NTT, Partners Achieve IX Interconnection Using 400 Gigabit Ethernet


INTERNET MULTIFEED CO. (Multifeed), the provider of JPNAP, one of Asia’s largest internet exchanges (IX1), Internet Initiative Japan Inc. (IIJ), a major Internet service provider (ISP) in Japan, and NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com), the ICT solutions and international communications business within the NTT group, have conducted the first successful IX interconnection in Asia2 using 400-gigabit Ethernet, which has four times the traffic bandwidth of commonly used 100-gigabit Ethernet.

The demonstration has confirmed that 400-gigabit Ethernet is commercially viable in terms of interoperability and performance for IX.

The demonstration’s success is expected to accelerate the introduction of 400-gigabit services by not only IX providers but also major ISPs and content-service providers to increase bandwidth and aggregate IX connection ports for improved operability and cost efficiency. In addition, IXs offering increased bandwidth would enable Internet users to benefit from more diverse Internet environments.

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In the demonstration, Multifeed, IIJ and NTT Com interconnected 400-gigabit routers and switches made by Arista Networks, Inc, Cisco Systems, LLC, and Juniper Networks. to confirm interoperability at the physical and network levels, including optical switches, routing control, and 400-gigabit traffic flow using 400-gigabit interfaces (400G-FR4 and 400G-LR4) in the IX.

Multifeed provided the test environment and verified the interoperability of the 400-gigabit interface. IIJ and NTT Com verified the interoperability of the 400-gigabit interface from the standpoint of IX service users.

Multifeed will continue to study the introduction of a 400-gigabit service for JPNAP, targeting a commercial launch within the fiscal year ending next March, aiming to further enhance and expand its IX services with advanced technologies and services. IIJ and NTT Com also aim to introduce the technology to cope with increasing traffic and thereby enhance the mobile Internet as a key social infrastructure.

Internet traffic in Japan is steadily growing, including due to increasing digitization and, more recently, more time being spent at home during the pandemic,3 placing greater burdens on IXs connecting ISPs.4

JPNAP has been providing a 100-gigabit interface since July 2012 and, IIJ and NTT Com both use 100-gigabit interfaces for Internet connections. With the continuing rise in Internet traffic, however, multiple 100-gigabit interfaces have been increasingly bundled out of necessity, pointing to the need for a wider bandwidth interface. Standardized 400-gigabit Ethernet was introduced in 2017 and products compatible with 400-gigabit interfaces have been available from equipment manufacturers since 2019. Interoperability of these products is crucial for the launch of 400-gigabit IXs capable of connecting diverse operators, which is why practical steps are now being taken to realize actual implementation.