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Press Release
                         Contact :- 
                         Aston Bridgman
                         NEC Corporation
                         TEL     : 81-3-3798-6511
                         FAX     : 81-3-3457-7249
                         E-mail  : Aston_Bridgman@HO-PRD.ccgw.nec.co.jp

*****For immediate use April 28,1997

NEC the world's first to build a multilevel hierarchical ATM network
under multivendor environment

NEC Corporation, which recently took part in the PNNI (Private Network Network Interface) interoperability test hosted by MCNC, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, successfully built a multilevel hierarchical ATM (asynchronous transfer mod) network under a multivendor environment and demonstrated intelligent routing between peer groups for the first time in the world.

The interoperability test was carried out by VITALnet Labs at MCNC from April 10 - 18. NEC provided its "ATOMISTM7", "ATOMISTM 5S", and "ATOMISTM5" ATM switches that incorporate the PNNI software as a standard feature, for the test. PNNI is a routing/signaling protocol, standardized by the PNNI Subcommittee of the ATM Forum in April, 1996, which is indispensable for ATM networking.

The NEC ATM switches accomplished the following two functions for the first time in the world:

  • Peer group leader function for configuration of the PNNI multilevel hierarchical ATM network;
  • Functions necessary for exchanging information needed for the control of dynamic routing between peer groups.

Participation of the NEC ATM switches in the test, led to the world's first successful implementation of multivendor interconnections in a multilevel hierarchical network. The tests went from basic pairwise interoperability, up to full hierarchy. In the hierarchy test, the NEC switches participated in the peer group leadership role with the other vendors.

Introduction of PNNI offers several advantages:

  • Facilitates configuration of a large-scale hierarchical ATM network;
  • Allows dynamic routing control, which helps improve traffic quality;
  • Allows the automatic addition of ATM switches (plug and play); and,
  • Facilitates the configuration of a multivendor ATM network.

In conventional ATM networking, routing information is manually configured at each switch. In the initial introduction of ATM switches, or when ATM switches are added, the settings of all the switches need to be modified. Introduction of the PNNI standard based software, however, will allow administration of service by dynamic routing control, making it possible to reduce administrative costs and operate the network more flexibly. In the event of a fault on the network, PNNI automatically modifies the route settings to avert the fault. When traffic congestion occurs, PNNI properly diverts traffic to an alternative route, thereby making it possible to effectively utilize all of the network's resources.

In September 1996, NEC was the first in the world to commercialize and market PNNI software under the name 'ATOMWARE', that supports multilevel hierarchical ATM networks. In November of the same year, NEC was also the world's first to incorporate PNNI as a standard feature in its multimedia ATM networking products, the ATOMIS series of ATM switches.

MCNC is a private, non-profit corporation, located in North Carolina, U.S. that offers cost-effective access to advanced electronic and information technologies and services for business, for state and federal government agencies and for North Carolina's education communities. The recent PNNI interoperability test was hosted by MCNC's VITALNet Labs.

NEC will actively participate in such interoperability tests in the future to prove and verify interoperability in the initial stage of introduction of the latest protocols, such as PNNI, to enable customers to smoothly introduce new technologies into their network.

Kyoto University, which has one of the world's largest class ATM networks as a private communications network, has already introduced PNNI and implemented a multilevel hierarchical ATM network to interconnect all campus buildings and campuses located in different areas.

Massive efforts are under way for providing the new information communications infrastructure necessary for the implementation of high-speed data communications, inter-LAN communications, and multimedia applications. While this happens, universities, research institutes, and businesses are introducing ATM to their networks. These opportunities are allowing NEC to take position as one of the top ATM switching system suppliers in the world. Applications it is supplying include large-scale campus networks, such as Kyoto University's network, and JAL's (Japan Air Lines) ATM network, which is the world's largest class LAN emulation, with as many as 2,500 ATM terminals.

NEC is determined to reflect the results of the recent interoperability test in future product planning and contribute further to the development of the most advanced ATM technologies.


ATOMISTM is a trademark of NEC Corporation.

[Copyright(C) NEC Corporation 1997. NEC and C&C are trademarks of NEC Corporation.]