Department of Computer Science and Mathematics,
Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts, Japan
Director of Information Policy Division,
Department of Planning and Regional Development,
Okayama prefecture Government, Japan
Graduate School of Information Science,
Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan
Faculty of Environmental Information,
Keio University, Japan
The Okayama information highway project is the first case where the prefecture government constructed the optical fiber cables for the Internet communication in Japan. Okayama Pref. constructed optical fibers which were called "Public fiber" in using the utility pole by the prefectural highway etc. We connect Teleport NOC(Network Operation Center) at the center of the prefecture and nine prefecture local promotion bureaux by ATM of 155Mbps-622Mbps capacity in these public fibers. Nine local promotion bureaux cover the whole prefecture area, and can offer a uniform Internet communication infrastructure for all prefecture residents. "Public Fiber" has been effectively used as many Internet project, such as regional IX and the school of Internet connection, etc.. In this paper, the Okayama information highway project is shown as a case with Japan where the prefecture government handled the construction of the optical fiber infrastructure to their region.
Table of Contents
- Regional Internet
- Okayama Information Highway
- Feature of Okayama information highway
- Regional IX
- School of Internet
- Problems and consideration of OKIH
The Internet user is increasing rapidly by the coming of the informationalized society. The gap of the information infrastructure between a large city and a local city has become serious. To solve this problem, many projects concerning the regional network are promoted in many cities. The case of Okayama Pref. introduced with this paper is one of such project in Japan. Okayama Pref. is a middle size city of about 1,958,000 people located in the west region in Japan. It is a typical local city in the distance of about 200Km from Osaka. Okayama Pref. begins to work on next generation's regional information network in 1995, and the OKayama Information Highway project(OKIH) is started in 1996.
Fig.1 Okayama Prefecture
Okayama Pref. is assuming that "The inhabitants of the prefecture should be able to use Internet impartially" is a basic right. To achieve this right, a large-scale regional optical fiber infrastructure was constructed. Okayama Pref. constructed optical fibers which were called "Public Fiber" in using the utility pole by the prefectural highway etc. At first, we connected between the promotion bureau in the Kurashiki City and the prefecture public office building by these public fibers. The optical fiber of Ministry of Construction and the optical fiber which the prefecture constructed are used for this connection. It is the first case where the optical fiber for the road watch of Ministry of Construction is used in the IP network. And, it is also the first case where the prefecture constructed the optical fiber for the regional Internet.
Fig.2 The first case with "Public Fiber"
The Teleport NOC was set up at the center of the southern part of Okayama Pref., and the public fiber is constructed toward promotion bureaus from here. All the promotion bureaux are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2000 the public fiber connection construction. And, many informationization experiments have been promoted by using this infrastructure since 1996.
In this paper, the outline of the Okayama information highway project which Okayama Pref. promotes is introduced as a case with regional Internet in Japan. Especially, the experiment concerning regional IX in which a lot of ISP and CATV participate and the school of Interner connection project are explained.
The activity of regional Internet has been activated by the spread of Internet. Also in Japan, the local government which works on regional Internet is increasing rapidly. The activity to the Internet of the local government can be classified by their purposes.
- The local government sends the resident administrative information
- Informationization of administrative clerical work of local government
- The local government offers a public network to the enterprises and residents in their administrative districts
- Regional IX constructed so that local government may offer the interconnection between ISPs and network organizations
To achieve these all, Okayama Pref. promoted the Okayama information highway project.
Okayama information highway
The Okayama information highway(OKIH) is a regional Internet project which Okayama Pref. promotes. The OKIH has aimed to offer an equal Internet connectivity to the prefecture resident unrelated to the residence region. Okayama Pref. announces administrative information to the prefecture resident via the OKIH. OKIH can be used also for an information business, a research, an education, and various experiments, etc.
A basic plan was announced as for the OKIH in 1996 by the information infrastructure construction project. The experiment promotion council for various experiments was organized, and 40 WG was approved. We belonged to internetworking WG, and we designed and implemented the IP network infrastructure for the OKIH.
The specification of the OKIH is shown below.
- Administrative information traffic and general traffic can be completely separated.
- The traffic between prefectures passes only a regional route in the prefecture region.
- Separation of regional routing information and external routing information
- The OKIH user can select up-link ISP.
- Minimization of operation and construction cost
It is necessary to solve some technical problems to achieve these specifications. The separation of traffic physically divided the route and used VPN. To solve the routing problem, regional IX was needed. In consideration of these problems, this project was accomplished.
The Okayama information highway separates into some construction phases.
Phase 1 (1997/Q2-1998/Q1)
In phase 1, the prefecture public office building and eight promotion bureaux were connected by the 1.5Mbps lease line. It was connected by the optical fiber between the Kurashiki promotion bureau and the prefecture public office building by 155Mbps ATM. This is the first case where the optical fiber for road watch along the national road(Route 2) of Ministry of Construction is used in the IP network. The Okayama prefecture is construction of the optical fiber from the Route 2 to the Kurashiki promotion bureau and the prefecture public office building. This is also the first case in Japan which the Prefecture government constructed to use the optical fiber in the regional Internet. Okayama Pref. constructed optical fibers by using some utility poles in the prefectural highway etc. This optical fiber which the prefecture constructed is called "Public Fiber".
Fig.3 OKIH phase 1 Network Topology
The 1.5Mbps lease line was separated with CSU which was able to multiplex the traffic of a governmental purpose and a nongovernmental purpose at the link level. To admit nongovernmental(business) use, the regional IX construction with ISP was started.
Phase 2 (1998/Q2-2000/Q1)
In phase 2, main NOC is moved from the prefecture public office building to Teleport Okayama NOC which is the housing place of the carrier quality by request from ISPs. The public fiber loop network could be constructed between this new NOC, prefecture public office building, and Kurashiki promotion bureau. A public fiber can make the transmission rate free by the network equipment used at both ends. This loop network was connected with ATM of 622Mbps which accelerated current 155Mbps. The prefecture budget for the public fiber construction of other eight promotion bureaux was approved. All promotion bureaus to be connected are scheduled by the public fiber in 2000/Q1.
Fig.4 OKIH phase 2 backbone network
Even this phase, 5 nationwide ISPs (such as IIJ and TokyoInternet, etc.), 4 regional ISPs (such as HareNet and TikiTiki, etc.), and 7 CATV (such as KCT,OniVision, etc.) connect with OKIX(OKayama Internet eXchange) which is regional IX. Especially, 3 CATV are connected by its own fiber. They exchange limited routing information in the Okayama prefecture region customer each other.
All of the 79 prefectural schools (high school and a school for physically handicapped, etc.) are connected with 128Kbps lease line and CATV Internet.
Phase 3 (1999/Q2-2004/Q1)
In phase 3, the expansion as a part of the experiment on the JGN project of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications is planned. Then, the WDM based backbone network will be constructed within OKIH. Several promotion bureaux in the prefecture southern part to be connected are scheduled with the WDM ring. It will be multiplexed that 16 or 32 waves of 2.4Gbps SONET/SDH links. Therefore, about 30 cities, towns, and villages public office and 5 universities in the prefecture region to be connected are scheduled with OKIH by the public fiber. The transmission rate between these organizations is 155Mbps-622Mbps which uses ATM etc.
Feature of Okayama information highway
In this section, the feature of the Okayama information highway is introduced.
Achievement of universal service
- Achievement of groupware for prefecture resident and Prefectural government
- Administrative information is opened to the public by using the Internet
- Establishment of barrier free communications
- Welfare Internet which senior citizen and physically handicapped person can also easily use
OKIH aims at the service which all inhabitants of the prefectures can evenly use. In the Prefectural government, all sections have opened administrative information to the public by the World Wide Web home page. The inhabitants of the prefecture can browse these administrative information with the information kiosk terminal set up in the prefecture public office building and related facilities such as the wellfare center, etc.
Achievement of universal infrastructure
- Making up of information gap in Internet generation
- Service of proper internationally price and quality
- Construction of network environment by which everyone obtains global information
All the communication infrastructures in Japan have been constructed with the big communication carrier such as NTT for a long time. Such a monopoly system is in the background of the communication cost of high priced compared with Europe and America. This high priced communication cost is one of the obstructions of the Internet spread in a local city. To promote making to regional information, Okayama Pref. offers the low-cost communication infrastructure for the regional Internet.
Establishment of regional Internet construction model
- Establishment of the construction model for regional information backbone network
- Trial of construction model for regional Internet exchange
In the Okayama information highway project, there are a lot of experimental elements. The construction of regional IX is one of these experiments. There are a lot of regional IX construction projects such as Yamanashi Pref. and the Toukai district in Japan. However, most regional IX which only few ISP connects does not function effectively. Then, we experimented on OKIX to establish the regional IX model which functioned effectively.
In this section, the construction of regional IX is introduced as a case where the Okayama information highway is used.
Importance of routing control in regional network
The technology that aggregate routing information for each AS came to be used. As a result, an IX was constructed as a place for exchanges of routing information between AS. In order to accomplish stable and cost-effective traffic exchange among ISPs in the Internet, this IX model to solve the flooded route problem is widely accepted. Currently, a number of major IX's such as LINX, NAP, and NSPIXP are in their operation. On the other hand, all communications during different AS (different ISP) will take a tedious route via IX. This tedious route generates the delay via IX, and will increase unnecessary traffic.
The communication between users who have contracted to different ISP takes a tedious route via IX. (Refer to figure Fig.5). This situation may happen even in case of the communication with neighbors' hosts. A tedious route via IX has an significant problem in the communication of city without IX(non-IX city). To solve this tedious route problem, the construction of the regional IX starts in some cities.
Fig.5 Concept of OKIX
In the regional IX, a full route is not necessary well because of the limited regional route(inter-region routing). The idea underlying it is that the regional traffic should be exchanged within the region. For instance, if ISP's connect each together at the regional IX, the communication in the region can be achieved only in the region (Refer to figure Fig.5). Moreover, even if a high-speed regional network is constructed, the communication is low-speed via IX due to the tedius route problem. Then, the Okayama information highway project constructed the Okayama Internet exchange(OKIX) which was regional IX.
Regional IX at which OKIX aims
In the participation of ISP to regional IX, the establishment of the business model is very important.
- The traffic in the prefecture region communicate only by way of OKIH
- Only inter-region routing information are exchanged between ISPs by OSPF
- The user who uses OKIH contracts to ISP
Peering in BGP-4 between ISPs is not compelled, and only the inter-region routing is exchanged by OSPF. There are up-link needs of CATV, prefectural high schools, public organizations in OKIH. Then, a technological problem of regional IX in OKIX was discussed with ISPs. It is necessary that the shaping technology of bandwidth to the contract via OKIX. The inter-region routing technology which relays only the connection from the contract user to the Internet is also needed.
Achievement methods of regional IX
In the current IX, routing information is exchanged by BGP-4 between AS. If routing information is exchanged at two or more IX'es, it is necessary to calculate the best route. The cost of this calculate increases greatly in proportion to the number of IX which exchanges the route. It is absolutely impossible to adopt the technique of the current IX for all planned regional IX.
Five methods of inter-Region routing technology in the regional IX are proposed.
- Method 1:The regional IX acquires AS.
The regional IX acquires AS, and the route is exchanged as private peer in usual ISP. The advantage of this method is that the cost of the route calculation does not increase. On the other hand, the number of the AS number is insufficient.
- Method 2:Private AS is used.
This method achieves almost the same result as method 1 and does not consume AS numbers. However, it does not function as the transit AS because it is a private AS. Moreover, the problem of the return route cannot be solved by this method.
- Method 3:A static route is set between ISP.
In this method, a regional route is set as a static route. It is necessary to set a static route whenever there are any changes in routing information. The network manager should set a static route for other ISP customers in its own gateways. It is necessary to set a single static route with all ISP connected with the regional IX. It is not realistic in an actual operation of the regional IX intended for commercial ISP.
- Method 4: IP tunnelling.
In this method, a regional route is usually exchanged by IGP such as OSPF and RIP. Network operated by ISP's is connected directly by using the IP tunnel technology for regional user's network. Packets for outside of the region use this IP tunneling route. This method can be achieved by a current IP technology. When the IP tunnel increases, a logical network structure in the regional IX becomes complex. The routing control is more difficult in complex logical networks.
- Method 5:Source IP address routing
In this method, a regional route is also usually exchanged by IGP such as OSPF and RIP. It is necessary to achieve the transmission of the packet for outside of the region via specific ISP which the user has contracted. IP address is allocated from ISP which the user contracted. Then, if source IP address is used for deciding how packets are forwarded, it is possible to transmit to specific ISP which the user has contracted. This method has several advantages in which a current end-user system can be used without any modifications.
In OKIX, all these techniques were tested, and the IP tunnelling and the source IP address routing were adopted. The ISP connected with OKIX can select either of the IP tunnelling or the source IP address routing technology. Moreover, IGP such as OSPF and RIP can be used for these technologies as a technique of the inter-region routing. The address of contracted ISP is given to the OKIH user, and they are accessing Internet by these technologies which ISP adopted. In a word, OKIX is regional IX of layer 3 which uses the IP tunnelling and the source IP address routing. As a result, the user can connect anywhere of OKIH, and can select ISP which contracts up-link to the Internet.
School of Internet
In this section, the school of Internet is introduced as the second case project where the OKIH is used.
Connection line for high schools
There are 79 schools such as the high schools and the school for physically handicapped as an education organization over which Okayama Pref. has jurisdiction. All these of the 79 schools connected each other via the OKIH by 128Kbps lease line. There are some high schools which connect each other with over 10Mbps by using the CATV Internet, too. The feature of the high school connection in the Okayama information highway is shown below.
- Contents filter PROXY for students
- Educational Intranet for teachers which uses IPsec base VPN
- Up-link ISP selection by high school side
High school students can access the Internet via the PROXY server. In the PROXY server, SmartFilter is used as contents filter to limit not suitable access to the adult and violence, etc..
Moreover, not only students but also teachers use educational intranet via OKIH. We connect between each schools and Office of Education in the prefecture with VPN by IPsec. We are constructing an independent network for the teacher where the student is inaccessible with this VPN. It is possible to communicate safely about important information like student information etc.
In the high school Internet connection, technical support is a major problem. The technical support system of high school caused by contracted ISP has been established in the OKIH. Each high school can select ISP which contracts up-link to the Internet. And, each ISP supports the contracted high school. As a result, an excellent support has been received from the competition between ISPs. To achieve ISP selection for up-link, the source IP address routing is used. Actually, seven ISP such as IIJ, TokyoInternet, Infoweb, etc. serves the high schools up-link with the source IP address routing.
About 60,000 students' mail addresses are registered as of now. By using the Internet usually, we are expecting a new conception to be produced from students. Then, the high school Internet can be used by not only the school hours but also club activities, etc.
The mail server, WWW Server, and the PROXY server are managed as an operator on the OKIH side. The reason for this is that the managing load on the high school side is reduced. Of course, if the high school side wants original servers, they can operate them. Some high schools begin already to operate their original servers.
Problems and consideration of OKIH
In this section, the problem and the direction of the future in the Okayama information highway are considered.
Promotion of application development
There is not so much application by which the environment connected in a high-speed network is assumed in the prefecture region. As for the Okayama information highway project, it was planned to experiment on about 40 in the use of a regional high-speed Internet. However, most of these experiment plans were the current model applications such as videoconferencing and regional circular boards. It is necessary to develop the new concept application in consideration of the high-speed network infrastructure which the inhabitants of the prefecture can use together.
Shortage of network engineer
"Shortage of network engineer" is a common problem to the local government which promotes regional Internet in Japan. Excellent engineers have generally gathered to a large city such as Tokyo and Osaka. Even the Okayama information highway project, many excellent engineers have come to help from Tokyo and Osaka. Then, they are endeavoring for the novice engineer in local to train through this project. However, network engineer shortage in the provinces is considerably serious. As for Okayama Pref., it is not an exception. A lot of excellent network engineers are necessary to use the constructed public fiber infrastructure effectively. It is a current state that there is only waiting for the high school student to grow up as a network engineer. A drastic solution is needed about effective training of the network technology.
Attracting of enterprise related to informationization
ISP's and CATV companies, etc. have used this infrastructure by an experimental purpose. However, the OKIH is planned as an information infrastructure which can be used by a business purpose. This is scheduled to be offered as a common information infrastructure which the inhabitants of the prefecture can use after the experiment period. And, It is necessary to promote commercial use of the enterprise more than before. To promote commercial use, a user increase and the enhancement of contents are needed. The strategy is a pressing need as the prefecture administration for that.
Moreover, it is another problem that an industrial business is pressed by the policy of the prefecture administration. In a sense, the Okayama information highway project is sensitive in this problem. We think that it is significant as a public investment is important. In addition, this investment contributes to the revolution of an industrial structure.
The Okayama information highway project which Okayama Pref. promoted just started the information infrastructure construction for the Internet. This project is succeeding because of the cooperation of an industrial field, a science field, and an administrative organization, etc. A physical loop of the fiber trunk line to correspond to the trouble and attracting of the prefecture user will be promoted in the future. The activity in the future is expected as the first case where the Prefectural government constructed the large-scale optical fiber information infrastructure which residents can share in Japan.
Moreover, it is decided to connect the OKIH with JGN by the financial support of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. Okayama Pref. plans to promote further informationization which continued in the future and to improve the OKIH. We continue this project being aim at the achievement of "The inhabitants of the prefecture can impartially use Internet" in the future.
Authors would like to thanks for all of you who cooperated in the Okayama information highway project. The special appreciation of authors to the member of OKIH internetworking WG to cooperate in construction by the volunteer.
- Okayama prefecture Government, Okayama prefecture Government Official Page. http://www.pref.okayama.jp/
- Pacific Bell, NAP home page, http://www.pacbell.com/products/business/fastrak/networking/nap/index.html
- WIDE project, WIDE/NSPIXP Home page, http://xroads.sfc.wide.ad.jp/NSPIXP/
- Ikuo Nakagawa, Regional IXes in Japan, http://noc.intec.co.jp/~ikuo/ix/index.html
- THE NORTHWEST INTERNET EXCHANGE , NIX Home Page, http://www.structured.net/nix/
- Okayama Information Highway Consocium, OKIX Home Page, http://www.okix.or.jp/
Authors' InformationKazumasa Kobayashiis a Ph.D. candidate of the Graduate School of Information Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology. He has been also a lecturer in the Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts since 1995. His research topics include technologies for mobile computing, high speed network such as ATM, regional internet, and multimedia network infrastructure. He has been in charge of Okayama Information Highway Project since 1996.
Kunio Shinmenis the Director of Information Policy Division, Department of Planning and Regional Development Okayama prefecture Government. He has been in charge of Okayama Information Highway Project in order to establish an information-oriented region since 1996.
Suguru Yamaguchihas been an associate professor in the Graduate School of Information Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology since 1993. He received his Ph.D. in engineering from Osaka University in 1991. He has been also a member of the WIDE Project since its creation in 1988, where he has been conducting research on network security systems for a wide area distributed computing environment. His research interests include technologies for information sharing, multimedia communication, network security, and network management for the Internet.
Jun Muraihas been a professor, Faculty of Environmental Information, Keio University. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science, Keio University, 1987. The President of Japan Network Information Center (JPNIC). Board of Trustee of Internet Society (ISOC). Adjunct Professor at Institute of Advanced Studies, United Nations University. He also teaches at Tokyo University of Art and Music. Specialized in computer science, computer network and computer communication. His recent publications include "Internet II", Iwanami Publication July 1998, "Evolution and Revolution of the Internet in Japan", Proc. of CyberJapan: Technology, Policy Society Symposium, The Library of Congress, May 1996