Telecommunication Standardization Sector
|Issue No. 10
ITU and Internet Governance
of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), Houlin Zhao has drafted an input to the 7th
meeting of the ITU Council Working Group on the World
Summit on the Information Society (WSIS),
vision for ITU's role in future Internet governance. The draft is
available on the web,
and comments welcome until 15 November.
governance was one of the hot issues that emerged during
the first phase of the WSIS. In his paper, Zhao
says that he believes ITU has an important role to play,
along with other key players in the area. He highlights
the fact that people are troubled by the current lack of
consensus over who should do what. Particularly at the
international level, Zhao suggests that everybody would
benefit from a more coordinated approach on Internet and
In outlining ITU's competences in the field, the paper
points to various ITU achievements.
Behind the success of the Internet are a number of ITU-T standards. H.323, which facilitates the delivery of voice, video and data over computer networks like the Internet remains the most used standard for this job. The H.323 family of standards has been crucial in fostering the development of new voice-over-IP services
(VoIP), winning widespread support from equipment vendors because it enables interoperability between products from different manufacturers.
ASN.1 is a key part of the Simple Network
Management Protocol (SNMP) that is used to manage the Internet’s operation. And the
directory services system is used extensively within today's IP-based networks in the form of object identifiers
for object code modules for SNMP.
One of the most well known standards in the area,
is used for securing the connection between a browser and a server on the web and for providing digital
signatures that enable e-commerce transactions to be conducted.
All this is in addition to the fact that ITU-T is the
world leader in access standards including for DSL, Cable
and Fiber to the Home (FTTH).
Additional to the standards mentioned in the paper other
ITU work means that web surfers around the world can access real-time video from remote servers.
H.264 the latest video compression algorithm gives users unprecedented levels of quality. A raft of other standards
in the H
series help to create a better user experience.
And, arguably, without the success of the ITU-T V.90
modem standard, the Internet would not have grown to the
size that it is today.
The paper also shows how ITU's support for the
liberalization of telecommunications markets as well as
other policy contributions have facilitated the
development of the Internet.
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the three organizations that make up the World Standards Cooperation
initiative (WSC), recently
staged a course on standardization, aimed at managers from all areas of industry.
Standardization Community Management Course, 20-24 September 2004,
an overview of standardization and the activities of all
three organizations. There were modules on the history of standards, the importance of standardization, legal issues, the working practices of the three organizations and
how standards are marketed.
Presentations were given by high-ranking members of all organizations.
Director, Houlin Zhao's presentation focussed on IPR and
specifically how ITU's standardization sector deals with
this thorny issue.
IEC General Secretary, Aharon Amit, talked about the history of standards,
using the example of a weight unit from China called the
Liang. In the first century, Liang was a word used to describe a vessel in which instructions were inscribed
detailing the exact manufacturing process, thereby
ensuring that a standard measure of volume was created.
A guest speaker from the World Trade Organization used a case study on sardines to illustrate the importance of international standards (compared to local standards) in the resolution of international trade disputes.
Reinhard Scholl, Deputy to the Director of TSB provided some entertainment, composing
a ‘poetry of ICT standards’ for
his presentation. He and Kevin
McKinley, Deputy Secretary General, ISO, used the
example of a fire in Baltimore, to illustrate how US
authorities were woken up to the value of standardization.
fire in 1904,
got out of control and spread quickly through the city. Fire companies as far as 100 miles away rushed to aid,
but, it was found that their hose couplings could not attach to the hydrants, nor to other hoses – there were no standard couplings. While firemen watched helplessly, Baltimore
burned. This disaster was the stimulus to establish standard hose couplings by the US National Fire Protection Association, and standard screw threads and other mechanical standards by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
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Numbering Workshop Held in Yemen
held a workshop 13-15 September in Sana'a, Yemen on
numbering plan policies. The workshop was designed to give
attendees a better understanding of numbering plan
policies and the impact and implication of ENUM
implementation, including administrative and regulatory
Richard Hill, counsellor to ITU-T Study Groups 2
and 4, gave the keynote presentation on ENUM and numbering
The ENUM protocol provides a mapping into the Internet Domain Name System (DNS) of
the international numbering plan defined in ITU-T Recommendation
E.164. ENUM raises a number of regulatory and policy issues, some of which were explored in the workshop.
His Excellency, Mr. Abdel-Malek Almualemi, the Minister of Communication and Information Technology of Yemen, opened the workshop,
attended by 81 particpants from eight arab countries.
Dr. Abdelfattah Abuqayyas, Arab Centre of Excellence (CoE
- see note below) Coordinator, in his opening speech said that the rapid change in
information and communication technologies (ICT) during the past decade has
increased the necessity for updating the national numbering plan
(based on ITU-T Recommendation E.164) and having a complementary numbering plan for all services based on
ENUM. The joint effort of ITU
with other concerned agencies is the basis for
successful mapping of the numbering national plan into
ENUM, he said. This mapping is facing many legislative and regulatory difficulties, and,
he added, this workshop met the real demand of all countries in the region in the capacity building process and
raised awareness among all stakeholders.
Abuqayyas called for active participation in the
CoE's activities and in the coming CoE General Assembly meeting to be held in Muscat, Oman, December
- Centres of Excellence are an ITU sponsored instrument
whose primary mandate is to train policy-makers, regulators and managers in the development of national telecommunication sector priorities and regulations, as well as senior corporate managers in the management of telecommunication networks and services.
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ITU Video Spec Recommended for 3G
latest specifications for 3G telephony incorporate the ITU
video coding standard H.264. The news that H.264 has been
adopted by both 3GPP and 3GPP2, the two partnership
define the specifications for third generation mobile, is the latest in a long
line of adoptions by industry of the ground breaking
standard. The move is expected to open the door to a richer
variety of content on mobile networks.
H.264 offers a method for compressing and decompressing video (codec for short)
and is slated to replace the MPEG-2 format, commonly used by broadcasters and in multimedia products, such as DVDs and video
is ideal for mobile telephony networks because it allows
for video to be transmitted at greatly reduced
bandwidth. H.264 is written by the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group
(VCEG) together with the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG),
a collective effort known as the Joint Video Team (JVT).
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NGN Management Focus Group Formed
ITU-T has created a new group to examine some management aspects of
NGN. Specifically the group will look at the fault, configuration, accounting, performance and security management interfaces within
NGN. These elements are key if operators wish to roll out services quickly and efficiently.
The NGN Management Focus Group was created in response to a call by the NGN
Focus Group to develop specifications to be included in NGN Release 1 planned for 2005.
Because of the tight schedule for NGN Release 1 the group has agreed to emphasize the use of existing and in-progress specifications where possible. Where appropriate, the group will recommend the use of specifications from non-ITU organizations. Other groups invited to participate include the European Telecommunications Standards Institute's
TISPAN, the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions' Telecom Management and Operations Committee
TMOC), The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP),
Forum and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
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Prediction Tool Available From ITU Website
A new feature on ITU-T's website is a computational tool that allows network
planners to predict the voice transmission quality of different network and
terminal configurations. The tool, known as E-model allows you to enter the
transmission characteristics of network and terminal equipment in order to
calculate the expected speech quality using that setup.
E-model is based on ITU-T Recommendation
G.107, and takes into account many parameters, such as the effects of room
noise, quantizing distortion, delay, codec impairments and impairments due to
packet-loss. The software, available
via Study Group 12's webpage,
was developed and is offered by Alcatel.
The new feature is especially useful for transmission planners looking to ensure
good end-to-end voice transmission performance. Its primary output is a
transmission rating, giving categories like “best” or “poor” according
to ITU-T Recommendation
G.109. The tool can be useful for identifying planning
errors or design flaws, such as when one expects high transmission quality
ratings for a given configuration but low values are returned by the E-model. Guidelines are
available, which should be read before using the tool and applying results.
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Products And Services - New Edition Security Manual
new version of the ITU-T manual - Security in
Telecommunications and Information Technology is
available. Houlin Zhao, TSB Director says in his
introduction to the new guide: "Encouraged by the
enthusiastic reception of the ICT community worldwide and
viewing the valuable proposals and feedback from the
readers, we prepared a new version (of this security
manual). This new version,
version 2004, has a new structure with additional new
material and some areas have been expanded on."
24 extra pages include new sections on secure mobile
end-to-end data data communications, the availability
dimension and infrastructure layer and incident
organization and security incident handling (guidelines)
for telecommunication organizations.
The manual aggregates all
of the available information on the deployment of existing ITU-T
Recommendations for secure telecommunications. It aims to act as a guide
for technologists, middle level management and regulators
to assist in the practical implementation of security
An electronic version of the guide is available: [ PDF
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