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ITU-T e-FLASH - Issue No. 26

ITU-T e-FLASH

Telecommunication Standardization Sector

Issue No. 26 July 2006


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Cost of International Internet Connectivity (IIC) Too High Says ITU group 
The high cost for developing countries in accessing the Internet ‘backbone’ was a hot-topic at a recent, Geneva, meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 3.

SG 3 will submit a paper, outlining its activities and future work plan on international internet connectivity (IIC) to the Internet Governance Forum meeting to be held in Athens, autumn 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.

The area is a key concern for ITU as it was mandated by WSIS to examine the topic. Paragraph 27 – C of the Tunis Agenda:

“27. We recommend improvements and innovations in existing financing mechanisms, including:
C 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.”

 
Study Group 3 Tariff Group Africa

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 ICT in Cars: Focus Group and Event Announcement 
A new ITU-T Focus Group will develop standards for ICTs in cars, and a workshop on the same topic has been announced for March 2007.

The group, open to non-ITU members, and in particular aiming to attract participation from car manufacturers, will be called From/In/To Cars Communication and will, according to terms of reference agreed at the recent meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 12 address:

  • Hands-free communication in cars: Quality parameters and testing methods
  • Interaction of car hands-free systems with the radio channel
  • Extension of the work to wideband car hands-free systems
  • Special requirements/testing procedures for speech recognition systems in cars


Deliverables from the group will be submitted to SG 12 for formal approval as ITU-T Recommendations.

Jean-Yves Monfort, Chairman Study Group 12: “It is essential for all stakeholders to come to grips with these technologies that are having a profound influence on vehicle development, the driver experience and the way that vehicles are now sold. They have the potential to vastly improve vehicle mobility and safety, while increasing comfort and enjoyment, but they also raise some fundamental questions. What are the right business models in linking the automotive and telecoms sectors? How do we face the technical and engineering challenges? How do we make sure that the right standards are adopted to deal with the complexity of so many electronic components and to allow this market to develop its full potential? It is the goal of these activities, the formation of the Focus Group and the workshop, to provide some answers to these questions.”

ITU-T’s SG12 work in the field started following the 2003 ITU, Workshop on Standardization in Telecommunication for Motor Vehicles. The formation of the FG, will make it easier for car manufacturers, standards organizations and others to participate in the development of a new set of requirements and specifications to help advance the work of ITU-T.

The group, chaired by Hans Gierlich, Head Acoustics, will first meet January 2007, with a second meeting planned during the Geneva Motor Show, March 2007. The Motor Show will also host a workshop, convened jointly by ITU, ISO and IEC, The Fully Networked Car, Information and Communication Technologies in Motor Vehicles. The event will review and examine the implications of the latest developments in this fast-moving market. A significant value-add will be an exhibition showcasing the latest technologies in the field. The exhibition will run the length of the Geneva Motor Show, while the workshop will take place between 7 and 9 March.
Co-operation Events Study Group 12

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20 Years of JPEG Celebrated With Software Launch 
ITU-T together with the Independent Joint Photographic Expert Group (IJG) is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the formation of the CCITT/ITU-T and ISO Joint Photographic Expert Group (JPEG) with the release of an alpha version of software for a new more efficient compression scheme. The new ITU extension to JPEG known as ITU-T Recommendation T.851 means that compression is increased such that images will take-up less space on people’s hard drives or digital cameras.

The program available here allows users to input image files for compression at a more efficient rate than that currently offered. The group responsible for producing the open source software is inviting people to test and contribute to the development of the project.

Recently, and capitalizing on the ‘toolbox’ concept of the original JPEG design, ITU-T approved ITU-T Rec. T.851, a royalty-free extension that adds to T.81, more commonly known as JPEG, an alternative compression method using so-called Q15 arithmetic coding. Q15 provides not only higher compression ratios for stored and transmitted images, but - compared to the original arithmetic coding in JPEG - also lower latency for compressing and displaying images. T.851 also extends the color precision of JPEG to a maximum 16 bits per color component, which is seen as essential in applications such as medical imaging, professional photography and high quality printing.

Founded in 1986 by its parent bodies, the then ITU CCITT Study Group VIII and the ISO/TC97/SC2/WG8 group, JPEG continues today under the auspices of ISO/IEC JTC1 SC29/WG1 and ITU-T Study Group 16. The most famous product of JPEG was ITU-T Recommendation T.81 | ISO/IEC 10918-1, which specifies a process for digital compression and coding of continuous-tone still images, and is more commonly known by the name of the group, JPEG. This is the most used format for storing and transmitting photographs on the Internet, in digital photography and in many other image compression applications, and it was approved in 1992 first by ITU-T (then CCITT) and later by ISO/IEC.

Work on the new compression algorithm was started in 2004 by ITU-T Study Group 16. The aim was to allow users to take advantage of recent technological advances, with the addition to the JPEG suite of an alternative, royalty free coder that would allow even better image compression efficiency and lower latency. The successful completion of this first phase of the work resulted in the publication of the specification ITU-T Rec. T.851 after approval in September 2005. Experts from SG 16 say to stay tuned for further developments.

 
Study Group 16 Multimedia Co-operation

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Key QoS Challenge Tackled 
ITU-T’s Study Group 12 has consented a new Recommendation (Y.1542) that gives the groundwork for service providers to realize end-to-end network performance for services like VoIP and IPTV. The work goes some way to satisfying a key challenge for next generation networks (NGN), which need to provide QoS across multiple network operators, and in some cases, unusual topologies and distances.

The Recommendation points out that compared to the circuit switched environment, networks based on: “…IP pose distinctly different challenges for planning and achieving the end-to-end performance levels necessary to adequately support the wide array of user applications.”

Complementary work was completed previously in the form of Recommendations Y.1540 and Y.1541 which give network performance objectives for IP-based services, and QoS classes with more stringent packet loss performance, needed for example for commercial video applications.

Using the QoS classes defined in Y.1541, the new Recommendation explores different approaches to realize end-to-end QoS depending on the type of service. Each class is designed to support a group of applications, VoIP, or IPTV for example.

One key area to be addressed is the development of an end-to-end QoS signalling mechanism that will allow the deployment of such classes.

The new Recommendation, Y.1542, is a framework towards a methodology for satisfying end-to-end objectives and gives guidance intended to accelerate the planning, deployment and management of networks and systems that can interoperate with a goal of supporting the end-to-end performance objectives detailed in Y.1541.

The guidance provided in Y.1542 should "...facilitate network design and operation capable of nearly always meeting the desired levels of performance". According to experts it will also act as a contribution by SG12 to the ITU-T's Joint Coordination Activity (JCA) on NGN.
Study Group 12 QoS NGN

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Guidelines Aim to Reduce Mobile Call Charges 
Study Group 3 has started analysis of survey responses into international mobile termination rates.

Previously SG 3 research identified that in some cases mobile termination rates can be five to ten times more than fixed termination rates. Termination rates occur when international calls are terminated in the network of a country other than that from which they have originated.

Given results of analysis and validation of statistics, SG3 will develop guidelines for reducing the gap. See also previous story.

Study Group 3 Tariff Group Africa

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Standard Makes SLAs in NGN Easier 
Study Group 4 saw the consent of a Recommendation (M.3342) which provides the means to document service level agreements (SLA) between a service customer and a service provider.

The Rec. takes into account the fact that NGN demands QoS guarantees for services. SLAs are considered an effective way of solving the problems of QoS guarantee between customers and providers. The Recommendation describes the detailed classification of SLA content, provides guidelines and instructions for the definition and composition of ‘SLA representation templates’ in order to manage QoS and service guarantees more effectively. It also includes instructions on how to complete the templates.
Study Group 4 Network Management NGN

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NGN Trouble Ticketing: New Recommendation 
ITU-T Recommendation M.3343 consented at the Beijing meeting of Study Group 4 outlines the requirements and protocol neutral information model necessary to communicate trouble tickets in a multi-service provider NGN environment.

NGN according to the Recommendation introduces new reporting needs to address new service types expected.

The Recommendation describes 'trouble' in a communications network as a problem that has an adverse effect on the quality of service perceived by network users. Management of trouble tickets is necessary to ensure that they receive attention and that the trouble is cleared to restore the service.

At the time of a trouble, a network may have been inter-working with another network to provide a service. Therefore a standardized way of exchanging trouble management information between management systems across interfaces is necessary.
  Network Management NGN Study Group 4

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Focus Group Delivers V2 Roadmap 
The NGN Management Focus Group (NGNMFG) 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 roadmap at the May meeting of Study Group 4, in Beijing, changed its terms of reference to reflect the 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.

The roadmap can be found here.
  Network Management NGN Study Group 4

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