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 Monday, April 27, 2009

At the recent RSA Conference 2009 in San Francisco, United States, McAfee CEO DeWalt called for a global security architecture.

"Security threats are on the rise as the economy declines, and the solution will likely come from collaborative partnerships that span all IT platforms and international boundaries." "DeWalt painted a grim picture of the security landscape. Consumer confidence has gone down while unemployment and has risen, he said. And as the economy has gone into a tailspin, cybercrime has seen a sharp upward spike, with more malware detected in 2008 than in the previous five years combined. Last year, 80 percent of cybercrimes were financially motivated, he added."

"Many organizations are vastly underprotected or fail to regularly update patches and security software, which have opened up copious threat vectors for attackers, DeWalt said. In addition, the explosion of malicious threats in the last year can also be attributed to lack of user education and best security practices, as well as lack of comprehensive security." "One of the solutions, DeWalt proposed, would be to build comprehensive security architecture across numerous IT platforms that would be able to interoperate with companies' existing network infrastructure. That architecture would ultimately allow organizations to create correlating reports for every department and system, while allowing greater overall visibility into their organization's network, DeWalt said." "Cross-platform collaboration provides IT administrators a panoramic view into their network and allows communication across the threat vectors to shore up otherwise unseen security holes." "That same type of collaborative architecture will ultimately be required to extend across international borders and throughout global networks as the threats continue to become more sophisticated and the attacks more prevalent, DeWalt said. "The most depressing part of this is that we do not have a global architecture in place," he said. "We need to work together. Undoubtedly, (attacks) will continue to increase."

Read the full story on ChannelWeb.

Monday, April 27, 2009 7:25:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 21, 2008

Six new standards enabling a more secure ICT environment have been approved by ITU. Experts say that the standards represent an important achievement reflecting the needs of business in establishing risk management strategies and the protection of consumers.

Three ITU-T Recommendations cover a definition of cybersecurity, a standardized way for vendors to supply security updates and guidelines on spyware. While the other three focus on countering the modern day plague of spam by providing a toolbox of technical measures to help consumers and service providers.

Recommendations on spam are a direct response to a call from the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA), the quadrennial event that defines study areas for ITU-T. Members asked that ITU-T define technical measures to tackle this plague of the digital world following growing global concern at additional costs and loss of revenue to Internet service providers, telecoms operators and business users.

Read the full news article on the ITU-T newslog.

Monday, April 21, 2008 3:08:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On 15 November 2006, a Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on fighting spam, spyware and malicious software had been released. "The Commission Communication on a Strategy for a secure Information Society aims at improving the security of network and information at large and invites the private sector to address vulnerabilities in network and information systems that can be exploited to spread spam and malicious software. The Commission Communication on the Review of the EU Regulatory Framework proposes new rules to strengthen security and privacy in the electronic communications sector." This Communication deals with the evolution of spam, and threats such as spyware and malicious software. It also takes stock of efforts made so far to fight these threats and identifies further actions that can be taken, including strengthening Community law, law enforcement, cooperation within and between Member States, political and economic dialogue with third countries, industry initiatives, and R&D activities.

Among the proposed actions in this Communication are:

  1. Member States and competent authorities are called upon to lay down clear lines of responsibility for national agencies involved in fighting spam, ensure effective coordination between competent authorities, involve market players at national level, drawing on their expertise and available information, ensure that adequate resources are made available to enforcement efforts, and subscribe to international cooperation procedures and act on requests for cross border assistance.
  2. Companies are encouraged to ensure that the standard of information for the purchase of software applications is in accordance with data protection law, contractually prohibit illegal use of software in advertisements, monitor how advertisements reach consumers and follow up on malpractice, and e-mail service providers to apply a filtering policy which ensures compliance with the recommendation and guidance on e-mail filtering.
  3. The Commission aims to continue efforts in raising awareness and fostering cooperation between stakeholders. It also aims to continue to develop agreements with third countries including the issue of the fight against spam, spyware and malware, introduce new legislative proposals that strengthen the rules in the area of privacy and security in the communications sector, present a policy on cyber crime, involve ENISA expertise in security matters, and support research and development in its FP7 program.

With the accelerating development and spread of spam, spyware and malicious software, "the Commission is using its role as an intermediary to create greater awareness about the need for greater political commitment to fight these threats."

Read the full Communication here.
More on European Union Laws here.

Monday, April 21, 2008 8:30:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 04, 2008

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) extended its call for papers for the ITU Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change to 29 February 2008.

The first symposium will be held in Kyoto, Japan (15-16 April 2008, hosted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication) and will be followed by finalizing the initial proposals at a second symposium in London, UK (17-18 June, hosted by British Telecom). These symposia will bring together key specialists in the field, from top decision-makers to engineers, designers, planners, government officials, regulators, standards experts and others. To contribute to this work, stakeholders are invited to submit an abstract, of maximum 300 words, for a paper or presentation which is relevant to one of more of the topics above.

The topics of interest at the symposia include:

  • Climate change and the impact of ICTs
  • Use of ICTs in monitoring climate change
  • ICTs for mitigating the local effects of climate change
  • ICTs and concerted action against global warming
  • ICT standardization in the field of climate change

For more information on the ITU Symposia on ICTs and Climate Change, click here. For information on ITU's e-environment activities, click here.

Monday, February 04, 2008 1:12:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 08, 2007

Email Submission Operations: Access and Accountability Requirements by Carl Hutzler, Dave Crocker, Pete Resnick, Eric Allman, and Tony Finch has recently been released as Best Current Practice (BCP) 134. This document provides recommendations for constructive operational policies between independent operators of email submission and transmission services to mitigate the propagation of spam and worms. Its goal is to improve lines of accountability for controlling abusive uses of the Internet mail service. This document specifies an Internet Best Current Practices for the Internet Community, and requests discussion and suggestions for improvements. For more information, click here.

Thursday, November 08, 2007 9:41:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 05, 2007

After the infamous Estonian cyberattack early this year, CyTRAP Labs proposes the 7 lessons learnt from the attacks, and points out how Estonia responded accordingly to these issues. Among the lessons and issues pointed out were:

  1. Critical incidence response matters, which suggests the need to have a systematic and clearly understood procedure in place that allows a quick identification of what a critical incident response is and what kind of responses must be invoked rapidly (i.e. automatisms) to have a chance to defend against an emerging threat. Estonian responders first focused on the targets rather than sources. Filtering technology was used to throttle back on traffic aimed at target systems, which, at its peak, reached between 100 to 1,000 times the normal amount of traffic.
  2. The need for the team to make critical decisions fast. In Estonia, it was decided to protect certain systems. Once those were identified, all connections to those systems from outside the country were blocked. In addition, efforts were undertaken to lure away attackers from critical systems those that were less critical ones.
  3. Critical infrastructure can mean something different. For Estonia, where much business is being done on the net, critical infrastructure meant financial and communication services by private business were under attack and these are critical to the country’s well-functioning economy. Soon after 27 April 2007, people were unable to buy such essentials as gas and groceries using their payment cards.This is in contrast to what we usually accept as being critical infrastructure, namely electricity and transportation networks.
  4. No new attack techniques emerged. The level of traffic was not surprising and the mitigation tactics used were tried and true. But what will happen if the attackers are using fast-flux networks or DNS amplification attacks?
  5. Coordination is vital. All the above can be further complicated if the defense has to be coordinated in real time with several hundred or thousands of ISPs. As Estonia’s experience illustrates, coordination and cooperation with a centralized incident response is critical to achieve success. This was the case with CERT-EE working closely with private ISPs and banks, etc. Unfortunately, in many countries such centralized approach will be difficult to achieve unless the right things are put in place now.
  6. Trusted social networks as the key to coordinate a successful response. Even CERT-EE needed help and support from others, and social networks came in handy. How else can one convince an ISP in another country to take off a server that is part of a fast-flux network? Developing trust takes time and effort while both parties have to give. A certain degree of sharing or disclosure may result in further growth of trust needed to defend better next time.
  7. Post mortem analysis - learning to improve. Without analyzing past events learning cannot occur. The challenge with the Estonian example is that other countries must learn from the Estonian experience. This type of international collaboration must be improved beyond government CERTs. Hence, without getting the major ISPs and financial institutions involved in other countries, post mortem analysis might not help us much in preparing for the next attack of this kind or worse.

This list was made in reference to the presentation of Hillar Aarelaid, eSStonia - the case of the Estonian DDoS attacks, given at the GovCERT.NL IT Security Symposium, Response & Responsibility, in Noordwijk, Netherlands.

Read the full article here.

Monday, November 05, 2007 11:27:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 12, 2007

A MAAWG document was recently released entitled "MAAWG Best Practices for the Use of a Walled Garden." This white paper discusses the criteria for exit and entry, remediation and subscriber education regarding walled garden. The primary goal of these practices is to help end-users become aware of and remove unwanted programs or malware residing on their personal computers and to stop the network from being used for abusive purposes. To access the white paper, click here. More information on MAAWG activities here.

Friday, October 12, 2007 8:36:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 17, 2007

The Washington Post reports on Google's call for new international standards on the collection and use of consumer data. "Peter Fleischer, global privacy counsel for Google, told a U.N. audience in Strasbourg, France, that fragmentary international privacy laws burden companies and don't protect consumers. He argued for an international body such as the United Nations to create standards that individual countries could then adopt and adapt to fit their needs. 'The ultimate goal should be to create minimum standards of privacy protection that meet the expectations and demands of consumers, businesses and governments,' Fleischer said, according to a transcript of the speech provided by Google."

Investigations over Google's privacy practices are currently conducted by the European Union. There have been controversy and criticisms on Google's privacy policies and its planned $3.1 billion merger with DoubleClick, an online advertising broker that sells banner and video ads. Critics argue that the merger which would enable the company to collect information on which sites users visit, would hurt competition in online advertising, and that it would aggregate too much consumer data in the hands of one company. According to Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and a critic of the DoubleClick merger, "Google, under investigation for violating global privacy standards, is calling for international privacy standards... It's somewhat like someone being caught for speeding saying there should be a public policy to regulate speeding."

Fleischer proposes the privacy framework developed by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which he refers to as a balance between information privacy, and business needs and commercial interests. However, critics say that the APEC standards are too lenient. Rotenberg adds further that the APEC rules put the burden on consumers, who must demonstrate that a company's privacy policy has harmed them. Guidelines developed in 1980 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development which influenced the European Union's privacy laws and are usually preferred by privacy advocates, generally focus on the violation of privacy as a right rather than a demonstration of harm caused by the violation.

To read the full article, click here.
Read more about Peter Fleischer's views on privacy on his blog.

Monday, September 17, 2007 2:01:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 28, 2007

ICANN finalized on 23 August 2007 the IDN .test Evaluation Plan and is currently moving forward towards the insertion of IDN strings in the root zone. These IDN TLDs are the word "test" translated into eleven languages including: Arabic, Persian, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Russian, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Yiddish, Japanese and Tamil. The delegation of these TLDs and the evaluations, as described in the plan, is expected to commence in September 2007.

The plan has been modified based on comments received on the IDN public forum and also from consultations with ICANN Technical Advisory Committees. The last version was approved by the ICANN Board at their 14 August 2007 meeting, and the resolution directs ICANN Staff to implement the IDN .test Evaluation Plan, and report back to the ICANN Board following the conclusion of the evaluation.

Keep updated on the progress of this project by visiting http://icann.org/topics/idn.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007 8:34:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 20, 2007

ITU, in collaboration with the Secretaría de Comunicaciones, Argentina, will be hosting a workshop 16-18 October 2007 entitled Regional Workshop on Frameworks for Cybersecurity and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection. The workshop will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The description of the event, draft agenda, invitation letter, and practical information for meeting participants will be made available on the event website.

Contact cybmail@itu.int with any general queries you may have related to the workshop.

Monday, August 20, 2007 11:10:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Report entitled Personal Internet Security from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has been made available on Friday discussing primarily the issues pertaining to individual experiences of the Internet. In the report, the U.K., ISPs and others, has been said to unfairly hold Internet users responsible for online safety. According to the panel, this "laissez-faire" attitude toward personal security is what weakens user confidence. The report proposes that ISPs should be held responsible and avoid them from ignoring spam and malware notices, and that information technology vendors be held liable for not making products secure.

Network security, appliances and applications, how businesses and individuals use the Internet and policing of the online world were studied and dealt with in the Lords inquiry. It also noted that the U.K. government is at fault for not showing leadership in assembling available information and interpreting it for the public. "The Government are not themselves in a position directly to gather the necessary data, but they do have a responsibility to show leadership in pulling together the data that are available, interpreting them for the public and setting them in context, balancing risks and benefits. Instead of doing this, the Government have not even agreed definitions of key concepts such as 'e-crime'." The report recommends the establishment of a cross-departmental group in the Government, "bringing in experts from industry and academia, to develop a more co-ordinated approach to data collection in future. This should include a classification scheme for recording the incidence of all forms of e-crime. Such a scheme should cover not just Internetspecific crimes, such as Distributed Denial of Service attacks, but also e-enabled crimes - that is to say, traditional crimes committed by electronic means or where there is a significant electronic aspect to their commission."

The committee points out the need for more support for research from the industry as well. "The development of one or more major multidisciplinary research centres, following the model of CITRIS, is necessary to attract private funding and bring together experts from different academic departments and industry in a more integrated, multi-disciplinary research effort."

End-users are still predominantly viewed as unable to protect their own security according to the report. And private companies are driven by strong incentives to either promote security for profit or to oppose it as imposing costs on them according to lawmakers. The committee, thus, proposes that ISPs, being the link between the users and the network, could take more control over the network traffic by blocking or filtering traffic containing malicious code. "We do not advocate immediate legislation or heavy- handed intervention by the regulator," says the lawmakers, adding that the market must be nudged to provide better security.

Further recommendations of the committee include criminalizing trade in botnet services, no matter what their use, creating a unified, Web-based reporting scheme for e-crime, more action on creating a central e-crime police unit, fast ratification of the Council of Europe CyberCrime Convention, and educating courts on Internet crime.

Read the full article on Factiva Content Watch.
To access the report, click here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 9:56:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 03, 2007

An Informational draft RFC by John Curran was recently published, outlining an IPv4 to IPv6 transition plan. The paper provides a clear guidance to organizations regarding specific expectations that change over time, and vary greatly by organization. A timeline of the different phases was set with the intention of allowing enough time for the necessary planning and deployment steps which each organization must undertake. The author proposes the transition to predominantly IPv6-connectivity by Januaray 2011 in response to meeting the overall requirements of allowing the Internet to scale as specified in "The Recommendation for the IP Next Generation Protocol" [RFC1752].

On the contrary, Randy Bush provides a very informative presentation, IPv6 Transition & Operational Reality, regarding the reality of such a transition. The presentation discusses the different myths about IPv4 and IPv6, the emergence of a market for IPv4 addresses, and the transition from allocation to entitlement among others.

For more background data and interesting comments from Geoff Huston, read his IPv4 Address Report or his ISP column articles on The End of (IPv4) World, and Transition to IPv6.

Friday, August 03, 2007 10:53:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 23, 2007

The OECD's Ministerial meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy has been opened to an Online Public Consultation, providing an opportunity for all stakeholders to comment on the topics and issues to be discussed at event. The public consultation is scheduled to be open until 14 September 2007, and stakeholders and players may share their views and opinions with the OECD through their Online Questionnaire.

"The Ministerial represents an opportunity for high-level stakeholders from government, business, the technical community, and civil society to consider broad social, economic and technical trends shaping the development of the Internet Economy, and to discuss policies that can respond to evolving societal needs. The participation of all players in the dialogue is important to ensure that the Ministerial is able to benefit from a wide range of viewpoints and expertise."

For more information on the public consultation, go here or visit the OECD website.

Monday, July 23, 2007 10:01:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 20, 2007

The OECD Committee for Information, Computer and Communications Policy (ICCP), through its Working Party on Information Security and Privacy (WPISP) has developed the Recommendation on Electronic Authentication and the Guidance for Electronic Authentication. The project was made possible with the participation of Jane Hamilton from Industry Canada and with the support of delegates from Australia, France, Hungary, Korea, Norway, the United States, the OECD Secretariat and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD. On 12 June 2007, the OECD Council adopted the Recommendation, and the Guidance for Electronic Authentication, was adopted by the ICCP Committee in April and declassified on 12 June 2007 by the OECD Council.

The Recommendation encourages efforts by OECD member countries to establish compatible, technology-neutral approaches for effective domestic and cross-border electronic authentication of persons and entities. It also reaffirms the important role of electronic authentication in fostering trust online and the continued development of the digital economy.

The OECD Guidance on Electronic Authentication aims to assist OECD member countries and non-member economies in establishing or amend their approaches to electronic authentication with a view to facilitate cross-border authentication. The Guidance sets out the context and importance of electronic authentication for electronic commerce, electronic government and many other social interactions. It provides a number of foundation and operational principles that constitute a common denominator for cross-jurisdictional interoperability.

Both the Recommendation and the Guidance conclude a work stream initiated in response to the "Declaration on Authentication for Electronic Commerce" adopted by Ministers at the Ottawa Ministerial Conference held on 7-9 October 1998 and serve as a bridge to future OECD work on identity management.

The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector with its Focus Group on Identity Management (FG IdM) works to facilitate the development of a generic Identity Management framework, by fostering participation of all telecommunications and ICT experts on Identity Management. To read more about the ITU-T FG IdM activities, go here.

Read the full article on the OECD Recommendation on Electronic Authentication and the Guidance for Electronic Authentication here.

Friday, July 20, 2007 9:58:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 21, 2007

28-31 Aug 2007 The ITU, in collaboration with the Viet Nam Ministry of Posts and Telematics and with support from the government of Australia, will be hosting a workshop 28-31 August 2007 entitled Regional Workshop on Frameworks for Cybersecurity and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection in Hanoi, Viet Nam.

The description of the event, draft agenda, invitation letter, and practical information for meeting participants is available on the event website. Further information is available from cybmail@itu.int.

Thursday, June 21, 2007 8:33:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 28, 2007
A North American corporation focused on acquiring versatile and profitable companies in the IT sector "...has received an order for a turnkey DICOM archive solution [...] to be deployed within Saskatchewan's Provincial health care region. The order is significant and unprecedented as it represents the first of its kind in Canada. The [...] Image Manager is a secure, open-system software solution for transporting, storing, tracking and retrieval of digital images across an entire DICOM network.

To view the full article by On The Go Technologies Group as published by GRIDtoday on 28 May 2007, click here.

Monday, May 28, 2007 4:48:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 04, 2007

Although the European Commission decided against imposing new legislative restrcitions on radio frequency identification (RFID) tags for now (opting for "soft legislation" instead) , a top official warned on Monday that regulations are likely if future uses of the technology don't protect fundamental privacy rights, reports ZDNet. Gerald Santucci, head of the European Commission unit whose domain includes RFID issues, said he feared that rushing to place restrictions on industries hoping to use the technology would choke its potentially valuable application in health care, business, transportation and other realms. But if regulators deem that widespread RFID use is insufficiently safe, secure and privacy-preserving, then "Mrs. Reding [European Commissioner for Information Society and Media] will have no other option but to trigger legislation," Santucci told participants at a luncheon discussion in Washington DC. By the end of 2008, the commission plans to reevaluate whether legislation is necessary. It's unclear how restrictive any potential rules would be.

Read the full story here (ZDNet). More on the European Commission Policy on RFID can be found here.

RFID, along with sensors and nanotechnology, was one of the key techological developments explored in the 2005 ITU Internet Report on The Internet of Things. An ITU New Initiatives Workshop on Ubiquitous Networks Societies was also held in the same here. Network aspects of identification systems are being studied in the context of standardization by the ITU's JCA-NID.

Friday, May 04, 2007 4:11:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 01, 2007

ITU-T Study Group 2’s February meeting saw work continue on harmonizing numbering resources for child helplines. Study Group 2 is looking at the issue following a request from Child Helpline International (CHI). CHI is a global network of telephone helplines and outreach services for children and young people.

Specifically Study Group 2 is looking at the logistics of providing a global number. It previously conducted a survey which discovered that a wide range of numbers are in use globally and that there is support in many countries for studying a more harmonized solution. A review process will be an initial assessment of all of the various options for introducing childrens’ helplines. The fundamental question is whether a single number can be deployed worldwide. Other issues include how regulators will handle migration from existing services and who pays for the services.

See the Study Group 2 website and ITU-T Newslog for further information.

Thursday, March 01, 2007 9:20:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Standards that will ease the wide spread rollout of video over IP networks took a step forward in January. IPTV architecture and requirements, two fundamentally important areas in standards work were progressed at a recent meeting of the ITU-T Focus Group on IPTV (FG IPTV). There was general consensus in the meeting that FG IPTV will successfully develop documents which will accelerate introduction of IPTV to the global market. Setting the architecture and requirements in stone allows the rest of the work to continue with greater ease.

Meeting at the Microsoft conference center, Mountain View California, at the invitation of the Alliance for Telecom Industry Standards (ATIS) the group saw a record number of contributions and experts worked often late to keep up with the workload. Nearly 90 documents were dealt with in the fields of architecture and requirements alone. Malcolm Johnson, newly elected Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau said in a message he sent to the event: "The excellent cooperation between ITU-T and ATIS is an example of the spirit of cooperation that I believe now pervades in the standards world... From what I have seen there is a great deal to be satisfied by in terms of the progress that FG IPTV has achieved so far."

In opening comments, ATIS President & CEO Susan Miller shared with the 200 meeting attendees that IPTV is serving as a ''change agent" for the industry, and "as both the business case and principal driver for accelerating deployment of the next generation network. "Miller noted that for North American service providers in particular, "IPTV is a critical ingredient to bundled service offerings that encompass television services, mobile services, Internet access, and much more. We have seen in the last decade, enormous investments in broadband, and fiber deployments to the home and to the premise," said Miller. Also important a document outlining terms and definitions in the field was created.

While seemingly mundane this work is crucially important in ensuring consistency of comprehension in an area where many standards outlining different aspects of IPTV will co-exist. Further discussion is expected on whether and how to treat the issue of redistribution of content to a point past an IPTV terminal device, and, in particular, how content protection and content management functions can or should apply in a home network environment. Other issues examined and progressed were accessibility issues for people with disabilities, AV codecs and content format requirements. Output and other documents can be found here.
See also the ITU-T newslog for further information. 

The next meeting of FG IPTV will be held from 7 to 11 May 2007 in Bled, Slovenia.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007 10:01:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, December 06, 2006

One of the Intenet's pioneers, Dr. Larry Roberts, gave a presentation yesterday at ITU World Telecom Forum 2006 in Hong Kong entitled Optimizing the Internet Quality of Service and Economics for the Digital Generation. Dr. Roberts discussed standardization work in the ITU on end-to-end QoS signalling to better deliver video over the Internet. In particular, he discussed the work on a new flow based, in-band signaling standard called Y.flowreq.

 

 

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 8:04:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 24, 2006

In response to the needs for health information management, ITU-T Study Group 16 has also developed the ITU-T SG 16 Technical Paper TP.RTM "Roadmap for Telemedicine" which aims to define the areas in which a set of open global international standards for e-health applications is currently needed.

To read more about the ITU-T Study Group 16's work on e-health, visit their E-Health and Standardization section.

Friday, November 24, 2006 4:55:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, November 18, 2006

ITU-T Focus Group on Security Baseline for Network Operators has issued a survey which seeks to assess the security preparedness of network operators. The results from the survey will be used in preparation of a new ITU-T Recommendation: "Security Baseline for Network Operators". Participants are asked about their level of preparedness for various security threats.

Once approved the ITU-T Recommendation will show the readiness and ability of operators to collaborate and coordinate counteraction against security threats arising from interconnected networks. The Security Baseline will allow network operators to assess their network and information security posture in terms of what security standards are available, which of these standards should be used to meet particular requirements, when they should be used, and how they should be applied. It will also identify security Recommendations and standards to support evaluation of operators’ network security and information security.

Commencement of the first draft of the Recommendation will begin towards the end of 2006.
See the online survey which is aimed at network and service providers.

A deadline of 24 November 2006 has been set for survey responses.

Saturday, November 18, 2006 9:07:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ofcom published its second annual Technology Research and Development Report which provides an overview of emerging technologies that have the potential to make more efficient use of the radio spectrum.

More information can be found here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 10:58:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, November 11, 2006

A new tool that gives a unique overview of ITU-T’s Next Generation Network (NGN) related activities has been released. The NGN Project Management Tool, was developed with the support of a voluntary contribution for one of the ITU-T Sector Members.

Since the work towards standards for NGN is taking place across a number of different ITU-T study groups and other standards development organizations (SDOs) the ability to coordinate and view all NGN work in one place will be invaluable to the swift and efficient publication of NGN specifications.

Essentially a repository of information from ITU and other SDOs, the system was asked for by members of the various Study Groups working on NGN. Key will be the ability to keep track of the latest versions of Recommendations and provide detailed information for experts and summaries for management.

Access information on the NGN Project Management Tool here.

Saturday, November 11, 2006 11:19:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 07, 2006

John MacDonald, a member of the ITU team that created the new VDSL 2 standard, will take part in an upcoming Webinar on this topic, 21 November 2006. The Webinar, the second on the topic that ITU has contributed to, will outline what VDSL2 is, which are its competitive differentiators and benefits, and how it allows service providers to compete with cable and satellite operators - by enabling the delivery of enhanced voice, video and data services over a standard copper telephone cable.

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is a product of ITU-T, ITU’s standardization arm, and is the world's most widely deployed broadband access technology. It has enhanced users' experience of the Internet, provided access to digitized content, and fuelled the delivery of streaming video and the development of online gaming by offering downstream data rates of up to 8 Mbit/s. Today, service providers must ensure their DSL offerings can compete against other market options from cable operators. One way to do so, is by offering services over VDSL2 (ITU-T Recommendation G.993.2) - very high-speed DSL - a new version of DSL, which gives service providers the ability to deliver even higher bandwidth and more enhanced services to consumer and business customers.

Delivering up to 100 Mbit/s both up and downstream, a tenfold increase over ADSL (Asymmetric DSL) VDSL2 provides for so-called fiber-extension, bringing fiber-like bandwidth to premises not directly connected to the fiber optic segment of a telecom company’s network. By deploying VDSL2 operators expect to be able to offer services such as high-definition TV (HDTV), video-on-demand, videoconferencing, high-speed Internet access, and advanced voice services. Importantly VDSL 2 offers carriers a solution that is interoperable with the DSL equipment many already have in place. In addition, VDSL 2 will work with both legacy ATM networks and next generation IP-based networks.

Register and read more about the online VDSL2 event here.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006 2:25:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T will host this year's Broadband Europe Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, 11-14 December 2006. BBEurope is an annual event which was initiated by the European Commission Framework Programme 6 BREAD project which is part of the "BroadBand for All"-strategic objective of the European Commission.

Peter Van Daele, BREAD Project Leader: "The concept of 'Broadband For All' refers to a situation in which broadband is not only available to every citizen, but is actually used by all of them. In that respect it is a more demanding concept than the traditional universal service obligation in telephony, which merely stipulates the availability, at certain conditions, of a given service. The usage of information and communication technologies via broadband infrastructures by all citizens is a policy objective because it is considered to be a key component of transforming Europe into a knowledge-based society, thus enhancing economic growth and increasing employment."

The BREAD project has amongst its objectives to develop a holistic vision encompassing technical, as well as economical and regulatory aspects. Another important aspect is of identifying roadblocks on European, national/regional level and share visions and best practices on national level to EU level.

BBEurope brings together on an international level all the BroadBand players, researchers, service providers, content providers, operators, manufacturers, policy makers, standardisation bodies, professional organisations. The meeting will discuss topics such as NGN, IPTV, wireless access, powerline, security, QoS, and broadband in rural areas. The event will conclude with a panel discussion titled: Future Perspectives in Broadband.

For a draft meeting agenda and more information on the call for papers (deadline: 10 November 2006), see the event website.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 10:27:48 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 03, 2006

Over seven hundred people voted for the most influential standards work from ITU-T in a recent poll to celebrate 50 years of CCITT/ITU-T. The work area for video coding received the most votes. The task of video coding is to establish efficient formats for storing and transmitting video data. The work of ITU–T in this field was pioneered in joint projects with the International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC). 

In addition to the two video standards that were explicitly mentioned in the poll question (H.262/MPEG2-Video and H.264/AVC), there were several others of substantial importance in the standardization of that field. Specifically, that includes H.120, H.261, and H.263. Signalling System Number 7 (SS7) received the second highest number of votes. SS7 is a common channel signalling system that separates network resource control from the resources being controlled. This fundamental shift enabled the implementation of highly efficient centralized databases for call control, especially valuable for services that may be accessed from any subscriber line (Intelligent Networks, 800/Freephone, credit card, VPN, etc.), and an integral capability on which today’s ubiquitous mobile phone systems depend. Among other service supporting capabilities, it enables monitoring the status of a line to see if it is busy or idle, alerts that indicate the arrival of a call, and the addressing system that routes calls.

The full voting results can be seen here.
See more related information in the ITU-T Newslog.

Friday, November 03, 2006 2:11:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The European Commission held its final conference on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) on 16 October 2006 in Brussels, to close the series of consultations initiatives announced by Commissioner Viviane Reding at CeBit in March 2006. The conference (RFID: Heading for the Future) was opened by the Commissioner and featured Commission officials, members of the European Parliament, and relevant stakeholders from industry, government and civil society who have been involved in the ongoing European debate about RFID. ITU's Lara Srivastava spoke at the conference on the topic "RFID: from identification to identity" and her presentation is available here.

More information about the EU's RFID consultation is available here.

 

 

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 4:06:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 11, 2006

An Open Event on "Security and Identity Management in a Federated World" was held on 2 October 2006, hosted by the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in collaboration with Sun Microsystems. Speakers included Sun Microsystems' John Gage and Liberty Alliance's Hellmuth Broda. ITU's Lara Srivastava participated in the event and spoke on "the problem of identity in networked spaces". Her presentation is available here.

The subject of digital identity will be examined more closely in the forthcoming 2006 ITU Internet Report entitled "digital.life", to be released at ITU Telecom World 2006, 4-8 December 2006 (Hong Kong, China).

 

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 9:29:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The ITU and the EU's Daidalos Project plan a workshop on "Digital Identity for NGN" Dec. 5 in Geneva, officials said Mon. The Daidalos Project and VeriSign are advancing global standardization of digital identity management at the ITU, officials said. Proposals have been floated at ITU on handling the issue, but consensus is still forming. The aim of the workshop is to understand better providers' need to offer digital identity across layers of communication systems, administrative domains and other boundaries, documents said. Key challenges for developing a more consistent approach are to tackle the conflicting requirements of privacy, identification and security, documents said. The NGN-GSI Event will focus on identity management as a key theme during its meeting Oct. 23-Nov. 3, said an official involved in the work. The past year or 2, several research institutes in Japan, S. Korea and Switzerland have been interested in sensor network identifiers, he added. There's supposed to be an identity management piece in the October 23-24 Grid Workshop as well, the official said: "There's a whole burgeoning world of communicating sensor devices, and [they] will need some kind of identity to communicate whatever kind of sensing information they have."

Source: Warren's Washington Internet Daily

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 8:44:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 03, 2006

ITU-T is hosting a workshop NGN and Grids in collaboration with the Open Grid Forum (OGF) in Geneva , 23-24 October 2006. Grid computing enables organizations to pool IT resources across departmental and organizational boundaries in a secure, highly efficient manner in order to solve massive computational problems.

Next generation networks (NGN) offer increased quality and service features for users, independent of the underlying transport technology. ITU-T’s Global Standards Initiative on Next Generation Network (NGN-GSI) is well under way and is responding to urgent market needs for global NGN standards.

The workshop will explore how Grids will work in an NGN environment by bringing together experts from both communities.
The telco community is eyeing Grid development with interest. Telcos could use grids internally, for billing and simulations for example but new revenue streams can be foreseen in areas such as managed grid services.

One panel discussion and Q&A will pose the question: "What can Grids do for Telcos and what can Telcos do for Grids?" Other panel discussions will examine NGN management and security. From a telecoms perspective there are some challenges such as QoS, how to control the network, how to manage dynamic provisioning and how to provide collision-free addresses (IPv4 <-> NAT). It is expected that all of these topics and more will be addressed. A key result of the event will be a gap analysis of standards in the field and a better understanding of how grids can be catered for in ITU-T’s NGN Release 2. An action plan outlining what work needs to be done, and where can then be developed.

See the ITU-T Newslog for more details on the workshop.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 9:13:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T Study Groups meeting under the auspices of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI) in July 2006, finalized a substantial body of work. Sixteen new standards went into the final stages of the ITU approval process in areas including requirements, architecture, QoS and security. Around 650 documents were considered by the lead Study Group on NGN, Study Group 13, alone. Study Group management reported high levels of participation and good progress.

Two rather fundamental documents describing requirements for NGN and describing the functional architecture of the NGN will be published as ITU-T Recommendations after formal approval. Also, QoS, a crucial element as networks move to an environment inherently more susceptible to delay, interference etc. was a key focus. One new Recommendation was consented in this field.

Experts also point to the importance of a Recommendation (ITU-T Rec. Y.2021) describing how the IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) as specified by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2) can be used in the NGN context. A Recommendation from Study Group 19 on mobility management was also highlighted.

See the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI) website for further details.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 9:12:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 14, 2006

In the latest issue of Total Telecom, an article entitled No Signal discusses the need to develop an NGN global interconnection regime.

"NTTs CEO and CTO have raised the alarm and are calling for the worlds operators to start work on new interconnection models today, before NGNs are in place, and more importantly before legacy networks are switched off.

At a CEO summit hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva in July, NTTs president and CEO, Norio Wada, called for a new interconnect framework that will extend national NGNs into a secure and fully managed global IP network."

Thursday, September 14, 2006 10:24:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 04, 2006

A forthcoming ITU-T IPTV Global Technical Workshop will review and examine IPTV standardization, political and regulatory aspects, business models and various case studies as well as technical developments and service provider’s operational aspects.

IPTV represents a convergence between the traditional telecommunication and broadcast industries. And, as with any convergence a lot of work is needed to ensure interoperability. Globally accepted standards are clearly a key enabler for this. With many of the conditions necessary for IPTV rollout in place - global IP connectivity over managed broadband infrastructure with such guarantees as QoS and security, and broadband connectivity with enhanced network capabilities - there is a strong demand for standards to ensure smooth service rollout and interoperability.

The workshop will provide a review of the current status of IPTV work as well as an examination of where to go next.

See the meeting website for further information.

[ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, August 04, 2006 11:35:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 28, 2006

Study Group 17 (Security, languages and telecommunication software) has been instructed by Resolution 48 of the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (Florianópolis, 2004) to study Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). It is considered that implementation of IDN will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not represented in IRA (International Reference Alphabet) characters.

To meet this obligation, Study Group 17 developed new Question 16, Internationalized Domain Names tasked in particular to investigate all relevant issues in the field of IDN. The mandate for Question 16 is available on the Study Group 17 website.

Question 16 was approved at the April 2006 Study Group 17 meeting in Jeju, Korea. At this meeting Question 16 drafted a questionnaire for a Circular to Member States, requesting information on their experiences in the use of IDN. TSB Circular 96 was issued on 31 May 2006.

The ITU-T has unveiled an IDN resource site to share information on work progress, achievements and acquired knowledge in the field of IDN. It includes an introduction to IDN, information about related events, standards materials, news, information on national and other IDN developments and a FAQ.

[via the ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, July 28, 2006 10:49:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 26, 2006

"To protect Internet users from online fraudsters and defend the Internet against scammers commandeering network resources, the two most influential global trade associations combating Internet crime have jointly released an explicit new set of Best Practices to combat “phishing,” a major cause of online identify theft and fraud. The recommendations will help Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mailbox providers better police their own infrastructures and filter traffic traversing their networks."

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) and the Messaging Anti-Abuse Group (MAAWG) jointly developed the recommendations outlined in "Anti-Phishing Best Practices for ISPs and Mailbox Providers." The paper provides technical and business practices to help ISPs and mailbox providers thwart phishing attacks and other malevolent network abuses and also includes practices to respond constructively when these attacks occur. “Phishing” employs deceptive technology such as spoofing and social engineering to steal consumers' personal identity and financial account data, and has become a major concern."

To download the full recommendations, click here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 3:18:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 20, 2006

ITU-T’s work on IPTV took a significant step forward following a meeting held at ITU Headquarters in in Geneva, Switzerland, 10-14 July 2006.

IPTV is being explored by media companies and service providers around the world as a way to add value to their existing offerings, and globally accepted standards are seen as essential in order that – for example – a broadcaster in one part of the world can easily distribute content in another. The meeting of the IPTV Focus Group (FG IPTV) attracted over 150 delegates from the world’s key ICT companies, over 100 input documents were considered, and the first drafts of various output documents agreed. All documents can be viewed on the group’s webpage.

A key output document drafted at the meeting shows the requirements for standardization in IPTV. Establishing this list is an essential part of the standards making process. Also dealt with by the group, and equally as important is outlining what standards already exist. The meeting among other things approved the establishment of six working groups.

The next FG IPTV meeting will take place in Busan, Korea, 16-20 October 2006.

Read more about the IPTV Focus Group (FG IPTV) meeting output documents through the ITU-T blog channel for IPTV

IPTV | Media | NGN | Standards | VoIP
Thursday, July 20, 2006 3:45:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The high cost for developing countries in accessing the Internet backbone was a hot-topic at a recent, Geneva held meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 3 focusing on tariff and accounting principles including related telecommunication economic and policy issues.

Study Group 3 will submit a paper, outlining its activities and future work plan on international internet connectivity (IIC) to the first meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) to be held in Athens, Greece in October 2006

It has been claimed that some charging arrangements for IIC disadvantage smaller networks and developing countries. In June 2004 an amendment to ITU-T Recommendation D.50 was made to set out general considerations for parties to negotiate Internet interconnection. These considerations can be used to assist two parties to an interconnection agreement to negotiate in a more harmonized way.

"27.  We recommend improvements and innovations in existing financing mechanisms, including:
 Providing affordable access to ICTs, by the following measures:

i.  Reducing international Internet costs charged by backbone providers, supporting, inter alia, the creation and development of regional ICT backbones and Internet Exchange Points to reduce interconnection cost and broaden network access; 

ii. Encouraging ITU to continue the study of the question of the International Internet Connectivity (IIC) as an urgent matter to develop appropriate Recommendations."

See the ITU-T Study Group 3 website for more information.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 10:55:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 07, 2006

A presentation entitled Networks in Transition: Emerging Policy and Regulatory Challenges of Next Generation Networks (PDF) was made by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, at the Masters of Communication Management (MCM) Annual Conference, Goodenough College on 6 July 2006 in London, England.

Friday, July 07, 2006 12:05:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 04, 2006

"South Korea has commercially launched its mobile broadband internet service WiBro. South Korean internet service provider KT and mobile phone operator SK Telecom have begun the service based on Intel's WiMax standard in parts of Seoul and surrounding areas. KT claims that WiBro users can get wireless access to the internet even when travelling at speeds of 120km/hour".

"Subscribers can access the service by using a PCMCIA card provided by Samsung Electronics. The telcos plan to cover the entire country with the service by 2008".

For more information, please see the article featured in Digital Media News for Asia (DMasia.com)

This story was accessed through the SmartMobs blog.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 9:27:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 19, 2006

The ITU NGN Management Focus Group (NGNMFG), a group sponsored by ITU-T Study Group 4,  is seeking more input from service providers and network operators in order to build a more accurate roadmap of needs and existing specifications for NGN management. The group, presenting Version 2 of its NGN Management Specification Roadmap at the 22-23 May 2006 meeting of Study Group 4 in Beijing, China, changed its terms of reference to reflect this need.

While roadmap V1 identified NGN management specifications from ITU-T as well as other standards making organizations, V2 provides gap analysis and pinpoints areas that can benefit from better harmonization. Recognizing a gap in managing new functions tying the NGN transport stratum to the service stratum, V2 sees the addition of management of IMS (IP multimedia subsystem) and NGN transport technologies like ASON (automatic switched optical network) and Ethernet.

Further information on the NGN Management Specification Roadmap can be found here.

Monday, June 19, 2006 12:39:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Will Content Be King?, presentation by Robert Shaw, Deputy Head, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, at the 7 June 2006 conference Digital Content: a Modern Fairy Tale or the Old King in the New Clothes in Vilnius, Lithuania. The event was organized by the law offices of Norcous & Partners, in association with the Communications Regulatory Authority of the Republic of Lithuania and Vilnius University Faculty of Law.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 1:21:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU has just published an Issues Paper on the Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services, available for download here (.pdf format).

The paper was prepared by Lara Srivastava, of the Strategy and Policy Unit (ITU), and Ingrid Silver & Rod Kirwan of the law practice of Denton Wilde Sapte.

Together with case studies (on Germany, China, Hong Kong SAR) and a thematic paper on spectrum flexibility, these background papers will form part of the input material for an international ITU New Initiatives Workshop on The Regulatory Environment for Future Mobile Multimedia Services, to be held in Mainz (Germany) from 21-23 June 2006, and jointly hosted by Germany's Federal Network Agency.

The Advance Programme for the workshop is now on-line, and will be regularly updated.

More information about the ITU New Initiatives Programme can be found here.
More information about the international workshop on the topic can be found here.  

 

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 11:03:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 06, 2006

In 2006, ITU-T will celebrate 50 years of making the standards that have played a massive part in shaping the information and communications technologies (ICT) and services of today. In order to mark this momentous milestone, ITU-T will stage a unique one-day event on 20 July 2006 bringing together some of the most important players in ICT.

As part of celebrations for the anniversary, you are invited to vote for the most influential standards work from ITU-T. ITU work is behind many of the worlds most prevalent information and communications technologies. Select one of the standards on this shortlist which you think has best shaped the ICT world of today, or feel free to suggest additional standards for consideration.

More information about activities related to ITU-T's 50 Year Anniversary Celebrations can be found here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 1:59:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 01, 2006

A joint ITU-T/Global Grid Forum (GGF) workshop on NGN and Grids will take place at ITU headquarters, Geneva, from 23 to 24 October 2006 inclusive. The invitation letter contains additional details and a provisional agenda. The objective of the meeting is to:

  • Review the present status of applications, services and business opportunities in Grid networks and NGNs.
  • Discuss future evolution for Grids and NGNs both in terms of business opportunities and related technical requirements.
  • Identify relevant existing international standards as well as gaps in the standardization framework for Grids and NGNs.
  • Understand what additional features required by Grids should be considered in ITU-T’s NGN Release 2.
  • Identify the impact of NGN on Grids.
  • Contribute to the establishment of a roadmap for future standardization activities among major players.
  • Prepare a coordinated action plan on urgent standardization issues between standards developing organizations and fora/consortia working in this area.
Thursday, June 01, 2006 10:26:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Study Group 17 Questionnaire on information about experiences on the use of IDN

"The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (Florianópolis, 2004) in Resolution 48 instructed Study Group 17 (Security, languages and telecommunication software) to study Internationalized Domain Names (IDN).  The belief is that IDN implementation will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not represented in ASCII characters.

To assist this plan, Question 16/17 (Internationalized Domain Names) has been brought into being and tasked with investigating all relevant issues in the field of IDNs.

To recognize national, regional and international issues concerning IDNs, Study Group 17 prepared a questionnaire (see Annex 1) on information about experiences on the use of IDNs.

The objective of this questionnaire is to collect information and experiences on Internationalized Domain Names under ccTLD (country code Top Level Domain) around the globe. This will help identify Member States’ needs and practices concerning this subject. This information will serve to prepare a report on the implementation of IDNs and facilitate future work on IDN within Study Group 17.

If there are two or more ccTLDs in the responder's Member State, please complete separate answer sheets for each, unless they have exactly the same answers.

If the Member State is not responsible for the ccTLD, please forward the questionnaire to the concerned body."

Thursday, June 01, 2006 9:25:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, May 27, 2006

Philips Semiconductors and South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom join forces to launch a trial in Seoul using Near Field Communication (NFC) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies.  The trail will enable selected mobile phone users to use their phones to download content, unlock doors and pay for goods and services.

The trial will include about 400 participants. A wide variety of partners are involved, including operators, service providers, handset manufacturers, credit card companies, consumer electronics manufacturers, and retails. More information can be found in the RFID Journal article here.

 

Saturday, May 27, 2006 7:41:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on RFID, with a view to developing a coherent RFID Policy for Europe. In order to prepare for the consultation, the Commission is organizing a series of workshops (5) between March and June 2006, in which experts and stakeholders from all over Europe and the world come together to debate the key issues.

ITU's Lara Srivastava spoke at the first workshop (6-7 March 2006), and also at the third workshop in the series held 16-17 May 2006 on "RFID Security, Data Protection & Privacy, Health and Safety Issues" (see the presentation here). The Policy Framework Paper written by the Commission in advance of the meeting highlighted the vision of the ITU's 2006 Internet Report on "The Internet of Things" released in November 2005.

Two more workshops are planned in early June, after which the Commission will open up the debate for a wider on-line public consultation, resulting in a Communication on RFID to be issued later this year.

For more information, including webcasts, see the European Commission RFID Consultation Website.

 

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 4:53:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Bill St. Arnaud on the Canarie mailing list points to an interesting paper entitled The Ongoing Evolution from Packet Based Networks to Hybrid Networks in Research & Education Networks (Word). The paper references a number of the standardization activities on optical transport networks taking place in the ITU-T's Study Group 15.

Abstract:

The ongoing evolution from packet based networks to hybrid networks in Research & Education (R&E) networks, or what are the fundamental reasons behind this fundamental paradygm shift and the resulting growing gap between commercial and R&E Internet networks?

As exemplified by the Internet2 HOPI initiative, the new GEANT2 backbone, the GLIF  initiative and projects such as Dragon and Ultralight, National Research and Education Network (NREN) infrastructures are undergoing several very fundamental evolutions moving from conventional Packet based Internet networks to Hybrid networks while also moving from commercial Telecom Operator networks to Customer Empowered, dark fiber based, networks.

By hybrid networks, we mean the combination of conventional packet based Internet networks coupled with the capability to dynamically establish high speed End-to-end circuits, i.e. Bandwidth on Demand (BoD), also referred to sometimes as "lambda Grids",

This paper is attempting to explain the fundamental reasons behind this very significant paradygm shift and to assess its likely impact on National R&E, while also giving a very brief overview on what next generation Optical Transport Networks (OTN) may look like in a few years time with the advent of Ethernet over SONET/SDH (EoS), Generic Framing Procedures (GFP), Virtual Concatenation (VCAT) and Link Capacity Adjustment Scheme (LCAS).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 11:22:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) authored by OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards) have been consented as internationally recognised ITU-T Recommendations. The announcement is the first result of the formal relationship between the standardization sector of ITU and OASIS.

The standards (ITU-T Recommendations X.1141 (SAML) and X.1142 (XACML)) address the concern of how to allow safe single sign-on, a system that enables a user to authenticate once and gain access to the resources of multiple software systems. While solutions existed in this space, all were proprietary, and therefore not addressing the problem on a global level.

SAML and XACML are designed to control access to devices and applications on a network. The need for standards in this area has become more of an issue as business networks increasingly use the public Internet.

SAML addresses authentication and provides a mechanism for transferring authentication and authorization decisions between cooperating entities, XACML leverages this information to determine access to resources by focusing on the mechanism for arriving at those authorization decisions.

An additional feature of SAML is that it allows organizations to communicate information without any change to their own internal security architectures.

[via ITU-T Newslog]
Thursday, May 11, 2006 11:07:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 05, 2006

NetWizard's Blog points to the publishing of RFCs for authentication proposals Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Sender-ID:

Friday, May 05, 2006 9:09:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 03, 2006

ITWeek has an article What makes IPTV such a big deal? that focuses on the recent establishment of the ITU-T IPTV Focus Group.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 9:19:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 01, 2006
 Tuesday, April 11, 2006

ITU will take the lead in international standardization for IPTV with the announcement that it is to form a Focus Group on IPTV (IPTV FG).

The announcement, while acknowledging that standards work is ongoing in many different places, including ITU, is a reaction to an industry call for ITU to push forward and coordinate global standardization effort in the field.

IPTV is a system where a digital television service is delivered to consumers using the Internet protocol over a broadband connection. It will help pave the way for players, many of whom are already moving to IP-based NGN infrastructure, to offer a triple-play of video, voice and data.

Standards are necessary in order to give service providers, whether traditional broadcasters, ISPs or telecoms service providers, control over their platforms and their offerings. Standards here will encourage innovation, help mask the complexity of services, guarantee QoS, ensure interoperability and ultimately help players remain competitive.

The mission of IPTV FG is to coordinate and promote the development of global IPTV standards taking into account the existing work of the ITU study groups as well as SDOs, fora and consortia. The group was launched following a decision taken at a public consultation meeting attended by around 120 experts from the world’s ICT companies. Attendees agreed that all players in the IPTV value chain will benefit from worldwide standards, that there is a lot of work to be done and that rapid progress is necessary in order to avoid market fragmentation. The Focus Group mechanism was seen as the most effective way of addressing this. Inputs to the meeting as well as a webcast can be found here.

Houlin Zhao, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau of ITU: "We have seen a desire to expedite and accelerate a global focus on standards for IPTV. There has been extraordinary consensus that ITU must lead this work and I am pleased that – again - ITU is seen as the right place to develop and harmonize this international standardization work, as well as identify and help fill gaps where there is still a standardization need." The FG will build upon existing work. Its scope will include architecture and requirements, QoS, security, network and control aspects, end system aspects – terminals etc., interoperability, middleware and application platforms.

Please see the ITU-T IPTV website for more information on the focus group.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006 8:59:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 03, 2006

The IEEE 802.11 Working Group has passed a major milestone in the development of IEEE 802.11s(TM), "Wireless LAN Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications: Extended Service Set Mesh Networking", by voting to confirm a single proposal as the initial basis for the IEEE 802.11s standard. Many additional steps, which will include technical changes, are necessary before this standard becomes final; but this vote sets the baseline from which the group will work. Once completed, IEEE 802.11s will provide an interoperable and secure wireless distribution system between IEEE 802.11(TM) mesh points. This can reduce backhaul and installation costs. It also will extend mobility to access points in IEEE wireless local area networks (WLANs), enabling a new class of IEEE 802.11 applications that require untethered infrastructure.

See the IEEE website for more details with regards to this development related to wireless mesh networks (Wikipedia).

Monday, April 03, 2006 8:12:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 28, 2006

World Telecommunication Day (WTD) commemorates the founding of ITU on 17 May 1865. This year, WTD could carry added significance as 17 May has been identified by the Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society as “World Information Society Day”.

While World Information Society Day is yet to be proclaimed, ITU, as the leading ICT agency of the UN system, upholds the idea and looks forward to its members to raise awareness of the role of ICT in achieving the development goals of all people.

For WTD 2006, the ITU Council chose the theme of Promoting Global Cybersecurity to highlight the serious challenges we face in ensuring the safety and security of networked information and communication systems.

In today’s interconnected and increasingly networked world, societies are vulnerable to a wide variety of threats, including deliberate attacks on critical information infrastructures with debilitating effects on our economies and on our societies. In order to safeguard our systems and infrastructure and in order to instill confidence in online trade, commerce, banking, telemedicine, e-government and a host of other applications, we need to strengthen the security practices of each and every networked country, business, and citizen, and develop a global culture of cybersecurity.

The urgency of promoting cybersecurity has been called for by the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in 2002, the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-2004) as well as the United Nations General Assembly (resolutions 58/199, 2004, and 57/239, 2002).

Invitations to organize national programmes in the context of promoting the theme Promoting Global Cybersecurity for WTD 2006 were sent to all ITU Member States and ITU Sector Members. Sector Members represent over 647 public and private companies and organizations with an interest in telecommunications. Also in conjunction with WTD 2006, the ITU is conducting a survey of cybersecurity trust and awareness. A list of links to the related materials includes:

 

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 1:43:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Michael Robertson, who founded MP3.com, is launching a series of PC web-based "standard desktop" applications using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) technology which he announces on his blog AjaxLaunch.com.

The first to be released is AjaxWrite (only runs on FireFox browser) which can read and write Microsoft Word documents.

Robertson says "For 90 percent of the people in the world, the need to buy Microsoft Word just vanished."

Also see Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006 9:21:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 27, 2006

On 23-24 March 2006 at ITU headquarters, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit hosted a high-level experts workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs? focused on the policy and regulatory challenges related to the deployment of IP-enabled NGNs. The following materials are now available:

Monday, March 27, 2006 11:18:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 21, 2006

John McDonald, a member of the ITU team that created the new VDSL 2 standard, will participate in an upcoming Webinar on this topic, Monday 3 April 2006.

The Webinar hosted by Light Reading will look at this development and explore the significance and implications of the new standard for both operators and the enormous installed base of DSL subscribers. ITU’s new VDSL 2 standard (Very High-Speed DSL 2)(ITU-T Recommendation G.993.2) delivers up to 100 Mbit/s both up and downstream, a tenfold increase over ADSL (Asymmetric DSL). By doing so, it provides for so-called fiber-extension, bringing fiber-like bandwidth to premises not directly connected to the fiber optic segment of a telecom company’s network.

VDSL 2 will allow operators to compete with cable and satellite providers by offering services such as high-definition TV (HDTV), video-on-demand, videoconferencing, high-speed internet access, and advanced voice services, over a standard copper telephone cable. As well as addressing fast-growing consumer demand for high-speed multimedia services, VDSL 2 offers carriers a solution that is interoperable with the DSL equipment many already have in place, expediting migration of customers to new VDSL 2-based products. VDSL 2 works with both legacy ATM networks and next generation IP-based networks.

Register for the online event to learn more about VDSL 2.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006 3:40:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The OECD hosted a workshop entitled The Future of the Internet in Paris on 8 March 2006. Presentations given at the event will serve at "food for thought" for future OECD work.


The Economist has a related article entitled Reinventing the Internet.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 10:09:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 02, 2006

A study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) has found that cell phones and other portable electronic devices, like laptops and game-playing devices, can pose dangers to the normal operation of critical electronics on airplanes.

"We found that the risk posed by these portable devices is higher than previously believed," said Bill Strauss, who recently completed his Ph.D. in EPP at Carnegie Mellon.

"These devices can disrupt normal operation of key cockpit instruments, especially Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, which are increasingly vital for safe landings." Strauss is an expert in aircraft electromagnetic compatibility at the Naval Air Warfare Center in Patuxent River, Md.

For more information, please click here.

Thursday, March 02, 2006 9:21:59 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T together with the US Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) is holding a free workshop Next Generation Network Technology and Standardization at the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre in Las Vegas , USA , 19-20 March 2006 during the TelecomNEXT event.

This workshop will: 

  • Examine the status of NGN standards 
  • Identify standards work needed to support ongoing viable businesses for all parties as NGN becomes reality, and 
  • Enhance and extend standardization community cooperation to further coordinate NGN work

A particular emphasis of the event will be next generation network (NGN) requirements and standards objectives from a North American perspective and how these can be best taken into account in global NGN standardization by the ITU-T.

More information on the event and the draft meeting programme can be accessed through the ITU-T website

Thursday, March 02, 2006 11:51:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 01, 2006

IPDR.org hosted an event last week to take a focused look at IPTV accounting and settlement. The event objectives included:

  • Understanding the requirements for IPTV accounting
  • Summarizing challenges associated with all network data related aspects of IPTV such as advertising, content settlement, user behavior, capacity management, multimedia events, and other IPTV service components
  • Developing technical specifications to address the needs of IPTV overall accounting and settlement
  • Creating an industry wide task force comprised of leaders and contributors

IPDR plans to submit protocols to international groups such as the ITU and 3GPP for adoption as industry standards, according to Kelly Anderson, President of IPDR.org. Her group is working especially closely with the IPTV Interoperability Forum of the Alliance for Telecom Industry Solutions (ATIS), represented at the meeting. ATIS and IPDR said last week that the American National Standards Group had approved as an American national standard for trial use a generic IPDR specification for billing applications for packet-based services on which ATIS had collaborated.

The presentations made at the event are available.

The Director of the TSB is holding a consultation meeting on IPTV standardization on April 4-5 2006.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006 11:44:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The ITU-T Newslog has news of a joint ITU-T Workshop and IMTC Forum 2006 on "H.323, SIP: is H.325 next?" to be held 9-11 May 2006 in San Diego, California. 

The rollout of NGN will bring with it in a new era of multimedia communications and with that a need to consider updating or replacing the currently used H.323 and SIP multimedia protocols. The question is whether to pursue development of a new protocol and a new generation of multimedia communication systems, or define new multimedia capabilities and functionality for existing protocols. Perhaps some consideration needs to be given to service control interface specifications. With work already underway in ITU on a new protocol dubbed H.325, the industry must decide whether to invest more time and resource into this pursuit. The answer to this question will be one of the more fundamental issues addressed at this IMTC Forum and ITU-T Workshop, which will have to consider: market acceptance/need and benefit to end users, service providers and to enterprise information technology (IT) staff.

More details on the workshop are available here. For a primer on H.325, see here.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006 4:14:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

According to an article from Interfax China, the Ministry of Information Industry has announced the revamping of the country's Internet domain name system which will be enforced from March 1, 2006.

The new domain names system consists of a total of 4 Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) including the English language domain .CN and 3 Chinese-character top-level domains "中国" (.China), "公司" (.com)- in China .com is used to refer to companies, and "网络"(.net).

Tuesday, February 28, 2006 10:51:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 22, 2006

China's Ministry of Information Industry launched its anti-spam center, www.anti-spam.cn, today as part of their net safety efforts. There are ongoing efforts to also enhance its email management sometime between March and April 2006.

Additionally, the Chinese government issued a regulation on the management of emails, which will take effect on 30 March 2006. Sending advertisement emails without the receiver's permission is banned, according to this new regulation.

For more information, click here

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 9:42:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 17, 2006

ITU Study Group 15 (Study Group focusing on access network transport and optical technology) has consented a Recommendation that will address a key concern in the evolution to next generation networks (NGN).

With the proposed move to packet switched networks, carriers, mobile operators and system integrators all have a need to support time-division multiplexing (TDM) over packet networks. TDM, experts say, today forms all of the transmission network and a good part of the access network.

The role of this Rec - G.8261 - is to outline the requirements for the support of a crucial part of TDM's operation in packet networks. The Recommendation's authors say that without proper synchronization, applications such as mobile telephony simply will not work.

G.8261 analyses synchronization aspects in packet networks, with particular focus on the Ethernet, and outlines the minimum requirements for the synchronization function of network elements. In particular it focuses on the transport of synchronization information required for the transport of TDM signals over packet networks. The transport of SDH signals is for further study.

Read more about Study Group 15 activities.

Friday, February 17, 2006 3:30:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Circle ID has an interesting piece entitled Internet Governance: An Antispam Perspective by Meng Wong, who is known for his work on the email authentication mechanism SPF*:

I believe that we must move to a default-deny model for email to solve phishing; at the same time we must preserve the openness that made email the killer app in the first place. The tension between these poles creates a tremendous opportunity for innovation and social good if we get things right, and for shattering failure if we get things wrong.

* SPF is derived from original concept work by Paul Vixie which is now also the core of Microsoft's Sender ID.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 5:44:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 13, 2006

The ITU is hosting a workshop on Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) from 14-15 February 2006, bringing the spotlight on the emergence of a so-called "Internet of Things", enabling ubiquitous network connectivity, anytime and anywhere. The agenda and an accompanying press release are available.

Update: The workshop is being audiocast live and archived.

Monday, February 13, 2006 11:23:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 10, 2006

Bruce Schneier's Schneier on Security points to a paper dismissing the myth that worms won't be able to propagate under IPv6.

Friday, February 10, 2006 5:19:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Friday, February 10, 2006 9:13:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Via the ITU-T Newslog comes news that a Recommendation consented at the January meeting of Study Group 13 allows enterprises to convert multiple voice streams or VoIP flows to IP packets, enabling them to be trunked to their destination over a packet switched infrastructure, rather than dedicated circuit-switched infrastructure. Rec Y.1452 gives the required functions and procedures necessary for support of multiplexed narrowband voice services by IP networks. It specifies the required protocols and the operation of the interworking function.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006 10:34:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Geoff Huston in the February 2006 edition of ISP Column asks what Convergence?

The effort to arm networks with complex quality and service manipulation capabilities in the guise of NGNs and QoS networks appears to be a step in precisely the opposite direction to what customers demonstrably want from networks.

...

There is no next vertical killer application coming, and it certainly isn’t going to be just VOIP.

...

We are seeing a new suite of application components in the form of XML, Ajax, RSS, Torrents, Podcasts and similar, and methods of constructing content in previously undreamt of methods. Many of the more captivating services are now in the form of overlay applications, such as Skype for voice or Google’s Gmail for mail . The common factor here is that these services do not use dedicated network infrastructure, but exist as application level overlays. Its clear in this that user’s perception of where the value lies is shifting to the application rather than remaining with the network’s access infrastructure. This value shift is not coalescing within a single application, however. What is evident is that the application space is now an area of intense innovation, and we are seeing diversification in this space, rather than convergence. The richness of structured data sets and their potential to create innovative services is an obvious outcome of this application level activity.

...

Perhaps its time to forget about convergence, and instead look at what it takes to survive as a carrier ISP in today’s deregulated, competitive, unconverged world. Certainly one of the more important principles is to stop attempting to add value to the network by spending large amounts of effort in providing a panoply of services that customers simply don’t want and don’t value. It would appear that want customers want today is for packet carriers to stick to the basics - keep overheads low and operate a network that is simple, stable, fast and cheap. User value construction is happening at the edge of the network through overlay structures, and the major attribute of networks today is not convergence per se, but the ability to open the network’s edge up for competitive innovation.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006 9:15:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 06, 2006

The ITU-T Newslog has news on a new ITU-T standard (ITU-T Recommendation, Y.1731) which will allow operators offering Ethernet services to use OAM (operations, administration, and maintenance) mechanisms to facilitate network operation and troubleshooting.

Recommendation Y.1713 gives user-plane OAM functionality in Ethernet networks. The architectural basis for this Recommendation is the Ethernet specification G.8010. A previous Recommendation Y.1730 served as a prelude to Y.1731 outlining the OAM requirements of operators. Joncour says that Y.1731 was developed in close collaboration with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) group 802.1. This group is also preparing a standard (802.1ag - Connectivity Fault Management) devoted to Ethernet OAM aspects. IEEE 802.1ag defines a subset of the functions/PDUs described in Y.1731. Regular communications between the two groups ensured alignment of the description of the common features.

Monday, February 06, 2006 10:36:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, February 04, 2006
The Country Code Country Code 1 ENUM LLC has issued a press release on the formation of a committee to coordinate testing activities among participants in its upcoming US ENUM trial. The first meeting of this committee, to be known as the LLC's Trial Participants Advisory Committee (TPAC), will take place in Richardson, Texas, on February 21, 2006. Companies who have an interest in participating inthe trial should plan on attending this meeting. Meeting details will beposted on the LLC's web site.
Saturday, February 04, 2006 6:45:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 03, 2006

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation document on the impact of transition to NGNs (also see press release). TRAI will be conducting open house discussions in Delhi and Bangalore on the NGN consultation paper as well as the recent consultation on convergence and competition.

Friday, February 03, 2006 5:03:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 02, 2006

The December 2005 edition of the Internet Protocol Journal has two articles on countering spam:

Thursday, February 02, 2006 10:10:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 30, 2006

The French telecommunications regulator, ARCEP has published a study (in French) by OVUM on the impact of the deployment of NGNs, migration scenarios as well as the possible impact on regulation.

Monday, January 30, 2006 6:25:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, January 27, 2006

At an early December meeting of ITU-T's Study Group 2, agreement on the allocation of a high-revenue international short message service (SMS) number to two international organisations for the purpose of fundraising was made. An official announcement in ITU-T's Operational Bulletin will be made following the decision of the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

The number +979 0767 was granted following a request from the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). It will allow the two organizations to launch relief campaigns across national boundaries, and will encourage regular donations by introducing a recognisable and non-changing number. The 767 portion of the number spells out SOS.

Texting emerged as a popular way to contribute to relief efforts during fundraising for the earthquake in Bam , Iran , 2003 and the 2004 Asian tsunami. [via the ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, January 27, 2006 12:47:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

If you missed the recent ITU-T web-based seminar (webinar) on NGN you may be interested to know that the whole thing including slides, audio and the question and answer session is available in Light Reading’s archive. Nearly 400 people attended the live event on 23 January, submitting close to 100 questions to the speakers. [via ITU-T Newslog]

Friday, January 27, 2006 12:47:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The ITU-T Newslog is announcing the first release of an ICT Security Standards Roadmap developed to assist in the development of security standards by bringing together information about existing standards and current standards work in key standards development organizations. The Roadmap is a work in progress,

The Roadmap is in four parts:

  • Part 1: ICT Standards Development Organizations and Their Work

    Part 1 contains information about the Roadmap structure and about each of the listed standards organizations, their structure and the security standards work being undertaken. In addition it contains information on terminology by providing links to existing security glossaries and vocabularies.

  • Part 2: Approved ICT Security Standards

    Part 2 contains a summary catalogue of approved standards.

  • Part 3: Security standards under development

    Part 3 is structured with the same taxonomy as Part 2 but contains work in progress, rather than standards that have already been approved and published. Part 3 will also contain information on inter-relationships between groups undertaking the work and on potential overlaps between existing projects.

  • Part 4: Future needs and proposed new security standards

    Part 4 is intended to capture possible future areas of security standards work where gaps or needs have been identified as well as areas where proposals have been made for specific new standards work.

It is hoped that standards organizations whose work is not represented in this version of the Roadmap will provide information to ITU-T about their work so that it may be included in future editions. In the near future provision will be made to allow each organization to manage its own data within the Roadmap.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 5:41:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Wednesday, January 25, 2006 3:11:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 24, 2006

According to the 18 November 2005 Newsletter of Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication, they have decided to set up a “Study Group on a Framework for Competition Rules to Address Progress in the Move to IP", with the aim of laying out basic principles on a framework for competition rules applicable as well as clarifying specific directions concerning interconnection and tariff policies.

In other news, Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has recently announced (Japanese) that they have established a IP-based Next Generation Network promotion forum. About 190 entities are participating in the newly established forum which will feed into ITU's work on NGNs.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 7:15:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 23, 2006

In preparation for an upcoming ITU workshop entitled What Rules for IP-enabled NGNs?, to be held 23-24 March 2006 at ITU (see workshop concept document), an ITU NGN Policy and Regulatory site is now available and under development.

The new site contains links to the workshop and other resources as well as the most recent NGN-related news from the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit and the ITU-T.

Monday, January 23, 2006 9:42:29 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

An entry on Richard Stastny's blog (VoIP and ENUM) points to a number of interesting presentations made at an ERO hosted event on scenarios for NGN naming, numbering and addressing, interconnection and QoS.

Monday, January 23, 2006 1:33:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 18, 2006

James Seng takes a look at IPTV, its hardware requirements, the value proposition for IP-enabled NGN players, and why he is excited about P2P IPTV which he says can be traced back "to an academic paper called Coolstreaming (see also Wikipedia) published about a year ago (the authors of the paper is rumored to be funded by Softbank after the publication). The release of their python code no doubt spurred the the creation of PPLive, Sopcast and Cybersky."

As several presentations in this FGNGN document show, there is a recognition to bring IPTV into ITU's future work on NGN standardization. The US-based ATIS has already formed the IPTV Interoperability Forum which is part of their NGN standardization activities.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006 10:40:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 17, 2006

According to the ITU-T NGN web portal, the ITU-T Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) proceeding are now available:

Additional background on the proceedings

ITU-T Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) was created under ITU-T Study Group 13 in June 2004 to address the emerging needs for global standards for Next Generation Networks (NGN). FGNGN was made-up of seven working groups:

  • Services and capabilities
  • Functional architecture and requirements
  • Quality of service (QoS)
  • Control aspects
  • Security issues
  • Migration of current networks into NGN
  • Future packet based network requirements

During the 18-month life-time of FGNGN, nine meetings were organized, with more than 1,200 input documents and 1,400 participants. FGNGN deliverables cover all those seven fundamental framework areas of NGN. Its final output was a total of 30 documents that will be transferred to the relevant ITU-T Study Groups for their further consideration. Deliverables are classified by release concept. Proceedings contain the deliverables, each with its status indication. The proceedings are now available freely in two parts:

Tuesday, January 17, 2006 1:44:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 16, 2006

Announcements on the ITU-T Newslog include:

  • ITU-T in cooperation with Light Reading is organizing an NGN Free Online Seminar on January 23 2006. The event will be hosted by Light Reading and feature key players in ITU’s work on NGN. For further information, see this announcement.
  • An NGN Technology and Standardization workshop sponsored by ITU-T and the US Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA from 19 to 20 March 2006 in conjunction with the TelecomNEXT event. For more details, see this announcement.
Monday, January 16, 2006 2:38:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ofcom commissioned Spectrum Strategy Consultants to help develop the scope of a new NGN industry body which it does in a report linked from this page, as proposed in this consultation. Spectrum’s recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of Ofcom. Ofcom continues to discuss a range of issues in relation to NGNs with industry stakeholders. These discussions include the scope and role of any NGN industry body.

From the Executive Summary of the report.

Introduction

In its “Next Generation Networks: Further consultation”, held between 30 June and 12 August 2005 , Ofcom proposed the creation of an industry body tasked with the co-ordination of the UK telecoms industry’s transition to NGN core networks. The respondents to the consultation generally agreed that there was a need to address NGN issues that are currently not being covered by existing bodies. However, there was less consensus as to how to do this, and many respondents questioned what the purpose, scope and mechanics of a new NGN Body would be.

This report outlines a proposal for the purpose and role of an NGN Body. It also sets out a proposed organisational and governance structure. It does not include a review of Ofcom’s proposal to establish an Operational Adjudicator.

The recommendations in this document are based on a series of 32 interviews with representatives from the industry, Ofcom, and other industry bodies. We have endeavoured to reflect the views of the majority of stakeholders interviewed and to suggest pragmatic solutions to concerns raised. We expect that the proposals set out in this report will be refined as Ofcom embarks on further engagement with key stakeholders in the NGN transition.

Summary of recommendations

We recommend that Ofcom and the stakeholders in the UK telecoms industry proceed with setting up an NGN Body. We believe that such a body would benefit all stakeholders in the transition of the UK telecommunications industry to NGNs and help to ensure a smooth transition for both industry and end-users.

We propose the creation of an NGN Body in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • The body’s purpose should be to develop a joint vision and framework for the transition to NGNs that encompasses commercial, technical and operational issues
  • It will issue recommendations to the industry
  • In order to function effectively, the body will require a stringent governance and organisational structure:

    • its membership should be inclusive; stakeholders will be able to participate in workgroups on specific issues independent of size and degree of infrastructure ownership
    • in order to function effectively, the NGN body will need a strong figurehead as a chairman supported by a well-resourced management team equipped with strategic, technical and programme management expertise
    • a board consisting of 8-10 industry representatives needs to be appointed to approve the body’s recommendations and to drive its agenda forward
    • the organisation will be independent, accountable only to its members
    • Ofcom should adopt the role of an active observer

  • The body should be owned and funded by industry in order to enable its independence. However, Ofcom will need to play a leading role during the set-up phase
  • The body is required as soon as possible and should be set up within the next six to seven months; it is expected to have a lifetime of 3-4 years
Thursday, January 05, 2006 4:42:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 23, 2005

The European Regional Seminar on Regulatory and Economic Aspects of VoIP and Broadband Promotion for Central Eastern European countries (CEE), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Baltic States took place from the 29 to 30 November 2005, in Istanbul, Turkey. The agenda and presentations made at the meeting are available.

Friday, December 23, 2005 1:45:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 20, 2005

ITU-T Study Group 2 has approved at its December 2005 meeting, ITU-T Recommendation E.910: Procedures for Registration with the Domain ".int". This Recommendation clarifies the principles and procedures for the registration of names under the Internet top-level domain ".int" and the process by which qualified international organizations can register for domain names under ".int".

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 4:20:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Net's basic flaws cost firms billions, impede innovation, and threaten national security. It's time for a clean-slate approach, says MIT's Dave Clark. This article, the cover story in Technology Review’s December 2005/January 2006 print issue, is divided into three parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. [via James Seng]

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 9:34:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Dr. Roger Marks, the Chair of the IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access has announced that a mobile version of IEEE 802.16 has been approved (now officially called IEEE Std 802.16-2004). The amended standard specifies a system for combined fixed and mobile BWA supporting subscriber stations moving at vehicular speeds in licensed bands under 6 GHz. The official press release announcement can be found here. The WiMAX Forum will now expand their certification process to include mobile as well as fixed systems.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 2:22:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 25, 2005

Internet governance: A tale of community structure and individual initiative by David Allen.

On one side, the Internet community argues for the informality and flexibility necessary for innovation – that is, for individual initiative – to flourish. On the other side, some governments call for more formality and the stable base – that is, for community structure – upon which ongoing operations and change can both occur.

Friday, November 25, 2005 3:26:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 21, 2005

LightReading has an article on the recent NGN Industry Event in London on 18 November 2005, where ITU unveiled Release 1 standards for NGN by ITU-T's Focus Group on Next-Generation Networks (FGNGN). The event also outlined the next phase of NGN work to be progressed under the banner of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI). In the presentation (Zipped PowerPoint) by BT Group Technology Officer Mick Reeve:

"...the world's telecom standards groups are, at last, all singing from the same song sheet with their work on next-generation network (NGN) standards.

"Addressing an International Telecommunication Union meeting in London today, Reeve, a key figure in the development of BT's 21st Century Network (21CN), praised the ITU for its role in bringing together the work of many different groups around the world and delivering a unified vision of what an NGN should look like and deliver. (See BT Unveils 21CN Suppliers, Bross: More to Come on 21CN, and Wales to Get 21CN First.)

"The ITU has done a great job in finding a global agreement on NGNs. There's a high level of agreement globally about NGN principles" that has helped deliver an "overall architecture for next generation networks and systems, something that has been unheard of before now," says the BT man. He cited the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), TeleManagement Forum, and Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) as organizations that have helped in the ITU's work."  

Other presentations made at the event can be found here.

Monday, November 21, 2005 10:44:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The WSIS Stocktaking Report has been officially launched during the World Summit on the Infrmation Society in Tunis. The report has been prepared on the basis of activities entered to the WSIS Stocktaking Database that by November 2005 contained more then 2500 entries. 

For the launch presentation see Stocktaking.pdf (1.47 MB).

For the WSIS Stocktaking Database see here

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 10:50:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 11, 2005

From the soon to be released ITU Internet Report 2005: The Internet of Things comes this fresh survey data showing the breakdown of 3G mobile technologies according to markets. ITU research shows CDMA 2000 1x technology currently has 115 million subscribers while W-CDMA technology has 18.8 million subscribers at the end of 2004. 

 

Friday, November 11, 2005 4:35:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 07, 2005

For the upcoming Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) to be held in Hammamet, Tunisia, 14-15 November 2005, just before the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the ITU has released a paper by Tracy Cohen, Olli Mattila and Russel Southwood, entitled VoIP and Regulation, which will be presented at the GSR:

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is generally viewed as a “disruptive technology”. All the current market indications show that IP networks and services like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) will replace traditional PSTN networks and services. ITU estimates that by 2008, at least 50 percent of international minutes will be carried on IP networks and that many carriers will have all-IP networks. Recent trends are certainly headed in this direction. For example, in the United States, residential VoIP subscriber numbers have increased from 150,000 at the end of 2003 to over 2 million in March 2005. It is predicted that subscribers in the US will exceed 4.1 million by 2006, generating over USD 1 billion in gross revenues for the year. In March 2005, the Chilean broadband operator VTR launched the first telecommunication network for residential services based on IP technology. The operator expects to expand its platform and reach 2 million customers in five years. There are approximately 35,000 residential telephones that use IP technology in Chile, either through Chilean operators or through Vonage...

This paper examines how VoIP services will affect future regulation. Due to the starkly contrasting global perceptions of VoIP however, it is difficult to present a unified approach to regulatory treatment of VoIP and this paper aims to reflect regulatory experiences from a wide range of countries that are grappling with the transition to VoIP. The three sections of this paper are structured to answer both the broad and specific questions raised by VoIP services, including the overall approach to regulating VoIP as a mainstream service; how VoIP has changed voice business models and the various ways of classifying the services it has created; and finally, other related issues frequently raised in connection with VoIP, such as quality of service; network integrity; emergency calling, numbering, communication security and lawful interception.

Monday, November 07, 2005 11:23:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, November 06, 2005

For the upcoming Global Symposium for Regulators (GSR) to be held in Hammamet, Tunisia, 14-15 November 2005, just before the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the ITU has released a paper by John Palfrey entitled Stemming the International Tide of Spam: a Draft Model Law, which will be presented at the GSR:

This discussion paper primarily takes up the question of what – beyond coordinating with technologists and other countries’ enforcement teams and educating consumers – legislators and regulators might consider by way of legal mechanisms. First, the paper takes up the elements that might be included in an anti-spam law. Second, the paper explores one alternative legal mechanism which might be built into an anti-spam strategy, the establishment of enforceable codes of conduct for Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Third, this paper also examines a variant of the legal approach where ISPs are formally encouraged by regulators to develop their own code of conduct. ISPs should be encouraged to establish and enforce narrowly-drawn codes of conduct that prohibit their users from using that ISP as a source for spamming and related bad acts, such as spoofing and phishing, and not to enter into peering arrangements with ISPs that do not uphold similar codes of conduct. Rather than continue to rely upon chasing individual spammers, regulators in the most resource-constrained countries in particular would be more likely to succeed by working with and through the ISPs that are closer to the source of the problem, to their customers, and to the technology in question. The regulator’s job would be to ensure that ISPs within their jurisdiction adopt adequate codes of conduct as a condition of their operating license and then to enforce adherence to those codes of conduct. The regulator can also play a role in sharing best practices among ISPs and making consumers aware of the good works of the best ISPs. While effectively just shifting the burden of some of the anti-spam enforcement to ISPs is not without clear drawbacks, and cannot alone succeed in stemming the tide of spam, such a policy has a far higher likelihood of success in the developing countries context than the anti-spam enforcement tactics employed to date.

Sunday, November 06, 2005 3:19:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 31, 2005

According to the ITU-T Newslog, a roadmap identifying NGN management specifications has been published on the ITU-T SG 4 website.

Monday, October 31, 2005 2:02:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T Newslog has a post on work in ITU’s Study Group 17 work on Relayed Multicast Protocol (RMCP), that uses a peer-to-peer type model. RMCP allows the live broadcast of video or audio piggy-backing off other users (or servers). So in a scenario where 100 people are demanding a live broadcast, instead of serving each one of these clients their own video stream, only one stream has to be provided and each user will be served from another in the network. This has significant implications for instance for businesses broadcasting live events, where a previous scenario demanded 100 users be fed individual feeds, RMCP allows the broadcast of just one.

ITU-T has published one Recommendation (ITU-T Rec. X.603) on the topic outlining requirements, framework etc. The next two Recommendations due in 2006 will focus on the technical specifications. One focusing on one broadcaster to many clients, and the other on many broadcasters to many clients.

Monday, October 31, 2005 10:47:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T Newslog has a detailed post on the recent home networking workshop and related ITU-T home networking standards. The event, held at ITU 13-14 October 2005 met concurrently was the Home Networking-Joint Coordination Activity (HN-JCA), a group of ITU-T experts aiming to coordinate standardization effort on home networking across ITU-T Study Groups.

The high quality and breadth of the contributions resulted in a wealth of material much of which is not available anywhere else in the world, according to the event’s steering committee chair Charlie Sandbank. Because of time constraints not all this material could be presented at the workshop but it is now available, including the key conclusions, at the workshop website.

Monday, October 31, 2005 10:46:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The ITU-T Newslog has a post on ITU's standards work on large screen digital imagery (LSDI), a family of digital imagery systems that includes very large screen presentation of programmes similar to the non-digital IMAX and OMNIMAX systems. LSDI is described as an optimal approach to the presentation of high-definition television (HDTV) programmes, to a collective audience on cinema-like screens in a cinema-like environment.

An ITU-T Recommendation defines how "super HDTV" images – up to four times the quality of standard HDTV - can be delivered to cinema-like venues, bypassing traditional distribution methods. It defines transport technologies for LSDI with resolutions 3840 x 2160 and 7680 x 4320 pixels.

Monday, October 31, 2005 9:42:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 28, 2005

NetWizard's Blog points to an Email Battles interview with Meng Wong, creator of SPF and his ideas on using RSS for email presented at the recent MAAWG meeting in Europe.

Friday, October 28, 2005 1:30:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

This recent presentation What2what (was end2end): the future of the Internet by Scott Bradner discusses the disappearing end-to-end nature of the Internet and the reasons, evolution to NGN, as well as his views on how innovation may slow down.

Friday, October 28, 2005 8:29:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Warren New's Washington Internet Daily is reporting on the recent ITU-T Study Group 17 meeting activities that related to IDN and countering spam: 

Facilitating internationalized domain names and new measures to counter spam via technical means are part of an ITU push to meet member states' demands for more security standardization.

Last Oct.'s World Telecom Standardization Assembly in Brazil added 2 work items to the agenda of the group, called ITU-T SG-17: The first is to study IDNs, which raise a major security issue because "some national characters can make a user think he is going to one place, but really going to another place," said Herbert Bertine of Lucent, chmn. of SG-17: "We are looking to make sure that when you use internationalized domain names, the possibility that users can be confused, misdirected," will be reduced.

"The belief is that IDN implementation will contribute to easier and greater use of the Internet in those countries where the native or official languages are not yet represented in ASCII characters," documents said. Andrzej Bartosiewicz, head of the DNS Div. at Poland's NASK has been named the group's reporting member on IDNs. The SG will assess ITU members' needs in light of existing standards, he said.

SG-17 has seen "an enormous increase [of work] in the area of security," said Bertine. SG-17 published 5 security recommendations in the last 4-year study period, which ended late in 2004. Bertine said the SG may produce 15-20 during the next period, but said much of the work is in its infancy.

Countering spam by technical means is a new security area for SG-17. Spam has policy, regulatory, legal and technical aspects, but the SG will address the technical side of spam fighting. "A lot of work has been done by IETF," said Bertine. "There's a lot of [standards] material out there. We don't want to duplicate work. We want to leverage and reference" what's other standards bodies have done and fill gaps, said Bertine, "but we have a lot of countries -- particularly developing countries -- who are really looking for the ITU to provide this information."

How spammers do what they do is under consideration; but more important is that spam is not only unwanted e- mail but now a vehicle for viruses and other malware, said Bertine.

SG 17 is working with the ISO/IEC (the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission) on new to be designated as the 27,000 series and dealing with information security management systems, officials said. Bertine thinks the new series will result in companies finding that "it's in their best interest to be certified, whether it means better insurance rates, less liability because you can claim conformance... plus the most fundamental, if you've got vulnerabilities, you sure want to catch them because it's going to cost you a pile of money if somebody discovers a major weakness."

"The field of information technology and the field of communications continue to overlap and merge more and more every year. That's why collaboration is so important," said Bertine.

At this meeting it was also decide to adopt OASIS' Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) and Extensible Access Control Markup Language (XACML) into ITU-T standards.

A list of documents from the last meeting of SG-17 is available here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 8:58:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 20, 2005

NTT Docomo has announced a new 3G handset that can receive S-band satellite broadcasting. Korea has also deployed what it calls Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) to handsets in its native market. The definition of DMB according to a proposal from Korea to the ITU Standardization Sector to include DMB in the reference architecture for NGN Release 2 efforts is:

DMB Service is the next generation digital broadcasting service for indoor and outdoor users. The DMB users can enjoy CD quality stereo audio services and real-time video/data streaming services anywhere while moving at the speed of up to 200 km/h. ...There are two kinds of DMB services, terrestrial DMB and satellite DMB.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 11:38:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 14, 2005

Home Networking is the linking of all types of electronic devices for applications such as entertainment, telecommunication, home automation systems and telemetry (remote control and monitoring systems). And given the wide range of previously unrelated technologies involved, standards that allow for interoperability are seen as key to the successful marketing of the concept.

Now taking place at the ITU is a workshop on Opportunities and Challenges in Home Networking. The event is organized by ITU-T Study Group 9, in cooperation with several other ITU-T study groups and various organizations outside of ITU. It follows the Workshop on Home Networking and Home Services held 17-18 June 2004, Tokyo.

Study Group 9 has been working on standardization in home networking systems for more than four years. It has already approved three ITU-T Recommendations in the field, particularly dealing with IP-based multimedia services over cable networks. A current focus is a new Recommendation that will specify ways to bridge conditional access systems (that ensure payment in pay TV for example) to digital rights management (DRM) systems, an important step toward smooth operation of fully integrated home networking.

This workshop will bring together experts from all over the world who are pushing forward the frontiers of this fast-moving field. It will provide an overview of the technology as well as an examination of standards that address access, services, performance, Quality of Service, electromagnetic interference and security issues. The workshop will deal with current technology and future trends to provide a framework for moving forward standardization work. Attention will be given to both the technology and service aspects of this new technology.

The programme can be found here with links to the presentations. Highlights include:

  • Worldwide Status of Home Networking
  • Home Network Architecture and Technologies (including an update on UPnP and DLNA)
  • Home Networking Services and Business Models
  • Security and Digital Rights Management
  • Quality of Service in the Home Network
  • Electromagnetic Interference in the Home Environment
  • The Home Networking Future: Efforts and Challenges
Friday, October 14, 2005 10:13:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 13, 2005

Update: The ITU-T Newslog has a related article entitled ITU powers the iPod Generation.

Nice to see Apple's new iPod supporting the ITU-T H.264 video codec which came out of work in the Joint Video Team. Or as it is referred to in ITU-T official related standards (which are called Recommendations):

Congratulations to the JVT team for producing an incredibly efficient codec for both streaming and stored formats.

H.264 is "no doubt the best codec there is, offering a great coding efficiency," Tim Schaaff, vice president of the interactive-media group at Apple Computer Inc., said at IBC last week.

More from the ITU-T's News Flash in 2004: Video Codec's March Continues

Following the news that H.264/AVC (Advanced Video Coding) has been adopted for use in next generation high definition DVDs, the codec's popularity seems to be growing daily. Recent reports have shown a raft of companies announcing deployment plans and demos at industry events.

The video compression standard (full name H.264 or MPEG-4 pt.10/ AVC) jointly developed by ITU-T and the Moving Picture Experts Group (
MPEG) is now being deployed in products from companies including Apple, Sony, BT, France Telecom, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Polycom, Samsung, Tandberg and Toshiba.

"Apple is firmly behind H.264 because it delivers superb quality digital video and is based on open standards that no single company controls," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing in a company press release.

Apple’s website describes H.264: "This ultra-efficient, fully scalable video technology produces higher quality video at lower data rates for everything from 3G to HD."

Reports from the recent National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas say that there were dozens of announcements and demonstrations of H.264.

H.264/AVC is the first truly scalable video codec, delivering excellent quality across the entire bandwidth spectrum - from high definition television to videoconferencing and 3G mobile multimedia. The dramatically increased compression performance of H.264 will enable existing applications like videoconferencing, streaming video over the Internet, and digital television on satellite and cable to offer better quality video at lower cost. It will also allow new video applications such as High-Definition TV on DVD, video on mobile phones, and videoconferencing over low bandwidth connections that were previously impractical because of economics or technology.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 12:36:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 11, 2005

News from the wonderful world of the directories (PowerPoint) presented to ITU-T Study Group 17 by Erik Andersen, Denmark gives an update on:

  • X.500/LDAP X.500 enhancements
    • Concept of Friends
    • Attributes
    • Paging on the DSP
    • Maximum alignment with LDAP
    • Enhancements to Public-key and Attribute certificates
  • Enhancements to ITU-T Rec. E.115 (2005) Computerized Directory Assistance 
    • OSI stack removed
    • Home grown TCP/IP support integrated in text
    • Specifies two versions of the protocol
    • Version 1:
      • The 1995 edition + all agreed extensions
      • All keywords specified in Annex
      • Complete rewrite and restructuring of 1995 edition
      • Added clarifications ASN.1 BER encoding
      • Support mandatory
    • Version 2:
      • Keywords replaced by new fields – keyword concept no longer used
      • Several new enhancements
      • ASN.1 BER and XML (or ASN.1 XER) encoding
      • Future extensions using ITU-T procedure
Tuesday, October 11, 2005 12:50:27 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 10, 2005

According to an article in ZDNET UK, User authentication for email "may be worse than useless" at preventing the spread of spam, according to Nick Fitzgerald, security consultant at Computer Virus Consulting.

As an anti-spam measure, SPF is broken before it's implemented, as it's not just breakable, it's trivial to break," Fitzgerald told an audience at the Virus Bulletin conference in Dublin on Friday.

"Knowing a message arrived SPF compliantly tells us nothing about the actual sender and the 'spaminess' of the message," Fitzgerald added, claiming that SPF has been "widely hyped" as solving the problem of user authentication.

Fitzgerald's views were challenged by other conference attendees, who insisted that SPF would play a valuable role in fighting unsolicited junk email.

Also see John Levine argues that SPF is losing market mindshare and a related article on ZDNET with more details.

Monday, October 10, 2005 8:33:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 07, 2005

Promoting Global Cybersecurity, PDF, Robert Shaw, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, 6 October 2005, presented to ITU-T Study Group 17 Meeting (Geneva, Switzerland)

Friday, October 07, 2005 10:10:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 05, 2005

ITU, together with sponsors BT, Cisco, Motorola, Nortel and Siemens, is holding a one day event to mark a new milestone in ITU’s work on next-generation networks (NGN). The event will present an overview of NGN work so far, details on future directions, and some of the key business drivers for NGN. In addition to announcing completion of work on the Release 1 standards for NGN by ITU-T’s Focus Group on Next-Generation Networks (FGNGN), the event will communicate the next phase of NGN work, dubbed the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI).

Press are invited to attend for the whole day, specific sessions or just for lunch, which will be preceded by a panel session. There will also be opportunities for one-on-one interviews with key NGN players from the world’s leading telcos and systems vendors.

For more details click here.

Operators from around the globe are implementing NGN strategies and plan to invest billions of dollars in the rollout of new packet-based networks. Their involvement in global standards-making stimulates innovation and more robust technology, fosters interoperability and multi-vendor product offerings, and protects current and future investment.

The operators, systems vendors and governments driving this standardization work believe NGN will deliver substantial cost savings through the economies of scale inherent in a single converged network. They believe international standards will facilitate an open market for systems, lowering costs and providing for mix-and-match implementation and global interoperability. NGN will benefit consumers through innovative new services, greater control and personalization, ease of migration between services, and continuity for existing services.

The event is aimed at professionals involved in product planning and service creation for systems vendors and service providers.

A limited number of places will be made available for journalists. Journalists interested in attending should contact ITU’s Toby Johnson.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 11:38:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Network World has an article on the evolution of IP-based networks that notes there are divergent views among standards bodies such as the ITU and the IETF, on the future evolution of the internet.

"The current Internet model is the stupid network model, where the network doesn't know what applications you're running and doesn't try to be helpful," he says. "The ITU's model [is] where the network is application-aware and can provide specific extra support for a particular application, such as VoIP. That session will compare what their strengths and weaknesses are, and hopefully out of it we can get some idea of what the future is going to look like."

Bradner says the ITU's model is designed to provide defined and guaranteed QoS, while the Internet is a best-effort model based on bandwidth capacity. He says both are applicable given the network circumstances - if there's plenty of bandwidth, there's no need for QoS controls; if not, there is.

The future of the 'Net could be shaped in large part by the need to support peer-to-peer applications and Web-based services, which use peer-to-peer protocols. This type of traffic is growing in use and importance in enterprise networks and on the 'Net, especially as companies move to SOAs designed to support peer-to-peer and message-based transmissions.

Are we heading for a future of dumb or smart networks? This recent piece in BCR Magazine on Making Networks Smart suggests that industry players on both the network side (e.g., Cisco and Juniper) and applications side (e.g., Microsoft, IBM, Sun, BEA) are making moves in the latter direction. Initiatives like the IPSphere Forum suggest that both the equipment manufacturers and the major service providers are on the same strategy:

The goal of the IPsphere forum is to create an industry call to action to create public networks that combine the reach of the Internet with the assured performance and security of a private network. This new approach is designed to overcome the current limitations of the Internet through the creation of "IPspheres," delivering an enriched experience for consumers, business-critical performance, and opening new markets for service providers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005 11:42:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 23, 2005

The Chair of WSIS Phase 2 Prepcom-3 Sub-Committee A dealing with Internet Governance has released a chair's draft of Chapter 3: Internet Governance for consideration of Sub-Committee A.

Friday, September 23, 2005 10:19:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 22, 2005

EC Press Release: The European Commission has adopted today a proposal for a Directive on the retention of communications traffic data. The proposal provides for an EU-wide harmonisation of the obligations on providers of publicly available electronic communications, or a public telecommunications network, to retain data related to mobile and fixed telephony for a period of one year, and internet communication data, for six month. The proposed Directive would not be applicable to the actual content of the communications. It also includes a provision ensuring that the service or network providers will be reimbursed for the demonstrated additional costs they will have. For its adoption, the proposal requires the approval both of the European Parliament and the Council. The Council is currently discussing an alternative text, a Framework Decision which would allow for data retention of up to 3 years and could be adopted by the Council alone. A related memo with additional information is available.

Thursday, September 22, 2005 10:36:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A circular letter (Word) from the Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector's Bureau provides an update on structure of ITU's future NGN standardization activites. The Focus Group on NGN (FGNGN) will have its final meeting on 14-18 November 2005 and it has been agreed that further work on NGN will be progressed under the banner of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI) involving, in addition to NGN related Rapporteur Groups of Study Groups 11, 13 and 19, those from Study Groups 12, 15, 16 and other Study Groups as appropriate.

Thursday, September 22, 2005 9:53:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Richard Stastny's blog has post on a panel session at VON on the future of numbering in the context of IP where he states the highlight of the session was a statement from John Klensin that "ENUM is dead, the window is closed".

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 8:33:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At the recent meeting of Study Group 11 a number of documents relating to the international emergency preference scheme (IEPS) were consented. IEPS aims to provide authorised emergency personnel a higher probability of successful communication under high network load conditions such as those that might occur in an emergency.

Among the topics dealt with at the meeting were signalling for support of IEPS to comply with ITU-T Recommendation E.106. E.106 provides guidelines for extending national emergency preference schemes across international boundaries. Because Recommendations in this area have potential national and regulatory policy implications, it was agreed to consider the documents under the traditional approval process (TAP) rather than under the alternative approval process (AAP). 

ITU maintains a webpage detailing its work in the area of Emergency Telecommunications.

Via ITU-T Newslog

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 11:20:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 19, 2005

SwissInfo is reporting that data-protection commissioners from 40 countries have called on the United Nations to prepare a binding legal instrument to enhance data protection.

A related press release and the final Montreux Declaration are available.

Monday, September 19, 2005 3:26:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 15, 2005

ITU-T, in collaboration with the European Union’s IPv6 Task Force Steering Committee (EU IPv6 TF-SC) and the IPv6 Forum, organized an IPv6 workshop at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, June 22-23, 2005.

A final report of the workshop is now available on the workshop website.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 5:09:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Country Code 1 ENUM Limited Liability Company has published a letter (PDF) from the US State Department concerning the terms and conditions for the US government to approve the delegation of the +1 country code for ENUM trials.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 3:17:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

September has got off to a flying start as far as Next-Generation Networks (NGN) work in ITU is concerned. The important milestone of the Release 1 set of standards is on track for November (2005) and sufficient momentum has been achieved to ensure that the next stages of NGN work will be carried out with similar efficiency.

The continuation of the NGN study by ITU will be re-branded the NGN-Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI).

Houlin Zhao, Director of TSB, ITU-T's secretariat said: "I am very pleased with the progress and the results achieved by the Focus Group on next-generation networks (FGNGN ). These first results will provide the building blocks on which the world's systems vendors and service providers can start to make this monumental shift to NGN. We have the momentum, the tools and the will to continue this significant and important work."

Agreement on a future plan is clear and the Focus Group on next-generation networks (FGNGN) has been putting the finishing touches to Release 1 before formally submitting it into the Study Group system.

The FGNGN met in Geneva 24 August - 2 September alongside meetings of Study Groups 11 , 13 and 19 (2005), themselves all having elements of NGN work. Each FGNGN meeting has seen increased participation and contributions according to management.

The group chaired by Chae-Sub Lee of Korea is expecting to see completion of its Release 1 set of standards, at its November 2005 meeting in London, UK. A one day briefing session following that meeting will serve as an overview of the work, as well as an opportunity to promote future direction and business drivers.

The first draft of an allocation table for the distribution of work following the November meeting was also agreed. This type of activity as well as the development of a prototype project management tool, is seen as important in order to keep NGN work, that cuts across the study groups, aligned, coherent and consistent.

According to FGNGN chairman Lee, an important focus of the work at this Geneva meeting are the quality of service (QoS) aspects that will allow - for example - services like IPTV to be offered with the same broadcast quality as traditional TV. The Focus Group expects that there will be more than ten deliverables on QoS that will be submitted into the Study Group system for approval as ITU-T products such as Recommendations. Additionally the topic of fixed-mobile convergence saw much discussion in the meeting according to Lee.

FGNGN also saw the document that describes the scope for NGN standards in ITU reaching near maturity, an important step, according to meeting insiders. The document that gives an overview of what Release 1 is expected to cover in terms of services, capabilities and high level objectives was described in the meeting's report as 'very stable'. Additionally much progress was made on another crucial document describing Release 1 requirements.

Via ITU-T Newslog.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 2:56:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Leaders from the leading national and regional telecommunications and radio standards organizations and a delegation from ITU consisting of both high-level secretariat staff and Study Group chairs met 28 August - 2 September, at The Tenth Global Standards Collaboration meeting (GSC-10).

The mission of the GSC is to exchange information between participating standards organizations to facilitate collaboration and to support the process of global telecommunication standardization in the ITU. The event was hosted by ETSI in Sophia Antipolis, France.

Participants at GSC-10 included the Australian Communications Industry Forum (ACIF), Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB) of Japan, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) from the US, the China Communications Standards Association (CCSA), the Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC) of Japan, the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) of Korea, the ICT Standards Advisory Council of Canada (ISACC), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Guests and observers included representatives from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT), the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) and the Sector Board 4 of International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Specific resolutions on the following topics were agreed at the meeting:

  • Next-Generation Networks
  • Mapping Standards for "Systems Beyond IMT 2000"
  • Cybersecurity
  • Home Networking
  • Emergency Communications
  • Broadband Services in Rural and Remote Areas
  • Open Standards
  • Facilitating Liaison in relation to Measurement Methodologies for Assessing Human Exposure to RF Energy
  • Wireless access including RLANs, Ad-Hoc Networking and Broadband Wireless Access
  • Supporting Automotive Crash Notification ("ACN") by Public Wireless Communications Networks
  • Radio Microphones and Cordless Audio Devices
  • RFID Systems, Services and Networking
  • Public Protection & Disaster Relief
  • Ultra Wide Band
  • Intellectual Property Rights Policies
  • User Interest Working Group

Other areas discussed were:

  • Location-based Services
  • Internet Protocol over Wireless
  • Software defined radio & Cognitive radio
  • Digital Broadcasting including mobile multimedia applications
  • Satellite services

ITU maintains a repository of documents relating to this and all past GSC meetings.

Via the ITU-T Newslog.

Thursday, September 15, 2005 9:22:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 13, 2005

"Industry has agreed on the technical direction for NGN" (next generation networks), said Keith Dickerson, BT head of standards and co-leader of ITU-T Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) Working Group 7 on future packet-based networks. "We shouldn't have interoperability problems when the NGN is deployed," he said.

FGNGN's job is to define network architecture and requirements to support fixed-mobile convergence, letting a fixed-line operator provide the same services as a network operator offering 3GPP defined services, for example, using IMS, said Dick Knight of BT vice chairman of FGNGN: "Thus equipment can be connected to either a fixed or mobile network [and] receive the same services, and a dedicated device, such as a phone, may roam between a 3GPP or 3GPP2 network and a fixed line network."

Fixed-mobile convergence will be enabled by extending the 3GPP IMS to provide the same services over the fixed network, said Dickerson: "BT is pushing for emulation of PSTN services to meet the 2009 deadline, when we'll be closing down PSTN... BT plans to move all its customers to its 21st Century Network," BT's version of the NGN, by 2009.

"FGNGN has given strategic and technical direction to industry, and enables a network operator to offer new services in new markets: Presence, IM, maybe in the future broadcast digital TV and video on demand. The design of a flexible service platform enables the networks to innovate to provide almost any capabilities and services we can imagine," Knight said.

FGNGN's main product will be Release 1, which "is a set of capabilities," said Keith Mainwaring of Cisco, co- leader of the FGNGN Working Group on Quality fo Service (QoS) and member of ITU Study Group 11, "one that specifies the mechanisms to provide NGN services. Defining the mechanisms will be assigned back to ITU Study Groups." With most standards "quite stable," the group is getting ready for final comments, "expected to be mostly of an editorial nature," said Chae-Sub Lee of Korea's Electronics Telecom Research Institute (ETRI), FGNGN chairman. QoS documents will comprise about 40% of Release 1. Among the group's 6 or so expected independent releases may be 12-14 QoS documents, said Lee.

Release 1 is due to be completed Nov. 18 in London, and a day later Cisco, Motorola, BT and Siemens will sponsor an industry event at which CTOs plan to speak on how firms will use the NGN standards.

The full text can be accessed through Warren's Washington Internet Daily.

For more information on the topics above, see the ITU FGNGN website.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 4:12:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The recent Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Symposium on Network Security and SPAM presented background information, detailed the current situation, new developments and steps ahead on network security and fighting spam in the Asia-Pacific region.

TSB presented highlights of ITU-T work on security, also detailing the level of participation of the AP region in Study Group 17, the ITU-T group that looks at security issues. Mr Jianyong Chen (ITU-T SG 17 Vice Chair from China ) also attended the event and made a detailed presentation on current SG 17 work. He also chaired two sessions.

In addition TSB presented the results of the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity held in Geneva , 28 June – 1 July 2005. The meeting was organized in three full-day sessions and was attended by some 70 representatives from the Asia-Pacific area. The first day was dedicated to cybersecurity, the second to countering spam, and the third to cooperation initiatives.

The complete set of presentations given at the APT meeting can be downloaded here. The meeting invited AP countries to step-up their capability building initiatives and encouraged APT to increase its collaboration on network security and spam with international organizations working in the area.

For more information, see the ITU-T Newslog.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 4:07:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 05, 2005

Among other things, the report makes scenario-based demand projections focusing on the next 10 years but extending to 20 years, for cellular, fixed link, broadband wireless access, satellite and terrestrial TV broadcasting services, while concentrating on the major uses and users of spectrum below 15GHz.

For the full report click here.

This story was accessed through Roger Darlington's weblog.

Monday, September 05, 2005 11:09:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, looks into the possibility to end RFID licence fees as an attempt to boost RFID development. RFID licence fees may be scrapped after Ofcom launched a consultation on making the technology available free of charge to supply chain users. Currently anyone developing or testing the technology has to pay an annual fee of £50 for every site that uses it.

"The European Conference of Telecommunications and Postal Administrations recommended last year that RFID be made free of charge to encourage further adoption. Ofcom is now seeking to allow RFID users to utilise the standard 865-868MHz radio frequency without payment."

René de Sousa, senior procurement specialist at CIPS, said: 'This can only be to the benefit of a more integrated use of technology and increase business efficiency and effectiveness.' He added that a Europe-wide exemption from fees would also aid the technology’s take-up. David Lyon, business manager for RFID standards body EPCglobal, said it would make trials cheaper and easier. 'It’s an administration and cost headache to get a licence,' he said. Tesco said it had anticipated the move and was already using the standard for its RFID trial."

"Chris Hopper, marketing manager at RFID printer manufacturer Printronix, said the plan would help to close the gap in adoption between Europe and the US. 'Legislative uncertainty has been one of the primary barriers to adoption.'"

Ofcom's consultation period runs until 12 September.

For the full article featured in the SupplyManagement TechZone online magazine, click here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005 10:52:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Saturday, August 27, 2005

The ITU Standardization Bureau, ITU-T, hosted the 36th Joint Picture Experts Group (JPEG) Meeting, held in Geneva between July 18-22.

The JPEG, formed many years ago jointly by ITU-T Study Group 16 and ISO/IEC JTC1 Study Group 29, is renowned for its JPEG and JPEG-2000 image compression standards.

In ITU-T, Study Group 16 is home to all media coding work, such as the H-Series of Recommendations, and includes work done together with ISO/IEC's JPEG, and JPEG-2000 groups in image compression, as well as work done with MPEG in developing video compression standards such as H.264. ISO/IEC JTC1 SG 29 is the focal point in ISO/IEC JTC1 for image, video and audio compression standards. The meeting surveyed the progress of technologies broached in the previous JPEG meeting, held in Lisbon in March 2005, including image security in JPEG-2000 which is being addressed by JPEG’s JPSEC ad hoc group. The group is developing a standard that will enable protected images to retain JPEG-2000 system features, such as scalability. This new feature within JPEG images will allow international distribution of digital images containing encrypted content, while still retaining the ability to adaptively deliver content for a wide variety of devices with varying display capabilities. The meeting also followed up on JPEG’s Digital Cinema ad hoc group and its advances in developing profiles for JPEG-2000 digital cinema applications. The Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) organization has adopted JPEG-2000 for future distribution of digital movies to theatres. JPEG is working closely with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) to standardize aspects of this future architecture.

The Video and Image Coding and Applications (VICA) workshop, 22-23 July 2005, which followed the ITU-T-hosted JPEG meeting, aimed to build upon the presence of JPEG and ITU-T SG 16 experts (who met July 26 - August 5 this year). The workshop reviewed existing video and image compression standards, their current applications, and future directions in the field.

More information on the workshop can be found here.

Saturday, August 27, 2005 8:31:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Standards that may accelerate the adoption of VoIP in corporate environments and resolve an issue that has slowed down the adoption of videoconferencing have been completed by ITU-T.

The standards from ITU-T’s multimedia Study Group (Study Group 16) provide a robust and easy to implement solution that will allow any H.323 based system communicating on an IP network to more easily communicate across the boundary imposed by NAT or firewalls (FW).

Videoconferencing and VoIP have long been plagued with problems when trying to work across network address translation (NAT) and firewall boundaries. Despite previous attempts to address the issue, no standardized way of dealing with the problem has emerged until now. 

Without the ITU solution many network managers and operators have found that the only way to allow inbound VoIP calls in a firewall-protected environment is to leave a permanent hole from the outside world, open a range of port numbers for VoIP use, or locate devices outside of the firewall. Clearly, these solutions violate even the most basic security policies. 

Recommendation H.460.18 enables H.323 devices to exchange signalling and establish calls, even when they are placed inside a private network behind NAT/FW devices. These extensions, when used together with Recommendation H.460.19, which defines NAT/FW traversal for media, enable upgraded H.323 endpoints to traverse NAT/FW installations with no additional equipment on the customer premises. Alternatively, the H.460.18 and H.460.19 functionality may be implemented in a proxy server, so that unmodified H.323 endpoints can also benefit from it.

Work on the related Recommendation H.248.37 was also finished at the Study Group meeting. Session border controllers (SBCs) are becoming an important part of the Internet infrastructure, and some SBCs are being split into media gateway controller (MGC) and media gateway (MG) components. One important function of a SBC is to perform network address and port translation (NAPT). H.248.37 allows the MGC to instruct a MG to latch to an address provided by an incoming Internet Protocol (IP) application data stream, rather than the address provided by the call/bearer control. This enables the MG to open a pinhole for data flow, and hence allow connections to be established. 

As well as these ITU-T Recommendations, Study Group 16 will shortly publish two technical papers on the topic: The Requirements for Network Address Translator and Firewall Traversal of H.323 Multimedia Systems and Firewall and NAT traversal Problems in H.323 Systems.

Via the ITU-T Newslog.

Saturday, August 27, 2005 8:24:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 25, 2005

Recommendation H.460.20 consented at the last Study Group 16 meeting solves the problem of how to provide location information in calls generated to/from H.323 systems. The Recommendation allows these systems – such as VoIP or videoconferencing – to convey information that could be a URL, an e-Mail, a postal code, or a mobile telephone number. This is much more than can be achieved with a traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN) call.

Currently calls generated or terminated in H.323 systems do not carry - end-to-end – details of where that call is coming from. This information is needed by the public switched telephone network (PSTN) for emergency services, more accurate billing and for routing the call. Additionally it is useful, for instance, in applications such as telemarketing where calls can be routed according to their origin. 

Technically H.460.20 gives H.323 the ability to convey the location number present in ISUP – the system that determines the set-up, co-ordination and taking down of calls. Without this ability location information is lost at the interworking edge between the IP network and the PSTN. An additional benefit is that it simplifies interworking with the session initiation protocol (SIP).

Via the ITU-T Newslog.

Thursday, August 25, 2005 9:15:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 05, 2005

The Chairman's report (PDF) from the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity held June 28 - July 1 2005 has been released.

The event was organized in the framework of the implementation of the Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action adopted on 12 December 2003, at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and in preparation for the Tunis phase of WSIS, to be held from 16 to 18 November, 2005. The event website provides links to the final agenda, all background papers, presentations, electronic contributions, the Chairman’s Report and audio archives.

The four-day meeting was structured to consider and debate six broad themes in promoting international dialogue and cooperative measures among governments, the private sector and other stakeholders as well as promotion of a global culture of cybersecurity. These include information sharing of national and regional approaches, good practices and guidelines; developing watch, warning and incident response capabilities; technical standards and industry solutions; harmonizing national legal approaches and international legal coordination; privacy, data and consumer protection; and developing countries and cybersecurity.

The first day of the meeting focused on countering spam as follow-up to the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Countering Spam, held in July 2004.

Friday, August 05, 2005 12:38:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, August 04, 2005

From the list of presentations (check for update):

Thursday, August 04, 2005 11:22:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 03, 2005

John Levine, Chair, IRTF Antispam Research Group (ASRG) writes in his weblog that the anti-spam Sender Policy Framework (SPF) email authentication scheme is losing market mindshare.

In a recent talk at an ITU Cybersecurity Event, Mr. Levine gave a presentation entitled The Limits of Security Technology: Lessons from the Spam Wars. In his talk, he asked the audience to reflect carefully as to how technology fits in to the overall solution. He stressed that technology can be morally and politically neutral but we need to decide exactly what it is that we want. For example, an ultimate solution to spam could impact on issues such as anonymous speech, whether we wanted virtual or physical identities, or closed or open systems. These were all tradeoffs that needed to be considered.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 8:42:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 01, 2005

Geoff Huston, APNIC, in the ISP Column for August 2005, has authored an article entitled Exploring Autonomous System Numbers. It examines Autonomous System (AS) Numbers and the role they play in Internet routing and discusses the near-term exhaustion of the unallocated pool of AS numbers in an expected 2010 timeframe. The article also discusses a necessary transition of increasing the AS number field size in the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) inter-domain route protocol (from 2 to 4 bytes as defined in this current draft).

Monday, August 01, 2005 2:31:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 29, 2005

The final version of a paper commissioned by the ITU entitled A Comparative Analysis of Spam Laws: The Quest for a Model Law (PDF) has been released. The paper was authored by Derek E. Bambauer, John G. Palfrey, Jr., and David E. Abrams, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, for the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity held in Geneva, 28 June - 1 July 2005.

Executive Summary

Spam presents a significant challenge to users, Internet service providers, states, and legal systems worldwide. The costs of spam are significant and growing, and the increasing volume of spam threatens to destroy the utility of electronic mail communications.

The Chairman’s Report from the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Countering Spam in July 2004 emphasized the importance of a multi-faceted approach to solving the problem of spam and named legal governance as one of the necessary means. Our paper focuses on the potential nature of the legal regulation of spam, specifically the importance of harmonizing regulations in the form of a model spam law. We agree with the Chairman that the law is only one means towards this end and we urge regulators to incorporate other modes of control into their efforts, including technical methods, market-based means, and norm-based modalities.

Spam uniquely challenges regulation because it easily transverses borders. The sender of a message, the server that transmits it, and the recipient who reads it may be located in three different states, all of which are under unique legal governance. If spam laws are not aligned in these states, enforcement will suffer because the very differences between spam laws may mean that a violation in one state is a permissible action in another. Moreover, spammers have an incentive to locate operations in places with less regulation, and the opportunity to states to create a domestic spam hosting market may engage them in a race to the bottom.

Harmonizing laws that regulate spam offers considerable benefits, insofar as a model law could assist in establishing a framework for cross-border enforcement collaboration. To those enforcing the regulation of spam, harmonization as a model law effort offers: clear guidelines, easy adoption, enhanced enforcement, stronger norms, fewer havens for spammers, and the increased sharing of best practices. If such regulators then agree that harmonization can aid legal regimes intent on curbing spam, they must initially address four critical tasks: defining prohibited content, setting default rules for contacting recipients, harmonizing existing laws, and enforcing such rules effectively. This legal approach must be concurrently matched by efforts that employ other modes of regulation, such as technical measures, user education, and market-based approaches.

Our analysis of existing spam legislation gathered by the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit evaluated these laws’ elements to determine whether they were commonly included or not, and whether provisions were uniformly implemented or varying when present. Our research documents seven instances in which extant laws strongly converge: a focus on commercial content, the mandatory disclosure of sender/advertiser/routing, bans on fraudulent or misleading content, bans on automated collection or generation of recipient addresses, the permission to contact recipients where there is an existing relationship, the requirement to allow recipients to refuse future messages, and a mix of graduated civil and criminal liability. Also documented are five key areas of disagreement which are vital to a harmonized spam law but which have evaded consensus thus far: a prior consent requirement for contacting recipients, a designated enforcer, label requirements for spam messages, the definition of spam (whether it is limited to e-mail communication, or includes other applications, such as SMS), and the jurisdictional reach of the system’s spam laws. Naturally, a harmonization effort must tackle and narrow these zones of divergence in order to succeed.

Spam laws, whether harmonized or not, are at best only part of the solution to the spam problem and must be developed in concert with technical, market, and norms-based tools if the scourge of spam is to be substantially reduced. Efforts to harmonize the legal regulation of spam can serve as one effective means to solving the unique challenges spam presents. A model spam law is possible to develop, despite the many differences among the world’s spam laws.

Friday, July 29, 2005 10:00:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 27, 2005

InternetNZ announced the release of its ENUM Personal User Agent prototype source code under an Open Source BSD Licence to encourage developer support of an ENUM initiative in New Zealand. The system integrates with Asterisk, an Open Source PBX.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 12:24:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the ITU-T Newslog: The Focus Group on Next Generation Networks (FGNGN) has recently completed a technical report that will hand back some elements of network management to the customer.

The document is an approved deliverable of the group that will be submitted to FGNGN’s parent within ITU-T, Study Group 13, for further consideration as a candidate ITU-T product (e.g. Recommendation, supplement, handbook, etc.). It outlines a framework for customer manageable IP networks (CMIP).

CMIP will give end users the ability to manage network elements and resources, such as bandwidth and storage.

Using a menu driven system CMIP will allow end-users to split bandwidth, dedicating, for instance, 1 Mbps to file sharing, .5 Mbps to instant messaging and e-mail, and .5 Mbps to web browsing.

Service providers will benefit by being able to offer this ability as value-add to their Internet service offerings, and will also be able to better provision network resources for services, such as web browsing, VoIP, and peer to peer (P2P), given the increased knowledge of exactly how users are using their bandwidth.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 10:31:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Tuesday, July 26, 2005 3:44:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The East African Centre for Open Source Software (EACOSS) is a specialised Free and Open Source Software training centre focusing on the East African region. Their mission is to promote the use and access to Free and Open Source Software in the East African community and contribute to the development through empowering people with skills to use ICT. The centre was founded in April 2004 and opened its doors in August 2004 on Port Bell Road in Nakawa - Kampala Uganda. The training center is located at the premises of Uganda Institute of Information and Communication Technology.

As part of their OSS Training programme, they have released an Introduction to Computers and Computer Literacy based on OSS.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 12:03:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The mozilla.org team has announced changes to Firefox regarding Internationalized Domain Names (IDN) to deal with homograph spoofing attacks.

  • "We have implemented a TLD whitelist system, which currently contains 21 TLDs for which we correctly display IDN domain names in the UI (user interface). Any IDN domain name in a non-whitelisted TLD displays as punycode. This is a security feature and so there is no user interface for adding or removing TLDs.
  • Any registry which wishes to be added to the whitelist should follow the instructions on that page. In terms of what constitutes a homograph, we are being guided by the Unicode Consortium's confusables list at http://www.unicode.org/draft/reports/tr36/data/confusables.txt and by common sense. Our policy in this area is still somewhat in flux - in particular, we are not yet sure whether we should require that registries to consider two characters which differ only in accent (sometimes by the shade of a single pixel at normal font sizes) as homographic. In the mean time, we strongly advise that registries do this.
  • We have implemented a character blacklist, which will soon contain 'DIVISION SLASH' (U+2215) and 'FRACTION SLASH' (U+2044). After that, we may extend it to forbid more characters which may be used to spoof URL punctuation. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=301694
  • This is not meant to prejudice the outcome of the current IAB-IDN discussions on potentially reducing the number of characters permitted in IDN, but we feel the danger posed by the use of such characters in 3rd and 4th level domains is great enough to require an immediate ban. Any domain name which contains one or more of these characters displays as punycode.
  • We wish to thank Opera Software for their help in creating the initial whitelist and providing suggestions for the character blacklist."
Tuesday, July 26, 2005 11:32:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A very good article entitled Telecom: Conflict of Motives by Tom Nolle in the June 2005 issue of BCR Magazine discusses how the future of networking is often seen too simplistically as a fundamental conflict between "the Internet" and "the telcos". 

  • "The Internet supporters have a notion of good public policy: Anything over IP is unregulated. However, “unregulated” means free market dynamics will prevail, and so this position is actually self-defeating. What’s needed is a constructive open debate on what regulatory policy should be..."
  • "Proof point one is simple: “Prove that your concept of rampant innovation doesn’t necessarily mean free networks.” Somebody has to finance the network of the future."
  • "Proof point number two is more complicated: “Prove that revolutionary new opportunities are really opportunities and not just disruptions.” Pure research is wonderful and necessary, but when you talk about deploying worldwide infrastructure for services critical to the economic survival of many societies, you ought to be out of the experimenting phase."
  • Proof point number three is the most complicated of all: “Prove you won’t do it again.” We lied, as an industry. We lied to Wall Street, to Main Street, to regulators and to ourselves. The financial markets move on credibility. They will never understand this industry, our technology. They will have to take us at our word, and our word is no longer good. Every naïve comment about “profit,” every notion of “free” this or that, only validates the financial view that the best thing this industry can do is hunker down and control costs. Who better to do that than the “conservative” common carriers?
Tuesday, July 26, 2005 11:07:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Korea's Chosun Ilbo has an article on how competition is heating up in deployment of Korea's national NGN project which is called the Broadband convergence Network (BcN). BcN is the fusion of communication, broadcasting and the Internet, is a next-generation information network that the Korean government is pushing to complete by 2010 as part of its national IT 839 Strategy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 10:11:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

BCR Magazine has an editorial entitled Monetizing the Internet:

"I won’t pretend that John Waclawsky’s article in this month’s issue (“IMS 101: What You Need To Know Now”) is easy going. There are a lot of protocol acronyms and stuff about standards bodies that might tempt you to turn the page. Don’t.

Waclawsky’s article has everything to do with what the public networks, wireline and wireless, are likely to become over the next few years. It deals with the IP/Internet Multimedia Subsystem or IMS, the standards set that began in the wireless world but is likely to become the foundation of a comprehensive vision that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) calls the Next Generation Network or NGN.

What’s remarkable about Waclawsky’s article, to me anyway, is its conclusion. If you’ve followed his past articles for BCR (see “Closed Architectures, Closed Systems And Closed Minds,” October 2004, and “Where Do System Standards Go From Here?” March 2005), you know that Waclawsky is not kindly disposed toward these overarching, carrier-driven standards efforts. He’s highly skeptical of attempts to, as he puts it in this month’s article, “monetize the Internet.” He uses the current article to critique the IMS and related efforts, and finds much wanting.

Yet his bottom line is this: “In spite of the drawbacks and delays, it seems one or more variations of IMS could become the norm for all broadband access.” This forecast cannot be made with any relish."

More....

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 9:58:30 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Light Reading says it is IMS Crunch Time:

"After a dizzying ascent from minor-league 3G standards initiative to major-league NGN architecture, IMS is clearly ready for prime time. But what is it, exactly, that it’s called upon to deliver? To answer that question, we need to remind ourselves what the standards-setters set out to achieve."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 8:32:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 25, 2005

The Anti-Spyware Coalition proposed a standardized definition of "spyware" on July 12, 2005. The definition, which is open for public comment until August 12, is intended to serve as the foundation for a more unified approach to tackling the spyware problem. In addition to defining spyware, the coalition's first public document also offers uniform definitions of other commonly used terms like "adware" and "cookie," and offers tips for users to avoid downloading unwanted programs.

For more information, see the full article.

For comments on the Anti-Spyware Coalition definitions, click here.

Monday, July 25, 2005 9:26:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 22, 2005

In between the meetings of two lead technical groups working on image and video compression, ISO/IEC's JPEG and ITU-T's Study Group 16, ITU will host a Workshop on Video and Image Coding and Applications (VICA) at the ITU headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland, 22 to 23 July 2005. Key experts will join users to review the development, assessment and application of video and image coding and to discuss and start work on an action plan and a roadmap for VICA standardization.

Presentations will instigate discussion on how standards work in the field, including how next generation networks (NGN) can support the development of so-called ubiquitous services - any device, anytime, anywhere. Current work on home network environments will also be taken into account. For more information, see the ITU meeting website.

One of the presentations includes an overview of the ITU-T H.264 standard (also known as MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) made by Gary Sullivan, Microsoft, Rapporteur for ITU-T Q.6/16.

Friday, July 22, 2005 7:20:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 21, 2005

Article featured in Total Telecom talks about Japan's intentions to work towards developing an NGN standard.

"The Japanese government is to urge private telecom carriers to upgrade domestic telecoms networks to next-generation IP-based telecommunications networks (NGN) by 2007.

According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper, the policy has been decided in order to try and push Japanese NGN standards in the hope of getting a big slice of the international equipment market for Japanese equipment manufacturers.

The International Telecommunication Union is expected to decide on the global specifications for NGNs by around 2008. The Japanese Ministry of Communications aims to have developed and proposed a standard to the ITU by then after working with the country's major telcos, including Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT), KDDI Corp. and SoftBank, as well as manufacturers of communications equipment including NEC Corp., Fujitsu Ltd., and Hitachi Ltd."

"The ministry hopes Japan will seize the initiative by being the first to come up with a tried and tested set of standards that might be accepted for international adoption, thus giving local manufacturers a huge leg up on international markets. While Japanese manufacturers have dominated their domestic market for telecommunications equipment through working with NTT, U.S. firms control 90% of the global market for routers. The Japanese firms are hoping the switch to a new set of standards for NGNs will help them overcome this imbalance.

The adoption of NGNs is expected to substantially lower communications costs because they will require only half the plant and equipment investment and maintenance expense required for current phone systems, according to the report, which says the networks will use a new breed of low-cost routers. Replacing Japan's current domestic phone networks will require an investment of an estimated 3 trillion to 6 trillion yen (22 billion to 44 billion euros) in plant and equipment over a five-year period. KDDI has been proposing replacement of its copper network by 2007 and NTT by 2010, but the Ministry hopes to speed this up to fit in with the ITU's schedule."

Thursday, July 21, 2005 11:21:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 18, 2005

From Paul Hoffman's blog

The IETF has finally emitted the email anti-spoofing documents for the SPF and Sender-ID protocols. The most important thing is that the two protocols are issues as experimental RFCs, not standards. There is a huge difference, and the IESG tried to make that as clear as possible:

"The following documents (draft-schlitt-spf-classic, draft-katz-submitter, draft-lyon-senderid-core, draft-lyon-senderid-pra) are published simultaneously as Experimental RFCs, although there is no general technical consensus and efforts to reconcile the two approaches have failed. As such these documents have not received full IETF review and are published "AS-IS" to document the different approaches as they were considered in the MARID working group.

The IESG takes no position about which approach is to be preferred and cautions the reader that there are serious open issues for each approach and concerns about using them in tandem. The IESG believes that documenting the different approaches does less harm than not documenting them.

The community is invited to observe the success or failure of the two approaches during the two years following publication, in order that a community consensus can be reached in the future."

And, to be clear, neither protocol is directly anti-spam: they simply help the receiver believe that the mail is sent by the organization that claims it sent the message.

Monday, July 18, 2005 8:10:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 15, 2005

The European Commission has issued a decision on the harmonised use of radio spectrum in the 5 GHz frequency band for the implementation of Wireless Access Systems including Radio Local Area Networks (WAS/RLANs). Additional background information is available in a press release and here.

Friday, July 15, 2005 12:22:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 14, 2005

In November 2004, the UK's Ofcom published a consultation on Next Generation Networks: Future arrangements for access and interconnection which explored the potential regulatory issues raised by the move to Next Generation Networks (NGNs). In a follow-up consultation released in June 2005, Ofcom aims to establish a regulatory framework to address those issues and to support the development of NGNs.

The full version of this document, along with the Annexes, are available via the links below.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 2:52:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 30, 2005

ITU-T has recently hosted a workshop on IPv6 organized in cooperation with the European Union’s IPv6 Task Force Steering Committee (IPv6 EU TF-SC) and the IPv6 Forum. The event, held in Geneva, between 22 to 23 June 2005, examined the current status of IPv6, with regards to rollout, policy, technology and applications. An additional aim was to promote awareness of IPv6 to countries where Internet use is relatively low. The agenda and presentations have been made available on the event web site.

Thursday, June 30, 2005 12:02:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The final presentation at yesterday's session on spam at the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity, John LEVINE, Chair, IETF Antispam Research Group (ASRG) made a presentation entitled the Limits of Security Technology: Lessons from the Spam Wars.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 11:46:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Yesterday, at the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity, during the day focused on spam, a session was dedicated to discussing national policies and legislative approaches to spam. As part of this session, a Background Paper commissioned by ITU, entitled A Comparative Analysis of Spam Laws: the Quest for Model Law, was presented (presentation) by Derek BAMBAUER, Research Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society. The authors of hte paper are Derek BAMBAUER, John PALFREY, Executive Director, and David ABRAMS, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School, United States. From the introduction to the report: 

The goal of this paper is to help policymakers understand the potential benefits and challenges of model spam legislation as a tool to improve the security of and user confidence in information and communications technology (ICT), as well as the potential that model spam legislation holds for Internet users worldwide. First, it sets forth a framework for understanding spam and identifies key issues confronting regulators. Next, the paper examines the set of options for spam laws based on existing and proposed legislation gathered by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU). It analyzes the level of consensus among these extant laws and the degree to which a particular component is included in most legislation and in the degree to which provisions addressing this component are similar or harmonized. The paper points towards zones where there is considerable consensus while simultaneously illuminating the most fundamental differences, so that policymakers can tackle the hard issues and choices involved in spam laws. Finally, the paper makes preliminary recommendations for spam law efforts and considers both the potential for and the likely efficacy of a model spam law.

During the same sessions, there were presentations from:

  • Panellist: Jonathan KRADEN (biography), Staff Attorney, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), United States
      o  Presentation
  • Panellist: Miguel MONTERO (biography), Spam Ruling Administrator, Radiografica Costarricense (RACSA), Costa Rica
      o  Presentation
  • Panellist: Liang LIU (biography), Assistant Director, Anti-Spam Coordination Team, Internet Society of China, People’s Republic of China
      o  Presentation
  • Presentation: Maria Cristina BUETI (biography), Policy Analyst, Strategy and Policy Unit, ITU
    ”ITU Survey of Anti-Spam Laws and Authorities Worldwide”
      o  Presentation
Wednesday, June 29, 2005 11:10:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Luc Mathan from the relatively new Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) is giving a presentation on MAAWG's efforts to align the messaging industry stakeholders along three directives: Collaboration, Technology and Policy. The working group will address collaborating on cross-operator communications, best practices and technology to combat messaging abuse, as well as developing a cohesive point of view on public policy.  More information about MAAWG.

MAAWG members are developing a feedback loop mechanisms to deal with spam complaints between ISPs. They are also creating a contact database for service providers to be able to contact the appropriate person to deal with a messaging abuse situation.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 9:29:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 27, 2005

In Netwizards Blog: according to the records in the IETF's database (here and here), both SPF and Sender-ID anti-spam proposals were tentatively approved by the IESG (the "approval board" of the IETF) as experimental standards RFCs.

Monday, June 27, 2005 1:41:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 03, 2005

Richard Stastny in VoIP and ENUM points to three interesting presentations given at VON Europe 2005 on ENUM:

He provides more detailed comments on each of these presentations in VON Europe 2005 - ENUM Update - Part 1, VON Europe 2005 - ENUM Update - Part 2 - Tom Kershaw and VON Europe 2005 - ENUM Update - Part 3 - XConnect or Catch 22.

Friday, June 03, 2005 12:35:28 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The BBC has an article on the adoption of open source software in Brazil.

Mr Cerqueira Cesar is a leading light behind the newly-created Global Organisation for Free Software, which has been set up by a broad coalition of Brazilian businesses and NGOs. More details are being released this week at an International Forum on Free Software, in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre.

The government here has its eye on a UN summit on information technology, to take place in Tunisia in November.

Already, Brazilian diplomats are pushing for a final declaration that would stress the advantages of open-source software.

They have won the backing of India and are now canvassing broader support from the developing world.

Friday, June 03, 2005 11:35:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the ITU-T Newslog: A meeting of Study Group 15, the ITU-T group responsible for studies into optical and other transport network technologies, has consented a new Recommendation that defines the way for equipment providers to produce systems for Ethernet virtual private line (EVPL) services. EVPLs offer a way for operators to provide point-to-point connections for carrying data over shared-bandwidth facilities.

The announcement is in line with the current industry trend to offer Ethernet services, and further signals Ethernet's growth in popularity as an enterprise telecom service.

Long-recognized as a ubiquitous LAN technology, Ethernet is now seeing increased attention as a carrier-grade service. In part this is due to the convenience of being able to simply provide end-to-end service, but also carriers can realize savings both in terms of capital and operational expenditure.

In terms of capital expenditure, Ethernet is easy and cost-effective to provision in the network. In terms of operational expenditure, carriers can deploy a single physical connection to the end user, but adapt its data-carrying capacity as end-user requirements dictate over time. This flexibility means a significant saving for the operator and the customer.

This work follows earlier work in the area of ITU Ethernet standards approved last year. See this ITU press release from June 2004.

The new Recommendation - G.8011.2 - defines the service attributes and parameters for carrying Ethernet characteristic information over shared-bandwidth, point-to-point connections, provided by SDH, ATM, MPLS, PDH, OTH, or ETY server layer networks.

Friday, June 03, 2005 11:18:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 02, 2005

In the framework of its Technology Watch activities, ITU-T has recently published a technical paper on radio frequency identification (RFID) and opportunities for its use in mobile telecommunication services. RFID enables data to be transmitted by a tiny portable device, called a tag, which is read by an RFID reader and processed according to the needs of a particular application. It is only recently that the technology has begun to take off in the mass market. Analysts predict that RFID will revolutionize areas of industry, such as supply chain management and the retail business, for example by reducing costs with better stock management. The technical paper presents several ideas for applications of RFID technology in mobile telecommunication services as well as possible areas for standardization efforts. Apart from purely technical concepts, the challenging aspects of security and privacy are discussed. A PowerPoint presentation of the paper is also available.

ITU-T recently set up a correspondence group on RFID in the framework of its Technology Watch and a dedicated e-mail reflector on the matter for initiating studies on the technology. Additionally, ITU-T is to hold a workshop on RFID standardization issues in the first quarter of 2006. [via ITU-T Newslog]

Thursday, June 02, 2005 12:15:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 27, 2005

From the ITU-T Newslog: ITU-T has completed the specifications necessary for telecoms operators around the world to offer a ‘super’ triple play of video, Internet and voice services.

The ITU-T Recommendation for very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line 2 (VDSL2) will allow operators worldwide to compete with cable and satellite operators by offering services such as high definition TV (HDTV), video-on-demand, videoconferencing, high speed Internet access and advanced voice services including VoIP, over a standard copper telephone cable.

VDSL2 will offer consumers up to 100 Mbps up and downstream, a massive ten-fold increase over the more common ADSL. Essentially it allows so-called ‘fibre-extension’ bringing fibre like bandwidth to premises not directly connected to the fibre-optic segment of a telecoms company’s network.

As well as addressing increasing consumer demands, VDSL2 offers telecom carriers a solution that promises to be interoperable with the ADSL kit that many operators already have in place. This interoperability will make the migration of customers to VDSL2 much simpler. Another important feature of VDSL2 is that it will work in both legacy ATM networks and next generation IP based networks.

VDSL2 is seen by many operators as an ideal accompaniment to a fibre to the premises (FTTP) rollout, where for instance fibre is supplied direct to an apartment block and from there copper cable is used to supply residents with high-speed VDSL2.

Yoichi Maeda, chairman of the Study Group responsible for the work said: “We have leveraged the strengths of ADSL, ADSL2+, and VDSL to achieve the very high performance levels that you will see with VDSL2. It looks set to become an extremely important feature of the telecommunications landscape and is a landmark achievement for our members, many of whom were relying on this Recommendation in order to take their businesses to the next level.”

The publication of standardized specifications in an ITU-T Recommendation (G.993.2) means that operators can avoid being locked into a single vendor. As well as the economic advantages that this may bring it also means that operators can select the best solutions according to their needs.

Friday, May 27, 2005 2:09:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Friday, May 27, 2005 2:03:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Via iwar: GAO: Critical Infrastructure Protection: Department of Homeland Security Faces Challenges in Fulfilling Cybersecurity Responsibilities, May 26, 2005

While DHS has initiated multiple efforts to fulfill its responsibilities, it has not fully addressed any of the 13 responsibilities, and much work remains ahead. For example, the department established the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team as a public/private partnership to make cybersecurity a coordinated national effort, and it established forums to build greater trust and information sharing among federal officials with information security responsibilities and law enforcement entities. However, DHS has not yet developed national cyber threat and vulnerability assessments or government/industry contingency recovery plans for cybersecurity, including a plan for recovering key Internet functions. DHS faces a number of challenges that have impeded its ability to fulfill its cyber CIP responsibilities. These key challenges include achieving organizational stability, gaining organizational authority, overcoming hiring and contracting issues, increasing awareness about cybersecurity roles and capabilities, establishing effective partnerships with stakeholders, achieving two-way information sharing with these stakeholders, and demonstrating the value DHS can provide. In its strategic plan for cybersecurity, DHS identifies steps that can begin to address the challenges. However, until it confronts and resolves these underlying challenges and implements its plans, DHS will have difficulty achieving significant results in strengthening the cybersecurity of our critical infrastructures.

Complete Report...

Friday, May 27, 2005 8:50:47 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 26, 2005

From a Bridges.org study:

The Software Comparison research project provides the needed background information and advice to people who want to make sound software choices for public computer labs in Africa. The final report represents the first comprehensive analysis of software choices in the African public-access context. The study looked at 121 computer labs in Namibia, South Africa and Uganda, examining the range of factors that affect software choices; the realities of the current situation in Africa; and the long-term implications of software choices for Africa. This research was led by bridges.org and supported by Collaborating Partners SchoolNet Africa, the International Development Research Council (IDRC) and the Open Society Institute (OSI). In addition, a number of field-study partners provided access to computer labs for the study. A high-level Advisory Group, comprised of experts in the field from both sides of the debate, was actively involved in the study on a regular basis: reviewing project documents (methodology, report drafts etc.), providing feedback and additional resources.

Final report: The final research report was released in May 2005. The accompanying news announcement provides a brief summary and background to the study. The full report and separate Annex can be downloaded as pdf files.

Thursday, May 26, 2005 4:42:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Communications has a post on the recent IMTC Forum 2005: The Future of Next Generation Networks: Convergence of VoIP, Videoconferencing and Mobile, May 10-12, 2005.

The IMTC is an industry association best known for championing video telephony.  Many of the attendees have devoted 10, 15, even 20 years of effort to making video telephony work. 

All of the presentations made at the Forum are linked to in this document (Word) on the IMTC web site. Some presentations worth highlighting include:

Thursday, May 26, 2005 2:47:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, May 22, 2005

Lucent Bets on Wireless and IMS

In a tail-wags-dog story, Lucent Technologies, long associated with telecom big iron, is literally throwing its weight and its product development into the air. “We see the wireline business eroding. Mobility has higher growth, and it appears mobility is the best target for the new services architecture—IMS (IP multimedia subsystem),” said Rand Edwards, Lucent’s director of strategy and marketing-network operations software group.

Lucent will make its migration policy very clear at next week’s Telemanagement World conference in Nice, France, where it will showcase its IMS-driven VitalSuite software, demonstrating how service providers can migrate it into their systems to expand offerings into more complex architectures that start first with next-gen services and applications on wireless networks.

Canadian wireless operator Telus has bought into the VitalSuite for its trouble-patterning capabilities to do detailed network surveillance through analysis and network problem identification.

IMS “is a pretty complex service delivery platform and being able to isolate where a problem might be occurring gets more difficult (and) might not be observable from a traditional fault or performance type of view,” Edwards said. “This type of diagnosis or analysis is going to become increasingly important.”

From [Telecom Flash via my weblog]

Mobile | NGN | Standards
Sunday, May 22, 2005 3:23:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 19, 2005

Om Malik's Broadband Blog has a piece on ITU-T's upcoming VDSL2 standard and a comparison of speeds of various xDSL flavours. ITU-T Study Group 15 meetings are now underway (16-27 May 2005) in Geneva working on this as well as a number of other standards. The list of 281 delayed contributions into the meeting shows the intensive activity in this Study Group by service providers and equipment manufacturers.

Thursday, May 19, 2005 4:33:06 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Brough Turner in Communications has an interesting post on defacto Internet QoS. In a follow-up, he says he was only partly right.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005 12:29:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A recent meeting of Study Group 12 saw progress in the development of QoS-related standards for IP-based networks and services.

QoS is seen as a key area to address in IP-based networks, especially as more carriers announce plans to carry voice traffic using the protocol.

Progress was made on the revision of Recommendation G.1020 which gives performance parameter definitions for quality of speech and other voiceband applications utilising IP networks. The updates will specify voice quality measurements associated with the use of the VoIP management protocol, RTP Control Protocol Extended Reports (RTCP XR). RTCP XR defines a set of metrics that contain information for assessing VoIP call quality and diagnosing problems.

And Y.1541 which gives network performance objectives for IP-based services, is also actively under revision to include new QoS classes with more stringent packet loss performance, needed for example for commercial video applications and certain TCP formats.

Also during its meeting - the first of the new study period - SG12 consented a revision of Recommendation G.107 (the E-model, see previous e-Flash story, to include an improved treatment of bursty packet loss.

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:37:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) will host an interoperability demonstration at June's Supercomm event in Chicago, USA showing how a suite of ITU-T standards will enable data stream services like Ethernet to be effectively transported over existing SONET/SDH and ASON enabled carrier networks.

Additionally the demo will show how Ethernet can be used to link any number of endpoints in a wide area network (WAN), or simply as a service delivery mechanism (see press release).

The event will include testing of data plane interoperability of next generation transport network functions such as generic framing procedure (GFP), virtual concatenation (VCAT) and link capacity adjustment scheme (LCAS), all supporting technologies to SONET/SDH (and all defined in ITU-T G-series Recommendations).

The seven global telecommunication carriers taking part will provide test facilities, engineering staff and network connectivity. More...

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:36:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU members are increasingly signalling the interest of the telecommunications community in grid computing. The technology is under study by the Technology Watch within ITU-T. And following discussions between the Global Grid Forum (GGF) and ITU-T, a workshop on telecoms and grids is planned for 2006.

On behalf of GGF, Franco Travostino of Nortel gave a presentation at the recent Study Group 13 meeting in Geneva. In it he gave an introduction to the work of the forum, also explaining the basics of grids.

Travostino describes grid computing as a software platform for distributed participants to form a virtual organization, securely share resources, and engage in coordinated problem-solving activities.

There are a number of areas of interest for the telecoms industry. At a simple level, telcos could use grids internally, for billing and simulations for example. They could also offer grid managed services, or act as service brokers.

Travostino pointed out that the discussion on grids involves more than just how to provide bigger pipes. There are other issues that may be of interest to ITU-T, such as how to control the network, how to manage dynamic provisioning and how to provide collision-free addresses (IPv4 <-> NAT).

[via ITU-T Newslog]

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:24:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the 17th May, World Telecommunication Day, the ITU-T has launched a new communications centre, The Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse will provide a user-friendly and alternative view of ITU-T, shedding light on activities, past, present and future by offering non-technical explanations of work areas, news, features and FAQs. Included is an ITU-T newslog with an RSS news feed, with the opportunity to subscribed to news on specific standards topic areas.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 9:05:24 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

VoIP and ENUM gives news on the first ENUM-based operational number range in Austria: "As already announced here one month ago, the ENUM-based number range +43 780 went into operation today. A short decription of the number range is available here. Anybody may register such a number, for available registrars see enum.at."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 8:06:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 17, 2005

A review of market trends impacting the development of the applications architecture of the Internet in general is presented, followed by an historical review of the subject and an analysis of regulatory aspects. It concludes with a review of the state of backbone interconnection in Latin America. Carlos Silva Ponce de León, Telecommunications Policy, Volume 29, Issues 5-6 , June-July 2005, Pages 367-386

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 10:30:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Although currently mired in a standards war between different camps in the IEEE, UWB is likely to form the basis of an important short-range wireless standard for consumer equipment such as set-top boxes, high definition TVs and portable music systems. The ITU’s Radicommunication Sector is planning to draft ITU recommendations on the UWB standard at its upcoming meeting currently be held in San Diego from 18 to 27 May 2005. The group is due to hand its final recommendations to the ITU and disband after another meeting in October 2005.

However, nailing down the standard is just one of the challenges, some wish to keep UWB restricted to very low power levels at national regulatory levels which impact its potential uses and possible competition with other wireless technologies. An article in TechWorld (pointer via Fergie's Tech Blog)

discusses the doubts held by Bob Heile, chair of the IEEE 802.15.3a working group.

If Europe and Asia apply more restrictions to the technology than the FCC in the US, the technology may not perform well enough to displace Wi-Fi, which is constantly improving, said Bob Heile, chair of the IEEE 802.15.3a working group.

"I believe we will see regulations in Europe that are substantially more restrictive than those applied by the FCC," said Heile, in France for a conference on the ZigBee sensor protocol. "Japan is likely to be even more conservative. If that happens, how good is the performance going to be?

Watkins is hopeful that next week's meeting of the UWB group of the international telecoms standards body, the ITU, may help."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 8:05:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 12, 2005

Richard Stastny in VoIP and ENUM debates as to whether we need phone companies for VoIP:

"I want to pick up on the statement by Jon Peterson on slide 2 of his presentation at the ITU-T/IETF NGN meeting in Geneva I posted last week:

On the Internet, telephony is an application
– Not necessarily a service, no service must be provided This implies that if no service is provided, one does not need a service provider either.

Tom Evslin in the last? of his series of posts "As the Phone world Turns Part 9 - Do we need Phone Companies?" first gives a tutorial how VoIP and especially SIP is modelled after e-mail and from this comes to the conclusion:

Notice that most medium or larger size companies DO NOT use any outside servers other than DNS when doing email.

So three quick inferences for the phone world from the analogy with email:

  • consumers and very small business will continue to need someone to operate “voice” servers for them but that service is likely to be bundled AT NO EXTRA COST with ISP service or be “free” and advertising supported.
  • larger businesses will operate their own servers and will not require a service provider other than for DNS and basic connectivity to the Internet
  • There is no long term business model which supports charging by the minute for voice transport"

Now add to this the recent post from Tom Keating: "Traditional Telephony Dying at the Hnads of VoIP", where he cites a report from the Info-Tech Research Group:

  • "... that 23% of small- to mid-sized enterprises have already implemented VoIP technology and that number will grow to 50% within the next three years.
  • VoIP is displacing traditional telephony services a lot faster than anyone expected,” says George Goodall, Research Analyst at Info-Tech Research Group. “It means a whole change to the look and feel of an organization’s IT infrastructure.”
  • While one network that handles applications and telephone calls is an IT manager’s dream, the speed with which VoIP is coming to the market might be an IT manager’s nightmare,” Goodall says. “Senior managers are demanding the cost savings associated with VoIP, vendors are scrambling to reinvent their offerings, and IT managers are scrambling to implement the technology.”

So "service providers" = "telcos" are left with the residential customer, and what they are offering there is not very exciting: it basically simple POTS replacement. The only one here going sucessfully into another direction is Skype.

So the (local) phone companies will be squeezed regarding services between enterprise DIY and cleverly branding and globally acting up-starts."

Thursday, May 12, 2005 11:10:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the April 2005 ITU News (free subscription required): International Internet Connectivity:  Are poor countries subsidizing the rich?, contents include:

  • Framing the issues
  • The ITU role: The story thus far... and the future
  • What does the Working Group on Internet Governance say?
Thursday, May 12, 2005 10:01:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ETSI has published two documents on ENUM approved at the January 2005 TISPAN Plenary:

  • ETSI TR 102 055 V1.1.1: Telecommunications and Internet converged Services and Protocols for Advanced Networking (TISPAN); ENUM scenarios for user and infrastructure ENUM.
  • ETSI TS 102 172 V1.2.1: Telecommunications and Internet converged Services and Protocols for Advanced Networking (TISPAN); Minimum requirements for interoperability of ENUM implementations. This document serves as the basis for the upcoming ETSI ENUM Plugtest.

[via VoIP and ENUM]

Thursday, May 12, 2005 9:15:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 09, 2005

Daniel Karrenberg has published an excellent and comprehensive FAQ explaining the operation of the Internet domain name system root server system.

Monday, May 09, 2005 2:45:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Making the world (of communications) a different place (PDF), Report of a working session of the Internet Research Task Force's End-to-End Research Group, January, 2005

Monday, May 09, 2005 9:03:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 05, 2005

NetWizard's Blog has a post on the start-up work on a standard mail abuse reporting format:

  • Since the initial draft two 1/2 weeks ago, a lot of things took place. First of all, Dave was nice enough to open up a public mailing list for anyone who wants to comment on the draft. I will be putting information on it into the -01 draft which is currently in the works. Second, there is now a small public page called "ARF" or "Abuse Reporting Format" which will hopefully contain all the info on this in one easy to find place. Third, I am working on the next (-01) draft which will hopefully explain things better than the current one and put in place a normal extensibility mechanism (an IANA registry similar to what the SIP folks have).
Thursday, May 05, 2005 7:29:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The UK communications regulator OFCOM has done one of the first public consultations on the regulatory implications of Next Generation Networks (NGN), particularly with regard to BT's 21CN NGN initiative. The consultation document, entitled Next Generation Networks - Future arrangements for access and interconnection (overview,complete) explores the implications of Next Generation Networks (NGNs) for access and interconnection arrangements in the UK. The responses to the consultation are available here.

In BT's response to the consultation, it indicates some of its views on 21CN regulation:

Finally BT observes that some key aspects of the strategic positioning, NGN access and interconnect, are not addressed in Ofcom's questions. We wish to point to the following specific points.

  1. We would expect that NGNs will blur many of the boundaries all of us in the industry currently take for granted. For example, the distinction between "operators" and "service providers" will diminish; and one could foresee an increase in pan-European alternative providers leveraging their IP infrastructure using next-generation interconnection more effectively. Further, as the barriers to market entry are lowered through technology advances and open standards, we would expect many new entrants to change the landscape - some with innovative value propositions and others by identifying and exploiting new arbitrage angles.

  2. We believe end user customers will soon demand seamless, ‘any to any’ interworking between mobile and fixed networks. Operators will require the ability to roam on, and interconnect to, other national and international fixed and mobile networks in order to facilitate the provision of next generation services. The regulatory regime needs to become more technologically neutral and focus on economic bottlenecks, irrespective of the underlying network technology.

  3. We believe that innovative services will be heavily reliant on intelligent interworking to provide coherent services. Therefore, cross platform access (including roaming and interconnect) to intelligence capabilities will be essential in ensuring further development of services and competition in the convergent marketplace.

  4. BT is disappointed to see the level of potential regulatory intervention and micromanagement, both in commercial and technical terms, demonstrated in this Consultation. This is particularly inappropriate as it followed so soon after the second phase of the Telecoms Strategic Review, which promulgated a deregulatory agenda and a focus on regulating only bottlenecks. This Consultation also includes some substantive inconsistencies of approach which will need to be addressed.

  5. It is critical that the outcome of this - and any later - consultation processes should be a regulatory regime which rewards investment and does not leave BT with a significant proportion of the 21CN investment risk, whilst distributing the investment returns across the industry. Ofcom will wish to consider this issue as they contemplate the responses to the Consultation.

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, in cooperation with the ITU-T and ITU-D, is organizing a workshop on NGN Policy and Regulation in February 2006.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 4:32:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 02, 2005

Richard Stastny has a post on his take on the 1-2 May 2005 ITU-T workshop on NGN in collaboration with the IETF in Geneva at ITU headquarters.

  • The workshop was very well attended (270 participants), both from IESG and IAB, and also from ITU-T SG groups and other standardization bodies (e.g. ETSI TISPAN). An indication of the high-level attendance can also be derived from the speakers list in the program.

Update: he has some further thoughts in a later post on the different visions of NGN.

[via VoIP and ENUM]
Monday, May 02, 2005 9:59:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, May 01, 2005
Sunday, May 01, 2005 11:22:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 29, 2005
The ITU-T has prepared a brochure giving an overview of ITU-T's H.264 advanced video coding standard. The increased compression efficiency of the new ITU-T H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) standard will lead to new application areas and business opportunities. Broadcasting over cable, satellite, cable modem, terrestrial, etc., will benefit from the new standard. It is now possible to transmit video signals at about 1 Mbit/s with TV (PAL) quality, which enables streaming over xDSL connections. Another interesting business area is TV transmission over satellite. By choosing H.264, the number of programmes per satellite can be doubled in comparison to current systems using H.262 (MPEG-2). Also, in the field of mobile communication, H.264 will play an important role because the compression efficiency will be doubled in comparison to the coding schemes previously specified by Third-Generation Mobile (3GPP and 3GPP2) for streaming.

The new Recommendation is destined to influence further application areas including but not limited to the following:

  • Interactive or serial storage multimedia (ISM or SSM) on optical and magnetic devices, DVD, etc.
  • Real-time conversational services (RTC), such as videoconferencing and videophone, over ISDN, Ethernet, LAN, DSL, wireless and mobile networks, modems or mixtures of these.
  • Video-on-demand or multimedia streaming services, such as remote video surveillance (RVS), over ISDN, cable modem, DSL, LAN, wireless networks, etc.
  • Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS) over ISDN, DSL, Ethernet, LAN, wireless and mobile networks, etc.
  • Multimedia services over packet networks (MSPN), such as multimedia mailing (MMM), etc.
Friday, April 29, 2005 11:59:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The presentations from last month's ITU-T Cybersecurity II Symposium, hosted by RANS in Moscow, are now available, including presentations from:

  • Mr Herbert Bertine, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 17, presentation
  • Mr Igor Faynberg, Technical Manager, NGN Standards, and Technologies and ITU-T FGNGN WG 5 Leader, presentation
  • Mr Magnus Nyström, RSA Security, presentation
  • Mr Charles Brookson, Head of Technology and Standards, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), UK, presentation
  • Mr Igor Furgel, Common Criteria, T-Systems GEI GmbH, presentation
  • Mr Bill McCrum, Deputy Director General, Telecom Engineering, Industry Canada, presentation
  • Mr Hyun-Cheol Jeong, Senior Research Staff, Korea Information Security Center of KISA, presentation
  • Mr Gary Kondakov, Managing Director, Kaspersky Labs in Russia, CIS and Baltic countries, presentation
  • Mr Eliot Lear, Consulting Engineer, Network Security, CISCO, pesentation
  • Mr Alexander Pogudin, CEO of Center of Financial Technologies, presentation
  • Ms Amal Abdallah, Federal Communications Commission, USA, presentation
  • Mr Andrey Chapchaev, Director General, Infotecs, presentation


Friday, April 29, 2005 11:45:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 28, 2005

Intel Corporation has announced the availability of its first WiMAX product, providing equipment manufacturers and carriers the ability to deliver next-generation wireless broadband networks around the world. In addition, several service providers worldwide announced plans to begin commercial WiMAX trials based on Intel silicon products later this year, giving consumers and businesses a glimpse at this emerging wireless high-speed broadband technology. Key equipment providers also announced WiMAX solutions based on Intel's product..

The Register (via Wireless Watch) had a recent review of the WiMAX Summit in Paris, France and the related standards debate.

  • It quickly emerged that the issue preoccupying both vendors and potential operators is the road to mobility and exactly how the transition to the forthcoming 802.l6e mobile standard will be achieved. With a key WiMAX Forum meeting to be held in the coming week in Spain, and 802.16e set to be ratified this year, it is essential to the uptake of the platform that the route to mobility is clarified as soon as possible.
  • All agree that 802.16 will be the platform with which WiMAX hits the big time. Most of the equipment majors are merely licensing fixed 802.16d (now renamed 802.16-2004) gear, while focusing their own development efforts on 'e'. That means that the chances for chipmakers to net the big OEM deals - with Alcatel, Nortel and the others - rely on the mobile standard. But there are two basic schools of thought among the chipmakers and their licensees as to their strategy in the interim.
  • One is that there is a period of at least two years before 802.16e achieves volume, and that the upgrade path will be complex. That means the priority is to make 802.16-2004 as impressive as possible in order to drive short term sales and increase confidence in WiMAX. This will mean creating a so-called 'd+' technology that goes beyond the basic stipulations of the fixed standard, with a focus on aspects such as quality of service for voice and video, and portability with consumer grade subscriber equipment.
  • The other view is that the market needs to move to mobility more rapidly, by offering pre-standard networks that provide most of the functionality promised for 'e'. This strategy rests on the belief - or hope - that the mobile standard will come to market rapidly and that the leap from its predecessor will be a simple one.

In related news, only days before a deadline for its first licensing fee payment, South Korea’s Hanaro Telecom announced Tuesday it will forego a license to roll out a WiBro mobile broadband network (based on 802.16e technology). Hanaro was one of three Korean operators granted licenses by the Korean Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in January. "We still believe WiBro is commercially viable. We plan to grant the remaining licensee withdrawn from Hanaro to an eligible hopeful,’’ MIC director general Kim Dong-soo said.

[via my weblog, The Register, MIC]

Thursday, April 28, 2005 8:43:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 22, 2005

The March 2005 issue of Business Communications Review, pp. 20–21 has an interesting article entitled Which NGN? that debates different visions of the future of the Internet:

  • But this all could change. Major moves are afoot to radically alter the way the Internet operates. If certain organizations and people have their way, the Internet will evolve to look considerably more like the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or today’s mobile/cellular networks. And this could happen much sooner than you might think.
  • To facilitate this migration, many carriers started participating in a major international standards development effort. Working through an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Study Group, the carriers (with vendor and government assistance) are developing their own blueprint that they call the “Next Generation Network” (NGN). Intense standards work is under way at the ITU and other groups such as the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) to further the integration and interoperability of IP networks with the PSTN and mobile networks.
  • Architecturally, the ITU’s NGN relies heavily on the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) framework, developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)/3GPP2 for 3G/UMTS and CDMA mobile networks. The IMS has been extended to cover wireline facilities, to create a converged, seamless mobile user experience. The ITU NGN also mandates IPv6, and uses traffic prioritization end-to-end to deliver service quality. It requires reservation and commitment of network resources before connections are established.

Although the article suggest a conflict of vision on NGN standards, this post also notes that the ITU and IETF are exploring ways of cooperating on NGN standardization. Both ITU's FGNGN (Focus Group on Next Generation Networks) and Study Group 13 (Next Generation Networks) are meeting in the coming weeks at ITU to advance NGN standardization.

Friday, April 22, 2005 4:55:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 18, 2005

ITU-T Workshop on NGN in collaboration with IETF will be held in Geneva at ITU Headquarters on 1 - 2 May 2005. The workshop will also serve as an important meeting point for ITU-T and IETF management.

The overall objectives of the workshop are to explore specific NGN issues that impact both the ITU-T and the IETF to better understand the work underway in the two organizations and to identify areas where actions could be taken between the ITU-T and IETF to further coordinate their work. Six sessions will each be co-chaired by an ITU representative and a representative from IETF. Topics will include requirements and functional architecture; nomadicity and mobility; QoS, control and signalling capabilities; network management; security capabilities and evolution.

The workshop, the second on NGN in 2005, is an example of the way in which ITU-T is seeking to engage all interested parties in work towards the development of worldwide standards for NGN. Objectives of the workshop include:

  • To explore specific NGN issues that impact both the ITU-T and the IETF to better understand the work underway in the two organizations; and
  • To identify those areas where actions could be taken between the ITU-T and the IETF to further should coordinate their NGN-related work., and to seek to reach agreement on any actions to be taken to coordinate the work of the two organizations and perhaps establish joint activities.

Also see the ITU press release:

The objectives of the workshop are to report the progress of ITU’s work on NGN and explore specific issues that impact both the ITU and the IETF in order to better understand the work underway in the two organizations and to identify areas where action can be taken to make further progress.

Houlin Zhao, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau notes that, "We have made tremendous progress, thanks to the support of ITU members and members of other standards developing organizations such as IETF, ETSI and ATIS. The momentum that this work has achieved will allow the ICT industry to develop a raft of new products and services on a much more powerful and dynamic infrastructure based on globally accepted standards."

Monday, April 18, 2005 1:28:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 14, 2005

From VoIP and ENUM comes the news that Switzerland has started an ENUM trial. For more information see Swiss ENUM (German only at this time).

Thursday, April 14, 2005 4:00:04 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU Session on Internet Governance (PDF) was presented by Robert Shaw, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, on 17 February 2005 in a session before the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG's) open consultations held at the United Nations. The subject of the talk was Internet Governance in context of evolution of telecommunications technologies and policies.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 11:50:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

From the Advanced Video Coding (AVC) Alliance: AVC is the new generation compression algorithm for consumer digital video. Compared to the current industry standard MPEG-2, AVC is at least twice as efficient at all bit rates. This means that AVC will open up channels to the end user that were previously closed for digital video services at the right quality. AVC offers significantly higher video resolution at the same bit rate, or the same video quality with half the bit rate that is required for MPEG-2. This will enable attractive new products and services to be introduced by all players in the value chain.

AVC is the result of work started in the ITU and in MPEG, completed in the Joint Video Team (JVT) made up from experts of the two organizations. The algorithm is published as H.264 by the ITU, while ISO/IEC published it as MPEG-4 Part 10.

The primary application of AVC is in new video services where MPEG-2 is less suitable, especially where limited bandwidth is available. Examples are mobile applications, IPTV over ADSL and HDTV in Europe, where spectrum is particularly scarce. Recently, the DVB Steering Board approved the AVC implementation guideline specification, which was prepared by the Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) Technical Module. The specification has been sent to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) pending formal
standardization.

For more information, see Wikipedia's H.264/MPEG-4 AVC.

Thursday, April 14, 2005 9:27:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 12, 2002

"Sender-keeps-all" or "bill-and-keep" accounting mechanisms are simple accounting schemes common in the deployment of new telecommunication technologies. However, in asymmetric traffic environments or where highly diversified service offerings emerge (e.g. those requiring guaranteed bandwidth), these models tend to shift to revenue sharing mechanisms among operators and/or content providers. In some cases, this can lead to new market dynamics. One example is the success of NTT Docomo's i-mode service, which some argue is mostly related to its billing gateway technology, permitting revenue sharing and encouraging the growth of new external content providers.

Many previously "free" Internet services are shifting to subscription or metered-based schemes and there's a lot of standards activity underway focused on charging, accounting and cross-operator settlement schemes for IP-based networks. In the public switched telephone network (PSTN) world, which is focused on a single service, voice, accounting mechanisms are primarily built around call detail records (CDRs). In the IP-based world, the service offerings can be much wider (voice, email, web, streaming access), so the challenge has been to develop a more flexible format that can capture the relevant metrics for a wide range of service classes. An interesting development is the Internet Protocol Detail Record (IPDR).

ITU-T Study Group 3, who deal with tariff and accounting principles including related telecommunication economic and policy issues, are currently meeting at the ITU. At this meeting, the Internet Protocol Detail Record Organization (IPDR), has given an interesting presentation (PDF) on its latest activities, particularly with regard to the emerging Network Data Management Usage (NDM-U) specification. This is a development to keep an eye on in the future.

Thursday, December 12, 2002 12:24:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |