Japan-US Business Report LogoJapan-U.S. Business Report

No. 344, May 1998

Issue Index

American Companies in Japan


TELECOMMUNICATIONS

In a coup for CISCO SYSTEMS, INC., the world leader in networking equipment has recruited JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. as a member of the Cisco Powered Network. That affiliation means that the domestic long- distance carrier will provide ATM (asynchronous transfer mode), frame relay and Internet access services to business customers based mainly on Cisco equipment and software. The two will focus on using intelligent Internet Protocol and broadband networking technology to deliver enhanced connectivity and network-based applications. Japan Telecom, which operates a nationwide fiber-optic backbone network, is the first Cisco Powered Network member in Japan.

A cable TV company that plans to commercially launch a data-over-cable service in December will use the ComUNITY Access System from COM21, INC. for this business. The Milpitas, California company's cable modem system enables cable operators to provide high-speed, cost-effective Internet access to telecommuters, SOHO (small office/home office) customers and residential users. FUJIKURA LTD., a Com21 systems integrator, received the order from HEKKAI KATCH NETWORK, INC., which has close to 59,000 subscribers in Aichi prefecture. KOTO CABLE TELEVISION CO., LTD. and SUZUKA CABLE CO., LTD. are among the other CATV operators that are using Com21 equipment to provide data-over- cable services.

Market newcomer VERILINK CORP. has enlisted INS ENGINEERING CORP. as the exclusive distributor of its access products, which link corporate networks to the Internet and other wide area network services. The San Jose, California supplier's Access System 2000 will be the first product introduced. It provides data transmission in ATM, frame relay and Internet networks from a single platform. INS Engineering, which offers network systems integration and sales and support for networking hardware and software, was formed in 1985 by NIPPON TELEGRAPH AND TELEPHONE CORP., MITSUI & CO., LTD. and NEC CORP. FUJITSU, LTD. and HITACHI, LTD. subsequently invested in the company. Its clients include NTT and other big corporate accounts.

A new carrier-class universal access server is available from CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary. The AS5800 is designed specifically to meet the requirements of common carriers, inter-exchange carriers, large Internet service providers and other companies operating complex-dial points of presence. Priced from $35,700, the remote access system provides the high availability and the carrier-class management that big service providers require. It also allows them to offer services beyond Internet dial, including virtual private networks, multiple service levels, detailed billing and network gaming. In addition, the AS5800 is able to provide voice-over-IP and fax-over-IP.

The second generation of ADVANCED COMPUTER COMMUNICATIONS INC.'s Tigris carrier-class access server will be on the market in June through the local operation of NEWBRIDGE NETWORKS LTD. Like the initial offering, the new platform allows carriers and ISPs to add services by offering private dial-in access for corporate intranets and other remote access applications. However, at $13,600, the new Tigris model costs far less than its predecessor.

Building on an intellectual property licensing agreement announced last year (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 334, July 1997, p. 24), PACKET ENGINES INC. gave SUMITOMO ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES, LTD. the right to manufacture on an OEM basis its FDR Gigabit Ethernet hub and G-NIC Gigabit Ethernet network interface cards. These products are being marketed as the GigaStream Hub 12000 and the GigaStream Network Interface Card. The OEM relationship could be expanded to include other products, the Spokane, Washington company says. Under the initial arrangement, SEI is using Packet Engines' PE-GMAC Gigabit Ethernet media access controller and PE-MAC110 dual-speed 10/1000-megabit-per- second media access controller in its own development effort.

New products from BAY NETWORKS, INC.'s subsidiary include the BayStack 250 Series Autosense Hubs, which enable seamless migration from 10- Mbps to 100-Mbps connections via 10/100 autosensing on all ports. The three products, including a pair with 12 ports and one with 24 ports, are priced from $1,700 to $2,700. The Santa Clara, California company's affiliate also is marketing the BayStack Advanced Remote Node access router. The ARN design integrates the functions of multiple transmission devices into the chassis, thereby reducing the complexity of remote network management. Moreover, its four LAN interfaces offer flexible connectivity, while its two WAN adapter module slots provide options for integrating devices for primary and backup WAN connectivity. The pair of BayStack ARN models costs either $3,500 or $4,000.

CABLETRON SYSTEMS INC.'s marketing unit has introduced a line of switch routers, a relatively new technology that combines wire-speed performance with full-function routing features. According to the Rochester, New Hampshire company, that merger of capabilities makes it possible to simplify network designs without sacrificing performance, manageability or security. Cabletron acquired the products comprising the SmartSwitch Router family when it bought switch router pioneer YAGO SYSTEMS, INC.

For $26,400, the cost of CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.'s UBR7246 Universal Broadband Router, CATV operators can offer their subscribers new, differentiated services, including high-speed Internet access, streaming video, secure data services and VPNs. The product combines in one platform the functionality of Cisco's high-end 7200 router and a head-end cable data modem, thereby giving cable providers a cost-effective, scalable and feature-rich interface between their subscribers' cable modems and the backbone data network.

BAY NETWORKS, INC. expects to be among the first companies to market in Japan residential cable modems based on the Data-over-Cable Service Interface Specification. Managed by backers of the Multimedia Cable Network System, the standards-based DOCSIS is designed to ensure the wide-scale availability of low-cost, interoperable cable modems for delivering high-speed data services to homes and businesses. CISCO SYSTEMS, INC. and COM21, INC. are two of the MCNS partners. Cisco's UBR7246 is DOCSIS-compliant. The Bay Networks product will be on the market in September.

Network telephony has arrived in Japan. Lake Bluff, Illinois-based SPHERE COMMUNICATIONS INC., which is helping to pioneer this field, has named INNO MICRO CORP. and RIKEI CORP. as the exclusive distributors of Sphericall, a software-based "virtual" PBX (private branch exchange) with built-in computer-telephony features. Inno Micro localized the Windows NT application. A basic Sphericall configuration costs about $37,900. Between them, the two distributors hope to sell 100 units in the first year, targeting mainly small and midsized businesses looking for affordable, flexible phone systems.

As a result of a licensing agreement with TDK CORP., owners of MOTOROLA INC.'s data-enabled digital cellular telephones in Europe and in the United States will be able to use the handsets as data communications devices. TDK will develop PC Card products that are fully compatible with Motorola's proprietary GSM (general system for mobile communications) and PCS (personal communications services) handset data interface, which is found in the latest StarTAC, SlimLite and MicroTac phones. With the PC Card, users of laptops or PDAs can link the devices to a cellular phone to send and receive e-mail and faxes, browse the Web or access corporate networks.

State-of-the-art electronic retailing is coming to Japan, thanks to an agreement between QVC, INC. and MARUBENI CORP. The two jointly acquired a majority interest in MALL OF TV CORP., which operates a home shopping channel on PERFECTV CORP.'s digital satellite broadcasting service. West Chester, Pennsylvania-headquartered QVC, the world's leading cable retailer, and the trader will launch a 24-hour shopping channel for both satellite and cable TV subscribers, drawing on QVC's expertise. The COMCAST CORP. affiliate owns 19 percent of Mall of TV, which now reaches 3.6 million homes and has annual revenues of $7.6 million. Marubeni has a 45.1 percent stake in the company.

The competition has made its expertise available to a rival home shopping channel. HOME SHOPPING NETWORK, INC. of St. Petersburg, Florida provided help on inventory management, customer discounts and program scheduling to an affiliate of JUPITER PROGRAMMING CO., LTD. That company is equally owned by TELE-COMMUNICATIONS, INC. and SUMITOMO CORP. With this help, the Jupiter shopping channel hopes to triple sales in 1998 to $45.5 million.

An exchange rate of ¥132=$1.00 was used in this report.
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