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Xcast6 Interoperability Successfully Tested in Multicast Linking Korea and Japan
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Korea Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute
Soongsil University
WIDE Project
Fujitsu Laboratories, Ltd.

Xcast6 Interoperability Successfully Tested in
Multicast Linking Korea and Japan

August 1, 2002-Korea's Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), along with Seoul-based Soongsil University, Japan's WIDE Project(*1), and Fujitsu Laboratories, Ltd., have jointly performed a successful interoperability test of Xcast6 (Explicit Multicast on IPv6). The Xcast6 test was performed on July 15 in a multicast linking Korea and Japan.

Xcast6 is a new multicast protocol for IPv6(*2), the next-generation network communications protocol. Expected to become one of IPv6's "killer applications," Xcast6 is ideal for multi-point video conferencing, multiparty networked games, and other types of private data streaming. It was jointly submitted in 2000 to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) (*3) as a proposed standard (Internet-Draft: "Explicit Multicast (Xcast) Basic Specifications" (*4)) by IBM, Alcatel, and Fujitsu Laboratories. The Xcast6 protocol makes it easy for users to communicate with their friends and colleagues via multicast sessions.

Xcast Technology
For multicast sessions involving a relatively small group of destinations that are widely scattered over the Internet, traditional multicast schemes are inefficient because they require every router on the data transmission path to maintain transmission pathway information. Furthermore, since transmission pathways are extremely complex and can change over time, constantly maintaining the correct pathways places a significant burden on the network.

Xcast is next-generation multicast technology that was developed to address the shortcomings of traditional multicast schemes. Like an e-mail message with multiple e-mail addresses inserted in the "cc" field, with Xcast a list of intended destinations is inserted in a special field in the IP header by the sender, and the packet is then sent to a router. Each router along the way then parses the list of destinations in the header, and all destinations that are on the same pathway will be sent the same packet. For destinations on the list that are on a different pathway, the packet is replicated and sent on to a different router.

Overview of the Interoperability Test
  1. Objectives
    A number of advanced research groups in Korea and Japan wanted to confirm the applicability of the Xcast6 scheme by individually deploying Xcast6 over a variety of different platforms and video conferencing applications connected through an IPv6 network. By demonstrating successful interoperability, they hope to promote the use of the Xcast6 protocol.

    The following Xcast6 protocol stacks and handling libraries were used in the test:
    - XCAST6-kit for Linux (by ETRI and Soongsil University)
    - XCAST6-kit for NetBSD (by Fujitsu Laboratories and WIDE Project)

    The following video/audio software applications were used in the test:
    - Vic: Video Conference tool
    - RAT: Robust Audio tool

  2. Organizations and Groups Participating in the Test
    The interoperability test was a practical demonstration of virtual network video conferencing among more than ten organizations and individuals in Japan and Korea. Participating locations were connected via an IPv6 network.

    A list of the organizations and groups linked during the test is as follows:
    - Soongsil University
    - Fujitsu Laboratories, Ltd.
    - Fujitsu Limited
    - Nara Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
    - Nippon Telephone and Telegraph East Corporation
    - Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
    - Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc.
    - Information Services International-Dentsu, Ltd.
    - NoBUG: Northern Land BSD Users Group (Hokkai-do)
    - NBUG: Nagoya *BSD Users' Group

  3. Outline of Test Procedure
    The test bed consisted of multiple academic networks and commercial services connected through unicast channel control in an environment that was designed to be very similar to a typical IPv6 network. No special arrangements were madder specifically for multicasting.

    To demonstrate the openness and multi-platform interoperability of IPv6 and Xcast6, two different operating system platforms (Linux and NetBSD) and two different hardware architectures (Intel x86 and PowerPC) were combined for the test. In addition, a variety of different types of networks were linked together, including non-dedicated access lines, such as ADSL, CATV, and FTTH, as well as Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) networks, such as Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN) and high-speed ATM networks.

    The following transmission networks were linked during the test:
    - 6Bone-KR/KOREN (IPv6 backbone in Korea)
    - WIDE 6Bone
    - NSPIXP-6 (IPv6 exchange point in Japan)
    - Japan Gigabit Network (JB/JGN)
    - IPv6 joint testing network in
    Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corporation
    - Chita-Medias Corporation (CATV)
    Results of the interoperability test will be presented to the Xcast development community and IETF as an Internet Draft. All Xcast implementations are being made available by their developers as open source, and can therefore be downloaded and used by anyone.

*1. WIDE Project
A research project initiated by Keio University Professor Jun Murai in 1988 to establish a new computing environment, including operating systems and communications technology platforms.

*2. IPv6 (Internet Protocol, version 6)
A new communications protocol being promoted as a standard by the IETF. Thanks to such features as dramatically enlarged address space (expanded to 128 bits from Ipv4's current 32 bits), simplified packet header structure, and added security features, it has created a new communications platform.

*3. Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
The IETF is an open, international organization that promotes standardized Internet protocols. Proposals, or "Internet Drafts," are discussed through mailing lists and conferences, and anyone can take part in the work of setting Internet standards.

*4. Internet-Draft: "Explicit Multicast (Xcast) Basic Specification"
[draft-oom-xcast-basic-spec-03.txt], June 2002
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