Information and telecommunications network traffic has been increasing dramatically at an annual rate of 20～40%. Given the spread of ultra-high-definition video sites on the Internet that is underway and the integration of broadcasting and communications that will follow the commercialization of 5G mobile network and 8K broadcasting in 2020, this expansion of traffic volume is expected to continue for many years in the future. Consequently, a 1000-fold increase in the current total network capacity will be required.
Estimates based on surveys conducted to ascertain the total power consumption of routers, which are the main components of information and telecommunications networks in Japan, suggest that routers consumed 700 million kWh in 2001. By 2006, this figure had risen more than 10-fold. Given that the total power production in Japan was about 1 trillion kWh in 2006, routers consumed 1% of the electric power produced. At the same time, Internet traffic also increased more than 10-fold during this period. In accordance with these trends, to achieve a 1000-fold increase in the current level of network traffic, more routers with improved performance will need to be introduced and a 1000-fold increase in power supply will be required. This is not realistic, however, because routers alone will require a power supply in excess of the total power production.
It was under these circumstances that the Vertically Integrated Center for Technologies of Optical Routing toward Ideal Energy Savings (VICTORIES) was established in 2008 within the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) as a Formation of Innovation Center for Fusion of Advanced Technologies project sponsored by the Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. It was determined that VICTORIES is promoted at higher level from FY2011 as a project of the Promotion of Science and Technology with Regional Collaboration of Industry, Academia and Government. This is a new vertically integrated research center intended to produce innovative network technologies that will help to realize a network with a capacity 1000 times greater than the current level, that requires only the current level of power consumption. While the rapidly increasing number of networks now being installed are comprised mainly of electronic routers, this center aims to produce a dynamic optical path network technology that can realize a huge throughput with a power consumption several orders of magnitude lower than that of electronic routers. To realize this technology and harness it to produce future innovations, a new, proactive research system designed to vertically integrate fundamental technologies ranging from optical devices, transmission systems, and networks into applications must be established.
Established across several different organizations of the AIST (including the Electronics and Photonics Research Institute, the Information Technology Research Institute and the Nanoelectronics Research Institute), this center has adopted a system of cooperation with major cooperative companies and universities. The center works on the development of underlying technologies in four different layers: network application interface technologies; dynamic node; optical path conditioning; and optical path processor. It has also established a network architecture study group to vertically integrate and discuss these technologies in order to produce new network technologies.
NTT Network Innovation Laboratories, Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd., Trimatiz Ltd., NEC Corporation, Fujitsu Limited, Hitachi Cable, Ltd., Fujikura Ltd., Alnair Labs Corporation and Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. are cooperative companies that participate in the activities of this center. In FY2013, Kitanihon Electric Cable Co., Ltd. participated, succeeding Hitachi Cable, Ltd. Dr. Ken-ichi Sato, a professor at Nagoya University and a world authority on optical network architectures, was also invited to participate in this project.