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Network Service Systems Laboratories

Overview of the Laboratories

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. Future networks are expected to be service-oriented platforms designed to accelerate "B2B2X Business." Our challenge is to lead the world in these networks.

Greetings

Vice President Shinya Tachimoto

Vice President Shinya Tachimoto

Current communication networks provide high reliability, safety, and security as social infrastructure. In addition to meeting these requirements, future networks should promptly provide new functionalities and network services required by various customers by flexibly incorporating accelerating technological innovations. NTT Network Service Systems (NS) Laboratories is researching and developing flexible, safe, and secure future networks and also fostering open innovations in the area of network research.

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 in a unified way.
(3) "Flexible transport service platform technologies," which provide transport functions flexibly, smartly, and securely and provide value-added transport functions for applications such as edge-computing.
(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 operating expenditures.
(6) In the existing public switched telephone network (PSTN), our tandem/signal transfer switches will approach their limits of useful life. The interconnection between VoIP carrier's network will shift from the connection via the PSTN to the IP based direct interconnection ("IP interconnection").

NTT Network Service Systems Laboratories is researching and developing network systems that will support smart and digitalized societies, pursuing ways to ensure secure and reliable communications and expanding our activities overseas.

Projects

  • · Network Systems Planning & Innovation Project
  • Establishment of future network systems architecture, and related R&D
  • · Transport Network Innovation Project
  • R&D of an innovative transport network and its fundamental technologies including optical and packet layer control technologies, network virtualization, and optical layer-2 switching
  • · Network Service Innovation Project
  • R&D of innovative network service infrastructure technology. Technical support of legacy network service nodes. Planning and promotion of standardization
  • · Server Network Innovation Project
  • R&D of innovative network systems using distributed server architecture
  • · Operation Innovation Project
  • R&D of network operations aiming to achieve end-to-end operations
  • · Transport Service Platform Innovation Project
  • R&D of next generation IP service nodes employing technologies for controlling high-performance packet forwarding

Main Research Areas

(1) Open innovation strategy in network system development

(1)-1 Open Earth: OSS Shared Platform

The ability to quickly provide our business partners with cost-efficient network functions on the basis of the B2B2X model requires enhanced system development latitude, 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 OSS 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 as follows:

・An architecture that partially uses 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 OSS community involvement and migration to an Open Earth environment.

(1)-2 "Open router" system integrated according to various demands

Since current telecom carriers' networks consist of large dedicated devices called routers, almost all service providers are often forced to conduct large-scale development of whole equipment, even for a small function change. NS Laboratories is researching and developing a brand-new system architecture to provide various specifications, scales, and functions to a network by disaggregating and integrating current router functions.
As one of its main activities, NS Laboratories has been conducting a project called MSF (Multi-Service Fabric) since 2014.
MSF realizes an open system that provides a flexible network satisfying various demands quickly and inexpensively by integrating simple and compact switches with external control software.
In addition, NS Laboratories is also working on an in-house production of network OS called "Beluganos" to accelerate componentization of switches' hardware and software and improve their customizability.
NS Laboratories is disseminating these technologies internationally to global carriers and OTT by disclosing our own technologies (*1)(*2) aiming for this system architecture to prevail for brand-new services in the coming AI and IoT era.

*1 MSF(Multi-Service Fabric) : Open software for network controlNEW Window
*2 Beluganos : Open software for network device controlNEW Window

(1)-3 Open source computing platform technology for flexible and prompt NW services

We are working on Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and OSS (Open Source Software) to realize a network system on standard high-volume servers to efficiently provide a changeable network that can respond flexibly and promptly to diverse needs of service providers.

In the field of NFV, there is widespread interest in OSS, such as OpenStack, a platform for cloud computing; DPDK, a library for high-speed packet processing applications; and container technology that is gaining massive popularity. However, when used as a carrier base system, they are still lacking in functions in all aspects such as performance, reliability, and operability.

In NS Laboratories, we are working on examining and proposing such functions: the management of the Virtual Network Function (VNF) lifecycle, which is missing when OpenStack is used; resource reservation when using virtual machines; flexible resource allocation among multiple virtual machines such as CPU-pinning; performance improvement of DPDK-based virtual network; acceleration of network processing by utilizing hardware accelerators (e.g., FPGA); and application of container technology for agility.

We will continue to work toward the realization of NFV in cooperation with the OSS community.

(2) MOOSIA: Technology for One-stop Operation

For faster service development, NTT is developing technologies for MOOSIA where anyone can easily make and securely operate a service.

Making it easier to create
・API Framework

Making it easier to operate
・Technologies for enhancing service assurance
・Zero-Touch Automation

Continuation and something extra
・Application of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies
・Application of big data analytics

We believe that NS laboratories contributes toward Smart World through providing the above technologies to various fields and receiving feedback from them.

* NTT Technical Review : "MOOSIA:Technology for One-stop Operation"NEW Window June 2018

(3) Flexible Transport Service Platform

We are developing transport service platform technologies, providing transport functions flexibly, smartly, and securely, and providing value-added transport functions for applications such as edge-computing. To develop and provide those technologies cost-effectively as well as quickly, we are working on open innovations in related areas as well.

(1) Open and Advanced Edge: We are developing carrier purpose edge technologies, utilizing commodity hardware such as white boxes and open technologies. Also, we are developing advanced traffic control technologies, enabling distribution of traffic flows to various value-added service functions.

(2) Virtualized Gateway and Slice: We are using OSS to develop virtualized gateway platform technologies, supporting various types of gateways such as virtualized CPE, slice gateway, and IoT gateway. Also, we are developing slice technologies for the 5G era, providing end-to-end slices across multiple clouds and multiple operators.

(4) Tacit Computing: A Smart Network Service for Open IoT Environments

IoT devices are increasing rapidly and will reach tens of billions by 2020. However, services and devices are fixedly determined in typical IoT services currently, and multiple devices cannot flexibly coordinate for each user or service. Therefore, to activate IoT services in the future, we believe Open IoT, where services and devices cooperate freely, will become important. On the basis of this belief, we propose a new approach called "Tacit Computing" in which a network distributes functions such as AI programs for analyzing and controlling IoT devices to provide personalized services by coordinating appropriate IoT devices for each user.

On the basis of this dynamic function distribution, Tacit Computing consists of three element technologies.
- Linkage and Location based Application Allocator: A technology to calculate the optimum distribution destination and combination of AI and other functions from cloud, edge, Home GW, and so on to reduce traffic amount and calculation resources.
- AI Resonance: A technology for automatically extracting and setting correlation to appropriate coordination between functions and devices. For example, improving accuracy in coordinating with ambient lighting when the camera image recognition accuracy is low.
- Environment Adaptive Software Generation: A technology that improves performances by automatically transforming a program that takes time in the CPU such as image processing using GPU or FPGA in the network.

(5) Optical transport infrastructure technology

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 large capacity optical transport network, we are researching and developing optical transport systems with 400G(*1)(*2) / 1T(*3)-class high speed transmission and low power consumption. Furthermore, we continue to make efforts to realize network system configuration aiming at realizing / utilizing route switching technology that realizes immediate transmission route setting by remote control at the time of transmission line failure due to severe disaster.


*1 NTT news release
"NTT Communications to Deploy 400Gbps Optical transmission system for Data Center Network Connections"NEW Window April 2017
*2 NTT news release
"Successful field trial of all-Raman optical amplification technology for multiband large capacity transmission of 400 Gbps signals in installed fiber -Double the usable bandwidth of installed fiber-"NEW Window May 2017
*3 NTT news release
"Succeeded: World's fastest 600Gbps per lambda optical transmission with 587Gbps data transfer -Prospect for realizing 600Gbps per lambda optical network and data transfer protocol maximizing its utilization, aiming for ultra-fast transfer of big data yielded by advanced science and technology research-"NEW Window December 2018

(6) IP interconnection

With conventional VoIP services, each VoIP carrier's network is generally connected to the existing public switched telephone network (PSTN), and VoIP carriers are connected via PSTN.
However, our tandem/signal transfer switches are approaching their limits of useful life. The interconnection between VoIP carrier's network will shift from the connection via the PSTN to the IP based direct interconnection (IP interconnection), and we plan to complete the migration of the core network from PSTN to an IP network by 2025.

We are working on international standardization in 3GPP and domestic standardization in TTC to achieve the IP interconnection between VoIP carriers(*).
We added the technical specifications from the viewpoint of a fixed network and enhanced the inadequate requirements for use in Japan to the NNI interface specification (TS 29.165), because 3GPP promotes standardization focused on mobile networks. In addition, we standardized JJ-90.30 at TTC, which conforms to TS 29.165 and includes the Japan-specific supplementary specifications and clarifications. Furthermore, we aim to achieve commercial IP interconnection by reflecting the agreed requirements (codec, inter-carrier access charge settlement, 0AB0/00XY service, etc.) in JJ-90.30, in cooperation with inter-operator's conference relating to PSTN migration.

* NTT technical Review : "Standardization Efforts in IP Interconnect Specifications"NEW Window

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