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 Thursday, October 13, 2005

The ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, in collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Communications, the Ugo Bordoni Foundation and the Aosta Valley regional authority, organized a Workshop on “Tomorrow’s Network Today” on 7-8 October 2005.

The workshop considered five broad themes:

• International Visions of Ubiquitous Networks and Next Generation Networks
• National Visions of Ubiquitous Networks and Next Generation Networks
• Creating an Enabling Environment
• The Italian Path Towards Ubiquitous Networks
• An example of Italian best practice: "Being Digital in the Aosta Valley"

Now available on the workshop website  are the agenda, with links to presentations as they were delivered and the two Case Studies on Italy – “Bridging the Gap: Taking Tomorrow’s Network Today” presented by Marco Obiso and “Ubiquitous Networks Societies: The Case of Italy” presented by Cristina Bueti - as well as background papers and voluntary contributions produced for the workshop.

During the event, Tim Kelly, Head of the Strategy and Policy Unit (ITU) presented “Tomorrow’s Network and the Internet of Things”, showing some of the outcomes of the forthcoming ITU Internet Reports publication that this year will be dedicated to the theme of the “Internet of Things “.

A final report of the workshop will be available in the next few weeks at the workshop website.

Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:46:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Countering Spam, PDF, Cristina Bueti, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, 11 October 2005, presented to ITU-T Study Group 17 Meeting (Geneva, Switzerland).

Thursday, October 13, 2005 1:48:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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)  #     | 

The WSIS Executive Secretariat has announced that under the Chairmanship of the President of PrepCom of the Tunis phase of WSIS, a Negotiation Group will meet in two consecutive sessions from 24 to 28 October 2005. In its first session, on 24 and 25 October 2005, its objective will be to finalize the negotiation on the Political Chapeau and on the paragraphs remained in brackets of Chapter two of the Operational Part.

In its second session, from 26 to 28 October 2005, the Negotiation Group will aim to finalize the negotiations on Chapters one and four of the Operational Part of the final documents of the Tunis phase. It will be an intergovernmental negotiation process, to be held every day from 10.00 - 13.00 and from 15.00 - 18.00 hours in the Palais de Nations, Room XX, Gate 40. Interpretation in the six UN working languages will be provided. After each session, the President of PrepCom will inform the observers on the advancement of the work. Participants without badges should contact the Executive Secretariat with a completed badge request form by Friday 21 October 2005 at the latest.

The resumed PrepCom-3 will be held back to back to the Tunis Summit. The Prepcom Bureau decided that PrepCom-3 of the Tunis phase of WSIS will be reconvened on 13 November 2005, at 10.00 hours, in Tunis, for a three-day session (13-15 November 2005). Information about the venue will be provided at a later stage. The resumed PrepCom-3 will start with a short organizational Plenary meeting. The modalities of work of the resumed PrepCom-3 will follow the Rules of Procedure of the PrepCom, including the participation of observers in Plenary and Subcommittee meetings. Interpretation in the six UN working languages will be provided.

More information will be made available here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 11:38:28 AM (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)  #     | 

A debate on the emerging agenda for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was staged in Geneva on 30 September 2005. An invited audience of ICT movers and shakers fired questions at a distinguished panel of experts. The resulting programme, Digital Dividend, will be broadcast on BBC World Television on 22 and 23 October 2005, in advance of Phase II of WSIS, which will take place in Tunis, Tunisia on 16-18 November 2005.

The transmission times for BBC World Television are as follows:

Saturday 22 October 2005 - 12:10 GMT
Saturday 22 October 2005 - 19:10 GMT
Sunday 23 October 2005 - 07:10 GMT
Sunday 23 October 2005 - 17:10 GMT

These times are all in GMT. For you local time, please check the BBC website.

 

Monday, October 10, 2005 1:54:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 07, 2005

From Telegeography's Global Internet Gegraphy which provides analysis and statistics on international Internet capacity and traffic, IP transit pricing, and backbone competition.

Traffic growth was hardly consistent around the world. The most rapid traffic growth came on intraregional routes within Asia and within Latin America. Traffic within these regions increased 102 percent and 336 percent, respectively. After more than doubling between 2003 and 2004, average trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic Internet traffic slowed substantially in 2005, with both routes expanding only 42 percent. Overall, the slowest traffic growth occurred on routes connected to the U.S. (see Figure 2. Traffic Growth on U.S. and Non-U.S. Route, 2004-2005). Despite the deceleration of traffic growth on U.S. routes, 94 percent of interregional traffic is still hubbed through the U.S.

Friday, October 07, 2005 1:09:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The “Robust Yet Fragile” Nature of the Internet (PDF) by John C. Doyle, David Alderson, Lun Li, Steven Low, Matthew Roughan, Stanislav Shalunov, Reiko Tanaka, and Walter Willinger:

The search for unifying properties of complex networks is popular, challenging, and important. For modeling approaches that focus on robustness and fragility as unifying concepts, the Internet is an especially attractive case study, mainly because its applications are ubiquitous and pervasive, and widely available expositions exist at every level of detail. Nevertheless, alternative approaches to modeling the Internet often make extremely different assumptions and derive opposite conclusions about fundamental properties of one and the same system. Fortunately, a detailed understanding of Internet technology combined with a unique ability to measure the network means that these differences can be thoroughly understood and unambiguously resolved. This paper aims to make recent results of this process accessible beyond Internet specialists to the broader scientific community, and to clarify several sources of basic methodological differences that are relevant beyond either the Internet or the two specific approaches focused on here; i.e., scale-free networks and highly optimized tolerance networks.

The paper concludes that the Internet is not as vulnerable to specific attacks on major hubs as is often claimed.

Friday, October 07, 2005 12:54:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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)  #     | 

The October 2005 English edition of ITU News is now available. Headlines include:

  • ITU at a Glance
  • ITU's Connect the World Initiatives
  • Eye on development
  • SPAM
  • Pioneers Page
  • In Brief
  • Industry Watch
Friday, October 07, 2005 9:39:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 06, 2005

Links to documents from WSIS Prepcom-3 (19-30 September 2005) Sub-Committee A, which dealt with the topic of Internet Governance, can be found on the WSIS website. The key documents from Prepcom-3 include:

According to the Report of the Work of Sub-Committee A, in order to complete the work in time for the Summit, document DT/10 Rev. 4 is offered as basis for further negotiations. The following documents elaborated during PrepCom-3 are offered as a further input to future negotiations:

Thursday, October 06, 2005 5:02:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Nanog has been abuzz for a few days about the depeering of Level 3 and Cogent. This has now been picked up in the press in CNET's Network feud leads to Net blackout:

Two major Internet backbone companies are feuding, potentially cutting off significant swaths of the Internet for some of each other's customers.

On Wednesday, network company Level 3 Communications cut off its direct "peering" connections to another big network company called Cogent Communications. That technical action means that some customers on each company's network now will find it impossible, or slower, to get to Web sites on the other company's network.

Cogent has issued a statement dated October 6 2005 on the termination by Level 3 of peering:

Level 3 has partitioned its part of the Internet from Cogent's part of the Internet by denying Level 3's
customers access to Cogent's customers and denying Cogent's customers access to Level 3 customers. Level 3
terminated its peering with Cogent without cause (as permitted under its peering agreement with Cogent)
even though both Cogent and Level 3 remained in full compliance with the previously existing interconnection
agreement.

Thursday, October 06, 2005 1:50:24 PM (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, October 04, 2005

Update on ITU and WSIS Activities Related to Spam and Cybersecurity (PDF) presented at OECD Spam Task Force Meeting, Paris, France on 3 October 2005, Robert Shaw, ITU Strategy and Policy Unit

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 3:32:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 30, 2005

European Commission press release on advancing a single market for radio spectrum:

The new Commission strategy in addition advocates overcoming the rigidity of traditional radio spectrum management approaches, where administrations tie usage rights of individual spectrum bands to specific transmission technologies and too narrow service definitions such as broadcasting or mobile communications. A greater flexibility in access to spectrum will give market players more freedom to use radio resources as they choose. This is an essential condition for achieving the full potential of radio spectrum resources and for keeping pace with technological advances and convergence both of technology platforms and of services.

As part of its spectrum reform strategy, the Commission also proposes that, between now and 2010, the exclusive usage rights for significant parts of the radio spectrum ought to be made tradable according to common EU rules. Independent estimates indicate that significant net gains (around €8-9 billion/year) could be achieved by introducing market mechanisms in order to put spectrum to its most promising uses throughout the EU.

As a de-regulated access to spectrum can encourage the development and use of innovative technologies, the Commission’s new strategy inally foresees investigating further the opportunities to make available licence-free radio frequencies to allow different users to share bands as lready the case for WiFi radio access. This will ultimately widen the choice of the wireless applications for the consumer.

Friday, September 30, 2005 7:31:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 29, 2005

According to Computer Business Review Online, NeuStar Inc has won a high-profile contract to provide internet addressing services for the world's GSM carriers, the company announced yesterday. NeuStar will operate a private root DNS server system serving the .gprs suffix, which will only be usable by participating GSMA member companies.

Update: There has been a lot of subsequent debate about the significance of this deal (mostly on Dave Farber's IP list and Nanog). In this post, James Seng tries to sum up what he sees are the main issues and points to the viewpoints of some other experts.

Thursday, September 29, 2005 2:21:15 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 28, 2005

PrepCom-3 Highlights: 26-27 September 2005

Internet governance discussions kicked off this morning with delegations getting down to the business of drafting text that will eventually become part of the outcome documents of November’s World Summit.

PrepCom-3 Highlights: 28 September 2005

The European Union signaled a radical shift of position on its support for maintaining the Internet governance status quo, tabling a bold new document (Word) on Wednesday night that proposed a new public-private governance model, including an international multi-stakeholder forum.

Taking the floor half-way through Wednesday evening’s meeting of Sub-Committee A, the UK delegate’s placid delivery belied the ground-shaking import of the proposal, which represented a clear departure from the “status quo” camp led by the US.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 6:58:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The latest meeting of ITU Study Group 3 saw an agreement that may lead to lower international mobile telephony charges. The move follows a successful initiative in the 1990’s to lower the – then – high cost of international fixed line telephone calls.

Study Group 3 research has found that in some cases mobile termination charges can be five to ten times more than fixed termination charge. Termination charges happen when calls are terminated in a network other than that from which they have originated. And since as many as 75 per cent of all calls now involve the mobile network in some way Study Group 3 has decided to investigate how to lower these costs and make mobile telephony more affordable.

The Study Group will send a questionnaire to members and following analysis of the responses it will develop targets aimed at bringing down the cost of mobile call termination. The same initiative for fixed-line telephony is thought to have significantly reduced costs to consumers. Although some lowering of call costs can be shown to have been due to competition and market conditions, call costs were also seen to drop in areas where there was no competition, indicating that the ITU initiative had worked.

In other news from Study Group 3's last meeting it was announced that an alternative has been agreed to the 140 year old practice of allowing the calling party’s service provider to invoice the call terminator for call termination services. The practice has led to many disputes and there have been calls to review the situation. Study Group 3's meeting agreed to a new model that – it is felt – will be less problematic. Now the call terminator can bill directly for the minutes used by the service provider sending the calls.

For further information on these and other Study Group 3 activites, please click here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 9:04:30 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)  #     | 
 Monday, September 26, 2005

Roger Darlington has a post on speeches by European Commissioner Vivianne Reding and Ofcom Chairman Lord Currie at an Audiovisual Conference in Liverpool discussing the draft proposas for reform of the EU's Television Without Frontiers Directive: 

The European Commissioner Viviane Reding has been attacked over her draft proposals for reform of the Television Without Frontiers Directive and accused of wanting in effect to extend elements of broadcasting regulation to the Internet but, at a conference earlier this week, she came out fighting....

Monday, September 26, 2005 3:04:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

To further encourage the development of a ubiquitous network society, the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, the Italian Ministry of Communications, the Ugo Bordoni Foundation and the Aosta Valley are hosting a Workshop on "Tomorrow's Network Today" that will be held in Saint-Vincent (Aosta), Italy on 7-8 October 2005.

This Workshop will discuss specific measures to help overcome potential challenges and determine possible future actions.

One session will be dedicated to Next Generation Networks (NGN) as a framework to harmonize the worldwide technical and functional basis needed to extend the use of integrated ICTs to as many users as possible.

During the workshop there will be an Exhibition which will bring together a wide range of leading industry participants as well as high-level representatives from government and regulators.

Click here for more information about the event.

Monday, September 26, 2005 9:46:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the 23 September 2005, the FCC released statements on legal intercept for broadband and VoIP providers as well as stating its jurisdiction over providers of telecommunications for Internet access and IP-enabled services in the United States of America.

FCC Requires Certain Broadband and VoIP Providers to Accommodate Wiretaps.
Order: Acrobat
News Release (8/5/05): Word | Acrobat
Martin Press Statement: Word | Acrobat
Abernathy Statement: Word | Acrobat

FCC Adopts Policy Statement on Broadband Internet Access.
Policy Statement: Word | Acrobat
News Release (8/5/05): Word | Acrobat
Martin Press Statement: Word | Acrobat

"...the Commission has jurisdiction necessary to ensure that providers of telecommunications for Internet access or Internet Protocol-enabled (IP-enabled) services are operated in a neutral manner. Moreover, to ensure that broadband networks are widely deployed, open, affordable, and accessible to all consumers, the Commission adopts the following principles:

  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network.
  • To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers."
Monday, September 26, 2005 8:56:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Sunday, September 25, 2005

John Levine in his blog describes how, on September 22 2005, Robert Braver, an Oklahoma ISP owner who is a long time activist against both spam and junk faxes, received a default judgement of over $10 million against high profile spammer Robert Soloway and his company Newport Internet Marketing. Soloway has frequently been cited as one of the ten largest spammers in the world.

Details of the case including a copy of the decision and other documents are available on a website that Braver set up.

Sunday, September 25, 2005 8:21:51 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)  #     | 

Highlights from the discussions at WSIS Prepcom-3 19-21 September 2005 can be found here.

Friday, September 23, 2005 8:42:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |