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ITU-T e-FLASH - Issue No. 12


Telecommunication Standardization Sector

Issue No. 12 January 2005


 Standards Bring Interworking to Critical Network Components
A new standard approved by ITU provides interworking between two dominant technologies in next generation networks (NGN). Ethernet and MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) are critical components of the evolving broadband architecture.

The standard - ITU-T Recommendation - Y.1415 - is likely to help further Ethernet’s push towards becoming a carrier class service delivery technology, and aid MPLS’ move towards playing a bigger role in NGN. 

The ability to offer Ethernet services means that carriers will be able to offer considerably improved flexibility to customers through a much simpler and lower cost interface. It will allow users to specify exactly how much bandwidth they want between the 10Mbit/s and 1Gbit/s range currently offered. MPLS will add the quality of service (QoS) requirements that service providers demand to the Ethernet package. Further, the standards provide reduced operation complexity and improved scalability for carriers.

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 NGN Group Delivers First Output
The NGN Focus Group has delivered its first output for inclusion in the first set of specifications for next generation networks (NGN) - Release 1. The document (a supplement to ITU-T's Q series recommendations, approved at the last Study Group 11 meeting) relates to IP-QoS signalling.

QoS signalling provides a way for network elements to communicate with, or signal, other elements to request special handling of certain traffic. QoS signalling is useful for coordinating the traffic handling techniques provided by other QoS features. It plays a key role in configuring successful end-to-end QoS service across a network.

In this case the document - a technical report - identifies the requirements for signalling information regarding IP-based QoS at the interface between the user and the network (UNI) and across interfaces between different networks (NNI) including access networks. 

Identifying these requirements and the signalling information elements will enable the development of signalling protocols which are essential for the development of services based on IP-QoS in NGN.

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 Signalling Specs Defined for the IP World
New specifications ratified by ITU-T Study Group 11 will transfer some of the call control elements of SS7 to the IP world. SS7 is the signalling system used by telecoms operators worldwide to allow the efficient routing of calls, and its worldwide implementation has paved the way for an efficiently operating international telecommunication network.

The new Recommendation - Q.1980.1- defines narrowband signalling syntax (NSS), a flexible text-based syntax that can be used to transfer narrowband signalling information in protocols that cannot inherently transfer such information (eg the session initiation protocol (SIP)).

This NSS solution aims at helping operators reflect the services that they provide in the public switched telephone network (PSTN) in next generation IP based networks. It provides a standardized set of PSTN/ISDN services signalling parameters that can be mapped into the many SS7 ISDN user part (ISUP*) variations, to be transmitted transparently through IP networks. NSS has been designed to enable seamless interworking between the PSTN and IP networks and transition from legacy TDM (time division multiplexing) circuit switched networks to packet-based transport technologies without service degradation or changes.

* ISUP determines the procedures for setting-up, coordinating and taking down calls on an SS7 network. It provides calling party number information, call status checking, and controls tone and announcement delivery.

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 Co-ordination for NGN Agreed
A recent meeting of Study Group 13, the lead study group on NGN, saw the establishment of a group that will ensure that work across ITU-T’s study groups is focused on delivering NGN standards in a timely and efficient way. Essentially the group will aim to see that standards are developed in the most appropriate place and that no duplication of effort occurs.

The ‘joint coordination activity’ (NGN-JCA) group initially consists of management representatives of study groups 2, 11, 13 and 19.

The meeting also saw agreement on a draft action plan to support the involvement of developing countries and countries with economies in transition in its work. This follows a mandate given by the world telecommunication standardization assembly (WTSA) to ensure that ITU-T's standardization work continues to address the digital divide between rich and poor countries. In line with Study Groups 15 and 16's recent announcements the move will ensure that developing countries' needs are taken into account in the development of standards.

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 Report Assists Wireless Convergence
ITU-T's Study Group 19 has developed and approved a technical report that will facilitate interoperable and harmonized wireless network architectures. This is a key aspect of the overall ITU-T focus on next generation networks (NGN).

The convergence of fixed and wireless networks has become a key topic for forward-looking standardization, especially in NGN. This, together with the convergence of telecommunication and information technologies, and the drive for migration to interoperable and harmonized network architectures, means that there is a requirement to provide global roaming and seamless mobility for the users of the different access technologies used by different operators.

To this end, ITU-T's Study Group 19 is leading the definition of requirements, related architecture framework, and network to network interfaces (NNIs) for mobility management for the next generation mobile networks defined in ITU-T's systems beyond IMT-2000. The technical report by Study Group 19 identifies the requirements that will enable the development of protocols which are essential for the development of next generation mobile networks. It is recommended reading for anyone working in this area as it provides an excellent summary of the requirements and options for meeting them.

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 Cybersecurity II Confirmed
Following the success of the Cybersecurity Symposium held in Florianópolis, Brazil, October 2004, ITU has decided to hold another event.

Cybersecurity Symposium II will be held on the first day of the Russian Association for Networks and Services (RANS) conference - Security and Trust for Infocommunication Networks Deployment, Moscow. 

The symposium will highlight the importance of cybersecurity as an essential part of information and communication technologies (ICT). There will be discussion on international cooperation, which is increasingly becoming the decisive issue in coordinating the efforts of state institutions and business for the harmonized development of normative, legal, technological and organizational aspects of an effective cybersecurity infrastructure. Additionally there will be a review of the necessary standards development.

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  Core Network Standards for Next Gen Mobile 
ITU-T's Study Group 19, in its first meeting of the new study period held in Geneva, December 2004, completed the first stage of approval for the latest standards for the core network infrastructure for next generation mobile telephony (ITU's international mobile telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000)).

This set of specifications makes use of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) core network specifications (supporting the cdma2000 air interface). The standards will be known as ITU-T Recommendation Q.1742.4, and extend the applicability of this ANSI standard to a global market.

Together with matching radio interface specifications handled through ITU-R Working Party 8F in the ITU-R M.1457 series of Recommendations, these standards support applications ranging from narrow-band voice to wide-band voice, data and multimedia communications with full terminal mobility. Completion of the approval process is anticipated in the first quarter of 2005.

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 Tools Give Standards Makers Work Overview
In its first meeting of the new study period, Study Group 13 started work on a set of activities to speed up the development of, and provide clear direction for NGN standardization work. ITU-T will implement in the first half of 2005 a set of tools that will give a unique overview of the next generation network (NGN) work going on across the standardization world. 

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 the first set of NGN specifications (Release 1). 

The tools – essentially a repository of information from ITU and other SDOs – were asked for by members of the NGN Focus Group. Key will be the ability to keep track of the latest versions of documents and provide detailed information for experts and summaries for management. 

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Updated : 2005-01-24