Open Earth is a shared platform group of open software that can be used to implement Network Function Virtualization (NFV). Our objective is to run network functions on Open Earth without having to depend on various application requirements.
Key features of this approach are:
・An architecture that partially utilizes required functions.
・Utilization of data center field development tools.
・Exploitation of quality, operations, and maintenance knowledge and knowhow of NTT labs, while supporting provisioning and implementation of documents.
・Guarantee of connectivity with commercially available products.
We will continue to take full advantage of OSS, while promoting the involvement of the open-source community and migration to an Open Earth environment.
MSF (Multi-Service Fabric) is a novel network technology and architecture that takes full of advantage of general-purpose products. Using the general-purpose switch cluster configuration technologies of MSF, operators can flexibly provide diversified networks with appropriate specifications, scales, and functions in combination with the external controller.
To maximize the value of MSF through global propagation and standardization, we are trying to make its technologies open. Cooperating with the relevant open-source communities, we continue discussing with global carriers / vendors.
From a technological viewpoint, we have investigated white-box switches that separate software from hardware, aiming to expand the applications.
As a result, we have demonstrated VPNs (virtual private networks) by implementing a software composed of OSS/Open IF on white-box switches and have shown the possibility of white-box switches for carrier networks (increasing the number of use cases)(*).
From now on, we seek to apply MSF to multipoint networks (switch clusters in multi-location) and provide advanced services through QoS control technologies toward enlarging the scope of MSF applicability and making MSF technologies more open.
* NTT Press Release: “Achieving Tbps-level transport functions with white-box switching on virtual networks,” September 2016
To contribute to businesses by creating safe and secure services supported by a server platform, we are currently carrying out R&D on MAGONIA, a new server architecture enabling new services to be rapidly created and CAPEX/OPEX (capital expenditures and operating expenses) to be drastically reduced.
The outcomes of our R&D will be deployed in a timely manner in accordance with NTT’s strategy for business and services and disseminated and promoted onto the global market through open-source communities.
(1) Distributed Processing Base (DPB): Middleware platform technology for developing various services that require real-time guarantees, high reliability, and scalability. (*1)
(2) Soft Patch Panel (SPP): Virtualization technology that enables high-speed and flexible inter-function among packet processing functions that are developed as software. (*2)
(3) VNF/NFVI Management: Resource management technology to realize virtual machine configuration and deployment taking into account the characteristics of service/operation such as real-time guarantees and availability with redundancy.
*1 NTT Technical Review: “MAGONIA (DPB: Distributed Processing Base) Applied to a Traffic Congestion Prediction and Signal Control System”
*2 NTT Technical Review : “MAGONIA (Soft Patch Panel): High-speed Inter-function Technique”
We are developing a one-stop operation to support the B2B2X business model.
Our goal is to enable service providers to offer consolidated services in which different services (e.g. network, cloud, and application services) are flexibly integrated as well as managed in a unified way. It is also important to ensure high reliability of network services and develop low-cost proactive maintenance.
We implement an operation-collaboration function that integrates multiple public services via APIs to provide unified fulfillment and maintenance of the services. The common APIs for cooperation are based on the specifications of the TM Forum, which is an international standards body of telecommunication management. Through standardization activities, we aim to accelerate collaboration with many providers of networks and cloud services(*).
We believe that one-stop operation will facilitate more collaborative services, which will be efficiently operated and managed with our technology.
* NTT Press release: “Development of unified operation and maintenance of network, cloud, and application services by selecting the required functions defined in a catalogue to develop consolidated services,” February 2017
Cyber-attacks have become so sophisticated and large-scale that they are becoming more difficult for service providers to handle by themselves.
Therefore, we are studying a mechanism in which rapid and appropriate security operations are autonomously performed in carrier networks to support service providers.
Specifically, we focus on:
(1)a network security architecture in which the centralized Network Security Controller improves the effectiveness and efficiency of security operations such as detecting, analyzing, and handling cyber-attacks by integrating management of security alarms, and control of network devices (routers, switches, etc.) / security functions (IDS, FW, WAF, etc.)
(2)an inter-network cooperation technology against huge-scale cyber-attacks that enables coordinated actions of security functions in different networks through interaction between network security controllers.
Through these studies, we aim to provide safe and secure network services that support security measures for service providers.
Today a great range of devices, as represented by the IoT, can be linked to services via networks. Like smartphones, all of these devices function like tiny computers that have their own processors and software. As the open IoT continues to evolve to support connectivity between devices and between services and devices, higher performance smart devices capable of flexible processing will become unevenly distributed all over the world.
Our objective is to dynamically integrate the right equipment at the right place on the basis of the service and area from among the vast pool of equipment that is linked to the network.
In other words, we are researching a network service technology able to integrate datacenter computers, network equipment, personal devices we use everyday, and even wearable devices. This new approach, called “Tacit Computing”, permits the recombination and optimization of resources, utilization ratio of equipment, data communication volume, and content, to alter the combination of resources in accordance with our objectives and situation.
To enable customers to use network services safely, securely, and without stress, we are developing a transport network that can carry a large volume of traffic economically and reliably.
To realize a large capacity optical transport network, we are researching and developing optical transport systems with high speed transmission and low power consumption by using a 400 Gbps / 1 Tbps–class high-performance digital coherent optical transmission technique and multi-carrier transmission technique.
Furthermore, to develop larger capacity systems continuously at low cost while succeeding at NTT-specific functions or introducing competitive functions earlier, we are researching a novel transport system architecture in which a base-machine and extensions are disaggregated and related end-to-end network management and control technologies.
The soft errors of telecommunications equipment caused by neutrons from cosmic rays have recently risen with the higher integration of semiconductor devices. Unlike permanent hard errors, soft errors are recovered by restarting devices or overwriting data. Reproducing soft errors was difficult, but we have established testing technology for reproducing soft errors by using a compact accelerator-driven neutron source that makes possible flexible test practice.(*) Moreover, we are working on an evaluation method that makes it possible to compare the testing results of each testing site that has compact accelerator-driven neutron sources with different specs and international standardization. We also plan to expand the scope of this soft error testing technology to various other electronic equipment requiring high levels of reliability.
* NTT Press release: “ “Soft error test service” commences to reproduce “soft errors” - abnormal operation of electronic equipment caused by cosmic rays,” December 2016