We do R&D aimed at realizing innovative networks to support the society of the future.


We do R&D aimed at realizing innovative networks to support the society of the future.

Realizing a smart world.
Evolution of access networks through the integration of cutting edge technology from around the world and in the field

It has been predicted that the volume of IP traffic in Japan will multiply by about 1,000 times from 2010 to 2030. In the future, terminals and sensors will evolve even further, display and audio devices will become more diversified, and video recognition and position recognition will become more advanced, so that anyone can get the same service on any device, no matter where they are.

To make this happen, there must be telecommunication and equipment capable of supporting increased IP traffic as a whole. Furthermore, it will also be necessary to consider the operation of networks in light of the shrinking working-age population, which has become a social issue in Japan.

What is demanded of access networks that provide a wide variety of services

In order for customers to receive service naturally without any concern for their location, line, or device, it is necessary to ensure functionality high enough to provide service of sufficient quality. This could be called the base physical strength of an access network. For example, even higher speeds, higher capacity, and lower delay will be necessary to realize new services such as autonomous driving and telemedicine.

The diversification of services provided has led to diversification of the requirements for networks. Furthermore, the aspect of demand has changed drastically from the past. One important issue for the future will be evolution into an access network with high flexibility that allows for these changes and diversification.

Finally, these networks must be supported by smart operation. Today, Japan is aging at a rate never before seen in the world. This also means that the working age population is shrinking. In these circumstances, we must be the first in the world to show how to maintain and operate communication networks as social infrastructure, and create networks that will support society in the future. We believe that one of the answers to this problem is to use various predictions to take the lead in operating services and facilities in a deliberate manner, with as little human intervention as possible.

Connecting cutting-edge research to practical development in a timely manner

The mission of NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories is to “realize a diverse society by connecting cutting-edge research to practical development in a timely manner and continuously creating new services.”

Here, “cutting-edge” refers to both cutting-edge technology around the world and cutting-edge technology in the field. We are working to create new services by incorporating opinions from the field into cutting-edge research at our laboratories, and connecting this to more practical development.

In order to accomplish this mission, NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories has set four directions as our pillars for research and development.

Fig. 1. Directions of R&D
Fig. 1. Directions of R&D

First is “advancement of network functions”. We are working on further developing the basic functions of access networks that we have worked on so far, through various approaches ranging from transmission field and wireless field to network facilities field and civil engineering field. We are also focused on research to realize more advanced functions, such as reduced latency and better bandwidth control.

Next is “flexible resource allocation”. We are studying technologies to control various network resources, so that basic functions of access networks and network resources such as telecommunication facilities can be freely combined and deployed according to service requirements.

We are also aiming for “cultivation of new added value”. We have started studies of how to monitor and track network status to control network quality based on service requirements and current status, as well as applying technology cultivated in the telecommunications field to other fields. In terms of operation, there is “smart operation”. We are studying how to visualize and use the status of facilities and networks as digital data, and how to operate networks without human intervention by combining remote operation with automation technology.

Using technologies developed through research and development based on these four pillars, we will promote the realization of next-generation access networks and the digital transformation (DX) of our customers and the NTT Group, and contribute to the realization of a smart world.

Research and development of technologies that support access networks of the future

Based on our aforementioned mission and the directions of our R&D, NTT Access Network Service Systems Laboratories is currently studying innovative access networks of the future. We are also doing research and development of technologies that can realize and support those networks. For example, in the transmission field, we are studying technology for extending optical access required to deliver photonic networks to all areas, as well as technology for controlling the wavelength of light used for telecommunications protocol-free. In the wireless field, we are working on low-latency, low-jitter unlicensed wireless technology required for providing comfortable service, as well as high-frequency analog RoF technology that combines the high speed of photonic networks and the flexibility of wireless communication.

In the network facilities field, we are doing research and development of spatial multiplexing optical fiber technology for future transmission capacity expansion and environmental monitoring technology using optical fibers as sensors. In the civil engineering field, we are studying high-precision absolute coordinate automatic positioning technology, which measures and records location information of underground pipes in three dimensions. In the operations field, we are studying network resource management technology, which manages information for each layer, as well as work visualization technology, which provides information for defining work improvement policies.

It is certain that one of the most important types of infrastructure for supporting a “smart world” will arrive in the near future, alongside the use of AI and the spread of IoT, will be networks. We will continue to promote research and development, with the theme of creating access network technology that can optimally and flexibly respond to diversifying needs and contribute to the realization of a smarter world.

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