Press Release

November 16, 1999



NTT Communications to Begin Trial with
Next-Generation Internet
-NTT Com to Obtain Address Management Custodianship of IPv6 and Begin Trial of Global IPv6 Network Operation-


NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com) announced today that it will be the first domestic commercial provider to obtain address management custodianship*1 of the next-generation Internet protocol "IPv6" and that it will begin trials of a global IPv6 network operation using official IPv6 addresses*2 from December.

Under the next generation Internet, using features of IPv6 such as security and real-time communication functions, a global scale platform for e-commerce and image distribution is expected to be established. Because IPv6 has an enormous number of addresses in store, it will be possible to assign addresses not only to personal computers but to appliances that we use everyday, such as cellular telephones, PDAs, automotive components and vending machines. A new form of communication is expected to emerge from this.

NTT Com will conduct extensive trials to assure reliable service when the next-generation Internet is fully deployed. In conjunction, NTT Com along with its trial partners will continue to examine new ways to fully utilize the new Internet. Not only will trial partners be able to experience the new Internet earlier, but they will also be able to begin to prepare new business geared for the new Internet age.

IPv6 Overview

In the future Internet, not only will personal computers have individual IP addresses, but a variety of daily items such as cellular telephones, mobile terminals, PDAs, games, car navigation systems, and automatic vending machines will have one as well. This will allow them to be mutually linked to a network which can access not only the World Wide Web and email, but also online music, interactive broadcasts, and monetary transactions will become commonplace. As for inter-company communications, with e-commerce transactions between an unspecified number of companies becoming more active, there will be a call for a world standard for a security platform and a real-time communications platform (Figure 1).

With the rapid spread of the Internet and the increasing number of connections to the Internet via non-PC machines, the shortage of IP addresses has become a serious problem. In addition, with new and old equipment mixed together on the current Internet, creating a world standard for a secure environment and real-time communication environment has been very difficult.

IPv6 has been proposed to solve these issues related to the Internet. In the Internet Protocol Next Generation working group (IPng) of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)*3, IPv6 is being examined. Currently, the basic specifications for IPv6 have been virtually determined, featuring the following items:

(1) Solves the Address Shortage of the Current Internet

IPv6 will expand the current 32-bit IP address of IPv4 to 128 bits. Even should there be an explosive increase in the number of machines requiring an IP address in the future, there will be no need to worry of an address shortage.

(2) Simple Applicability with Cellular Phones and Electronic Consumer Goods

IPv6 includes specifications for a Plug & Play function*4 which will automatically configure network settings.

(3) Creation of a World Standard for an Electronic Commerce Environment and Image Distribution Environment

IPv6 will come standard with a structure to enable security functions and real-time communications. A worldwide standard security platform and real-time communication environment will be created.

There are discussions of having IPv6 and IPv4 co-exist, as well as various ways of migrating from IPv4 to IPv6. Beginning in July 1999, in addition to the pseudo addresses that had been used for testing purpose, official IPv6 addresses began to be assigned. We expect new businesses to emerge that will take advantage of the new features of IPv6.

Overview of Global IPv6 Network Operation Trials

Since 1997 NTT has been conducting a series of research trials with IPv6 network management and operation technologies on a global scale. The upcoming trials will employ the technologies and conduct various operation services that will assume commercial service based on the next-generation Internet technology. NTT Com will use an official IPv6 address for the trials that was allocated from APNIC*5 as Japan's first commercial provider. It will also develop an IPv6 backbone network, which extends from Japan to Asia, the U.S., and Europe, and test IPv6 technologies on the global IPv6 network as well as the operability of the network (Figure 2). The following important trials will be conducted:

* Trials slated for December with IPv6 over IPv4 tunneling*6 via OCN
* Operating Trials with IPv6 in Europe (after preparations have been completed)

NTT Com will also consider providing the IPv6 backbone network to Internet service providers (ISPs).

(1) Overview of Trials with IPv6 over IPv4 Tunneling

A. Overview of Experiments

NTT Com will provide partners who will participate in the trials with IPv6 addresses, which are readily available, so that they will be able to access both commercial and experimental IPv6 networks being used around the world. NTT Com will discuss with the partners how to provide the IPv6 network usable in order to launch commercial service, and will review with them the content of the trials.

B. How Access is Provided

NTT Com will use the OCN (existing IPv4 network) to enable the partners to access IPv6 network. In order to facilitate access, NTT Com will use IPv6 over IPv4 tunneling technology (Figure 3).

C. Conditions for Access

NTT Com will select partners for the trials from subscribers to leased-line connection OCN services, including OCN Economy and Super OCN services. The partners are also expected to be able to aid the development of IPv6. There will be no charge for access to the IPv6 network during the trials. NTT Com will consider detailed access conditions, giving consideration to trial content and usage. The partners will have to have their own tunneling servers*7 and other equipment necessary for the trials.

D. Trial Period

The trials will begin in December 1999 and end on March 21, 2001.

(2) Operational Trials in Europe

NTT Com plans to conduct global trials with IPv6 service at sites in London, Dusseldorf, and Amsterdam. For the trials in Europe, NTT Com will invite as partners ISPs and companies which are trying to globalize their networks, and together they will study the commercial potential of IPv6 service.

Full-Fledged IPv6 Service

Through the trials of IPv6, NTT Com will consider the status of the IPv6 and prepare for the commercial launch of IPv6 services. In addition, through the buildup of operating knowhow, preparations will be made so that solid, steady service can be provided whenever the service becomes commercially available.


*1 Address management custodianship:
Custodianship that allows an entity to reassign or reallocate the address space allocated by APNIC*5 to ISPs and companies. The IPv6 address space is coordinated by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), and NTT Com has obtained approval of TLA (Top Level Aggregation) Registry from APNIC*5, a regional Internet registry (IR) with management authority delegated by the IANA. NTT Com is Japan's first commercial Internet service provider with the custodianship to assign official addresses. TLA Registries are established under the authority of the appropriate Regional IR to enable custodianship of a TLA or sub-TLA block of IPv6 addresses. TLA Registries perform roles and bear responsibilities which are analogous and consistent with those of the Regional IR within their designated network services and infrastructures.

*2 Official addresses:
In order to develop IPv6 equipment and software, a worldwide trial network called 6bone was built for testing connections and verifying the technologies. Temporary testing addresses were used with 6bone during trials, but the address structure was reviewed for commercial IPv6 use, and official addresses were assigned starting in July 1999.

*3 IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force):
The IETF is an International Community formally established by the Internet Architecture Board, which is responsible for defining overall architecture of the Internet. The IETF develops Internet protocol, and is designing IPv6 as a next-generation IP.

*4 Plug & Play capability:
The capability of automatically setting addresses and other settings when equipment is first connected. The feature not only makes things easy for Internet novices, but also simplifies settings for information appliances and other equipment that do not have complex settings procedures.

*5 APNIC (Asia-Pacific Network Information Center):
One of the three regional Internet Registries worldwide that allocates Internet protocol, addresses and other Internet resources. It manages IPv6 in the same way. APNIC has jurisdiction over the Asia-Pacific region.

*6 IPv6 over IPv4 tunneling:
Technology developed to speed up the dissemination of IPv6. IPv6 equipment is connected via tunneling (cut through) over existing IPv4 networks. The technology is being standardized to make worldwide communications possible.

*7 Tunneling server:
A server for tunneling (cutting through) IPv6 packets with IPv4 headers attached over IPv4 networks. Also has the capability of restoring from IPv4 to IPv6.


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