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 Monday, September 16, 2013

ITU members have agreed new international standards (ITU-T Recommendations) outlining security considerations essential to cloud computing and, crucial to the long-term preservation and utility of IP-based resources, a ‘framework for the discovery of identity management information’ to enable interoperability across heterogenous information systems.

Recommendation ITU-T X.1600 “Security framework for cloud computing”, having reached first-stage approval (‘determined’) and now undergoing a final review, describes security threats in the cloud computing environment and, through a framework methodology, matches threats with the security capabilities advised to be specified in mitigating them. ITU-T X.1600 will act as a ‘handbook’ guiding the future standardization of identified threat-mitigation techniques; in addition providing an implementation reference for systems-level cloud security.

Recommendation ITU-T X.1255 “Framework for the discovery of identity management information”, approved and soon to be freely available on ITU’s website, details an open architecture framework in which identity management (IdM) information – identifying ‘digital objects’ and enabling information sharing among entities including subscribers, users, networks, network elements, software applications, services and devices – can be discovered, accessed and represented by heterogenous IdM systems representing IdM information in different ways, supported by a variety of trust frameworks and employing different metadata schemas.

ITU-T X.1255 lays out a framework that enables discovery of identity-related information and its provenance; identity-related information attributes, including but not limited to visual logos and human-readable site names; and attributes and functionality of applications. The framework, in addition, describes a data model and protocol to enable meta-level interoperability in the management of this information across heterogeneous IdM environments.

The Recommendation is a first step towards the Digital Object Architecture (DOA) advocated by the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), which is intended to achieve the “universal information access” possible with uniquely identifiable digital objects structured so as to ensure their machine and platform independence.

For a succinct description of the history, motivation and promise of the DOA, see Peter J. Denning & Robert E. Kahn, “The Long Quest for Universal Information Access”, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 53 No. 12, Pages 34-36.

The new Recommendations were agreed at a meeting of ITU-T Study Group 17 (Security) in Geneva, 26 August to 04 September, which also saw the establishment of three new work items, on:

  • high-speed Abstract Syntax Notation (ASN.1) Octet Encoding Rules (OER) needed by the financial services sector to gain milliseconds on the trading floor;
  • updating the Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) to eliminate all obsolete ASN.1 features in the interests of making the CMS usable with all ASN.1 standardized encoding rules; and,
  • new challenges for Public-Key Infrastructure (PKI) standardization presented by mobile networks, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, cloud computing and smart grid.

More information on the work of ITU-T Study Group 17 can be found here.

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Monday, September 16, 2013 2:00:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ITU members have agreed new standards (ITU-T Recommendations) on cloud computing, ‘smart’ ubiquitous networks and security requirements for the interconnection of emergency telecoms services.

The standards were agreed at a recent meeting of ITU-T Study Group 13 – Future Networks including cloud computing, mobile and next-generation networks. The meeting also agreed the publication of three new technical papers:

  • Migration scenarios from legacy networks to NGN in developing countries
  • How to increase QoS/QoE of IP-based Platform
  • Mobility Management in ITU-T: Its Current development and Next Steps Heading Towards Future Networks

The SG13 meeting finalized the approval of Recommendation ITU-T Y.2705, Minimum Security Requirements for Interconnection of Emergency Telecommunications Service (ETS), and reached first-stage approval (consent) of the first ITU standards on cloud computing:

  • Recommendation ITU-T Y.3501, Cloud computing framework and high-level requirements
  • Recommendation ITU-T Y.3510, Cloud Computing Infrastructure Requirements
  • Recommendation ITU-T Y.3520, Cloud computing framework for end to end resource management

Other noteworthy standards reaching first-stage approval include two new recommendations on smart ubiquitous networks, a central force in the evolution towards more human-centric ICTs:

  • Recommendation ITU-T Y.3041, Smart Ubiquitous Networks – Overview
  • Recommendation ITU-T Y.3042, Smart Ubiquitous Networks – Smart Traffic Control and Resource Management Functions

Following the adoption of a Resolution on Software Defined Networking (SDN) at last November’s World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-12) in Dubai, much discussion was also dedicated to planning the course of ITU’s standardization work on this important work area. In addition, ITU-T Study Group 17 participants were invited to discuss the division of work between the two groups as it relates to standards for security in cloud computing.

More information on ITU-T Study Group 13 is available here

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013 9:54:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 28, 2013

Successor to award-winning standard to unleash new innovation
Geneva, 25 January 2013 – A new video coding standard building on the PrimeTime Emmy award winning ITU-T H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC was agreed by ITU members today.

The new codec will considerably ease the burden on global networks where, by some estimates, video accounts for more than half of bandwidth use. The new standard, known informally as ‘High Efficiency Video Coding’ (HEVC) will need only half the bit rate of its predecessor, ITU-T H.264 / MPEG-4 Part 10 ‘Advanced Video Coding’ (AVC), which currently accounts for over 80 per cent of all web video. HEVC will unleash a new phase of innovation in video production spanning the whole ICT spectrum, from mobile devices through to Ultra-High Definition TV.

ITU-T’s Study Group 16 has agreed first-stage approval (consent) of the much-anticipated standard known formally as Recommendation ITU-T H.265 or ISO/IEC 23008-2. It is the product of collaboration between the ITU Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) and the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG).

Full Press release

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Monday, January 28, 2013 11:27:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 29, 2012

A competition open to all has been launched to design a poster for World Standards Day, 14 October, on the theme, “Less waste, better results – Standards increase efficiency”.

The competition is being held by the World Standards Cooperation (WSC), which comprises the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The designer(s) of the best poster will win 1 500 Swiss francs, with the three runners-up receiving 500 Swiss francs each.

To compete, designers should send their entries in .jpg or .png format to the following e-mail address: wsdposter@worldstandardscooperation.org. Submissions will be accepted until 30 April.

IEC, ISO and ITU representatives will choose the finalists. The shortlisted entries will be published on the WSC Website. The general public will choose the winning designs.
 
People can follow the World Standards Day poster competition on Twitter and Facebook.

To help prospective World Standards Day poster artists, the WSC Website includes a number of resources:

•    A text explaining this year’s World Standards Day theme
•    Examples of previous World Standards Day posters, including last year’s winning entry
•    Specifications for the 2012 poster.

Any questions about the competition should be sent to: wsdposter@worldstandardscooperation.org, Twitter or Facebook.

The World Standards Cooperation was set up in 2001 in order to strengthen and advance the voluntary consensus-based international standards systems of IEC, ISO and ITU. Each year on 14 October, the members of the IEC, ISO and ITU celebrate World Standards Day, which is a means of paying tribute to the collaborative efforts of the thousands of experts worldwide who develop the voluntary technical agreements that are published as international standards.


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Thursday, March 29, 2012 8:13:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 


ITU’s new Focus Group on the Machine-to-Machine service layer (FG M2M) will meet for the first time at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, 17-18 April 2012. M2M service layer standards will act as important catalysts for the market’s growth, and an earlier newslog announcement of FG M2M’s formation has attracted the interest of an array of M2M-focused organizations, both within and outside ITU’s membership. See FG M2M’s homepage here.

The M2M market is expected to grow rapidly over the coming years and, as part of the more broadly-defined Internet of Things (see ITU’s JCA-IoT), will encompass a wide variety of industry sectors. Some forecasts predict that 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020.

Considering the wide range of M2M’s possible applications – enabling services across vertical markets including healthcare, logistics, transport, utilities and countless others – this prediction may hold true; but certainly not without the interoperability enabled by global ICT standards. A common M2M service layer, agreed at the international level by stakeholders in the M2M and relevant vertical markets, will provide a cost-efficient platform able to be easily deployed in hardware and software, in a multi-vendor environment, across industry sectors.

FG M2M will identify a minimum set of requirements common to vertical markets, and thereby create the knowledge-base needed to begin the development of open, international ITU standards. In analyzing the requirements of vertical markets, the group will initially focus on the healthcare market by investigating application programming interfaces (APIs) and protocols supporting e-health applications and services.

The deadline for submission of input documents is 10 April, and the meeting is open to all interested parties from ITU Member States. Registration for both on-site and remote participation is available at http://www.itu.int/reg/tsg/3000361.
   

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Thursday, March 29, 2012 8:11:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 16, 2012

Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between ITU and the four standardisation bodies of China, Japan and Korea (CJK) last year, see press release here Malcolm Johnson, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, led a delegation from the ITU Secretariat to the eleventh CJK Meeting (CJK-11) 14-16 March at the Seagaia Convention Centre in Miyazaki Prefecture, Japan. The Indian standards body GISFI also attended the meeting as an observer as it has requested to join the MoU.

The meeting addressed global ICT standardization questions of common interest to the region’s key standards bodies: ARIB, CCSA, TTA and TTC.

In his opening speech Johnson noted that CJK governments together account for 15 per cent of the total financial contributions received by ITU from Member States, and private entities from these nations account for 20 per cent of the contributions ITU-T receives from the private sector. Moreover, CJK makes a significant number contribution to ITU meetings: 38 percent more contributions in 2011 than in 2009.

Full speech can be seen here.

CJK meetings seek to maintain and improve the commitment to mutual understanding and cooperation, and recognise the imperative of coordinated international standards for the sound progression of each of the countries’ ICT industries.  The meeting identified the following topics as candidates for collaboration under the MoU: M2M and Dynamic Spectrum Access; Future IMT; smart grid; cloud computing and security; and the work on environment and climate change.

The Deputy Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau, Fabio Leite, also participated in the meeting stressing the importance of collaboration with ITU’s Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R), in particular on M2M access networks where there is a clear need for interoperability between radio-based systems.

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Friday, March 16, 2012 9:00:07 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 01, 2011

Geneva, 30 November 2011 – The arresting digital displays of Times Square, Piccadilly Circus and Shibuya are just a foretaste of a brave new world of cityscapes illuminated by interactive, dynamic and highly targeted signage, according to a new ITU-T Technology Watch Report, Digital signage: the right information in all the right places.

Advances in display technologies, declining manufacturing costs and a retail boom in emerging economies are all contributing to the rapid spread of large-scale high-definition display networks. But the proprietary nature of current digital signage solutions is restricting the integration of applications across different networks and vendors. Interoperable global standards will be crucial to the future development of this emerging market, unlocking enormous value not just for display system developers, retailers and newscasters, but for governments and the community at large.

Tomorrow’s dynamic signage can play a crucial civic role in areas like traffic management, public transport systems, safe crowd management at large events, control of people flows in public areas and private venues, and emergency response systems. But to do that effectively, standardized platforms will be crucial.

Full press release

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Thursday, December 01, 2011 10:43:56 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ITU Workshop on Standards and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Issues, New Delhi, India, 19-20 December 2011

Convening Letter

On-line registration

ITU Workshop on Standards and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Issues

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011 3:12:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The result of the consultation of Member States in TSB Circulars 203 and 231 is as follows:

Rec. No.

Yes

No

G.9980

31

1

G.8113.1

33

5

G.9955

33

0

G.9964

24

0

Accordingly these draft Recommendations will now be included in the list to be considered for approval at the SG15 closing plenary on 16 December 2011. 

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 2:04:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 27, 2011

Geneva, 25 October 2011 – A meeting of 20 CTOs from leading companies1 in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry has urged ITU to accelerate technical standardization work in the field of e-health. CTOs stressed that reliable, interoperable standards are key to providing patients and health professionals with the means to utilize remote consultation services, advanced ICT-based diagnostic procedures and electronic health information services.

The meeting, which was held today in Geneva during ITU Telecom World 2011, agreed that international coordination on standards will be vital, and that growth in telemedicine services will also demand aggressive roll-out of broadband networks. The CTOs encouraged ITU, as the world’s leading developer of global ICT standards, to intensify its involvement by developing essential e-health infrastructure standards, and by cooperating with other standards bodies to create reliable, secure and interoperable e-health solutions.

1) Participating companies were: Alcatel-Lucent; Cisco; Ericsson; Etisalat Group; Freescale; Fujitsu; Huawei; KDDI; Microsoft; Netscout Systems; NSN; NTT; Orange FT Group; RIM; Telecom Italia; Telefonica; Telekom South Africa; Turk Telecom Group; Verizon; Vodafone Group; ZTE.

Full press release

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Thursday, October 27, 2011 4:09:53 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 09, 2011
The World Standards Cooperation (WSC) has announced the results of the poster competition for World Standards Day 2011, which attracted 45 entries and 2,000 votes.

Open to all, the competition was to design a poster for World Standards Day, 14 October, on the theme, “International Standards – Creating confidence globally”. The competition’s organizer, the WSC, comprises the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

First prize and winner of 1,500 Swiss francs goes to Caterina Fiorani, (Italy).




Runners up receiving 500 Swiss francs each are:

  • The team of Alexandra Schoenitz, Eurydice Avoine, Cornell Gorgas and Thibaud Cerdan (France/Germany)
  • Teguh Pribadi Adi Nugroho (Indonesia)
  • Eva Kohl (Germany).

The winner, Caterina Fiorani, is a young architect, working as an independent architecture and planning professional in Rome. This is how she explains the inspiration for her poster: “There are some gestures that have universal value: one of them is the open hand, which may indicate greeting, welcome, the reassurance of a peaceful attitude, a deep confidence in human skills.

“Two open hands in contact suggest honesty, and the helpfulness of man towards other human beings, which makes it possible to cooperate for a common purpose. Moreover, two hands recall the concept of work which is the principal tool through which man can achieve quality in his production, with the essential aid of International Standards, a necessary and powerful help to reach excellence.

“The whole world is represented through dots, a standardized graphic sign which symbolizes the hope for equal dignity for human beings all around the globe.  The use of colour emphasizes local differences as an added value that must never be forgotten.”

The competition was promoted via social media (Twitter, Facebook) and voting held online. It proved so popular that the deadline had to be extended to late May. The final competing entries were chosen by the WSC and displayed for voting on its Website.

The World Standards Cooperation was set up in 2001 in order to strengthen and advance the voluntary consensus-based international standards systems of IEC, ISO and ITU. Each year on 14 October, the members of the IEC, ISO and ITU celebrate World Standards Day, which is a means of paying tribute to the collaborative efforts of the thousands of experts worldwide who develop the voluntary technical agreements that are published as international standards. In addition to the poster, the three partners will be producing a World Standards Day message.

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Thursday, June 09, 2011 1:59:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 18, 2011
Internet of Things Global Standards Initiative (IoT-GSI), Geneva, 9-13 May 2011

Convening letter (TSB Circular 182)

Online registration

Internet of Things Global Standards Initiative (IoT-GSI)

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Monday, April 18, 2011 1:13:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 16, 2011
A competition open to all has been launched to design a poster for World Standards Day, 14 October, on the theme, “International Standards – Creating confidence globally”.

The competition is being held by the World Standards Cooperation (WSC), which comprises the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The designer(s) of the best poster will win 1 500 Swiss francs, with the three runners-up receiving 500 Swiss francs each.

To compete, designers should send their entries in .jpg or .png format to the following e-mail address: wsdposter@worldstandardscooperation.org. Submissions will be accepted until 30 April.

IEC, ISO and ITU representatives will choose the finalists. The shortlisted entries will be published on the WSC Website. The general public will choose the winning designs. Each finalist entry will have a Facebook “Like" button. The entries to receive the largest amount of Facebook “likes” will win the competition. Voting will open on 5 April and close on 30 April. IEC, ISO and ITU will announce the winners shortly after. People can follow the World Standards Day poster competition on Twitter and Facebook.

The WSC partners comment, “We hope to see your inspiring creations that will no doubt establish fruitful conversations between individuals, businesses and organizations across the globe about the role of standards in increasing global confidence.”

To help prospective World Standards Day poster artists, the WSC Website includes a number of resources:

•    A text explaining this year’s World Standards Day theme
•    Examples of previous World Standards Day posters
•    Specifications for the 2011 poster.

Any questions about the competition should be sent to: wsdposter@worldstandardscooperation.org, Twitter or Facebook.

The World Standards Cooperation was set up in 2001 in order to strengthen and advance the voluntary consensus-based international standards systems of IEC, ISO and ITU. Each year on 14 October, the members of the IEC, ISO and ITU celebrate World Standards Day, which is a means of paying tribute to the collaborative efforts of the thousands of experts worldwide who develop the voluntary technical agreements that are published as international standards.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011 2:28:48 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 28, 2011
Geneva, 28 February 2011 – In a big step towards leveraging existing MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) deployment in transport networks, ITU has agreed first stage approval of a key new standard. The ITU-T standard will give network operators the tools necessary to manage large scale deployments of MPLS-based networks. Network operators will now have a choice of OAM (operations, administration and maintenance) tools to best meet their specific transport network requirements. These OAM tools in the hands of network operators will, in particular, allow quick detection of defects and fault isolation.

MPLS is widely embraced in backbone networks as a way to speed up routers. The OAM tools in the ITU-T standard are based on technology proven in carrier grade Ethernet services and legacy transport networks, making it easier for operators to upgrade. In addition to reducing labour costs, network operators will see significantly reduced capital expenditure (CAPEX) costs given that the standard allows for more efficient allocation of bandwidth.

Operators are increasingly looking to MPLS as an end-to-end technology, given its inherent flexibility and support for IP-based applications. The decision was taken together with first stage approval of another standard providing network architecture for MPLS-TP based networks.

Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General, said: “ITU collaborates and coordinates, in good faith and on the basis of reciprocity, with other relevant organizations in the development of IP networks to ensure maximum benefits to the global community. This is in accordance with the decisions of the 2010 ITU Plenipotentiary Conference. However, this should not lead to a situation where the ITU fails to deliver on its commitments to its own membership. Much effort was made to reach a compromise during last week’s Study Group 15 (SG15) meeting, but the decision was taken very exceptionally by vote, since all attempts at compromise had failed.”

ITU-T SG15 began working on transport profiles for MPLS technology suitable for use in the network layer of transport networks more than three years ago. A joint working team (JWT) was set up to allow Internet Engineering Taskforce (IETF) and ITU experts to work together to avoid divergent work streams. Specifically, it was expected that this group would provide the necessary protocol extensions for ITU’s specifications to work in an MPLS environment. IETF committed to provide its contribution by the second quarter of 2009. However this crucial technical input was not provided and the IETF’s MPLS-TP Interoperability Design Team (MEAD) was unilaterally disbanded by IETF in October 2009.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU: “ITU is a consensus based organization and voting is always a last resort. In this case it was clear that a significant part of our membership could not accept any further delay in pursuing a solution that will give them the ability to address a real market need. Given that there are over 100,000 MPLS-TP nodes already in transport networks, it is essential that the corresponding OAM tool.

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Monday, February 28, 2011 10:59:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 10, 2011
ITU and its partners ISO and IEC have launched a new electronic newsletter providing concrete examples of how standards impact the bottom line, stimulate economic growth, productivity and innovation and allow businesses large and small to access broader markets.

The newsletter goes out under the banner of the World Standards Cooperation (WSC) which the three organizations established in 2001 in order to strengthen and advance the voluntary consensus-based international standards systems of IEC, ISO and ITU.

The first issue of the WSC eNewsletter includes the following success stories:

How Tyco Electronics achieved additional profits of USD +50 million by participating in standardization

  • Why the former CEO of Mitsubishi believes that standardization and certification are now crucial for Japanese companies' continued success
  • Why the CEO of Rockwell, the world's largest automation company, recommends that businesses participate in standardization work
  • How a 50-employee SME succeeded in opening up the European market for its medical devices 

In addition, the eNewsletter includes articles on the following subjects:

Now you can calculate the cost and benefit of standardization
Standards have a direct impact on the bottom line which you can calculate. The cost of standardization is relatively easy to calculate, but the calculation of its benefits was much trickier... until now. Find out how your company can assess and communicate the economic benefits of international standards, and determine which areas are likely to result in the highest benefits...

Senior executives share their insider tips on standardization
This Canadian study looked both at the impact of standards on overall economic growth and provided insights by senior executives from private and public sectors about participation in standardization...

The benefits of standards in "CEO speak"
Order or download your free information package that summarizes all the benefits of using International Standards and participating in their development.

New evidence links technological change, productivity and economic growth directly to standardization

A series of recent studies conducted in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the UK, point to a direct relationship between the use of standards and economic growth, labour productivity, ability to export and more.

The WSC eNewsletter will be published three times a year. A subscription form is available at this address. Additional information on the WSC and its activities can be accessed on the WSC Website: http://www.worldstandardscooperation.org/

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Monday, January 10, 2011 2:08:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 09, 2010
Telepresence is broadly speaking next generation videoconferencing that also takes into account users' position, actions and voice to render as close as possible a representation of a real life meeting.

Many products exist today that, although they are based on established protocols including ITU-T H.323, lack interoperability due to proprietary extensions.

Telepresence represents an important evolution of the videoconferencing market. Standards fuelled interoperability between systems is seen as a key way to drive the market. The trend is expected to accelerate, as mainstream video applications begin to offer telepresence features.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, said: "We don't expect each end of a phone call to be dependent on the manufacturer of the phone being the same. The same should be true for telepresence. Anyone who has used a telepresence system will testify to its remarkable quality, it truly is the next best thing to a face to face meeting. However proprietary solutions have stifled the market. ITU's standards initiative will allow us all to profit from this remarkable technology."

Specifically the new work will focus on standardizing full interoperability between telepresence systems, including facilitating the coherent presentation of multiple audio and video streams so that participants show correct eye contact, gestures etc, to give a more real life like experience.

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Monday, August 09, 2010 10:22:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 01, 2009

A new white paper by Polycom highlights “G.719: The First ITU-T Standard for Full-Band Audio”.

Recommendation ITU-T G.719 describes a coding algorithm for conversational speech and audio supporting the full human auditory bandwidth (from 20 Hz to 20 kHz), that is, all sounds that a human can hear.

The paper concludes that “major technical achievements of the G.719 codec are its high quality and low complexity that make it perfect for devices ranging from telephones and low-power mobile devices to soft clients and to high end video and telepresence systems.” First products implementing ITU-T G.719 are expected to appear in 2009/2010.

The standard was developed in Study Group 16, ITU-T’s lead Study Group on multimedia coding, systems and applications, and adopted in June 2008.

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Friday, May 01, 2009 8:59:57 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.

Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “In the real – non-virtual – world risk management is well understood and so the infrastructure has been developed to protect against theft, fraud and other kinds of attack. The virtual world should be no different. And standards can provide the backbone for this risk-management infrastructure.”

Standards give businesses the systematic approach to information security that they need to keep network assets safe. The adoption of multiple – proprietary – approaches is, experts agree, an inherently more vulnerable approach.

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.

Herb Bertine, Chairman of ITU-T’s Study Group 17 that looks at cybersecurity: “ITU-T is in a unique position given its international scope and the fact that it brings together the private sector and governments to coordinate work on standards and influence the harmonization of security practices worldwide.”

The Recommendations in brief

ITU-T Rec. X.1205 establishes a definition of cybersecurity noting that this understanding is needed in order to build a foundation of knowledge that can aid securing the networks of tomorrow. Network protocols, it says, were developed in an environment of trust but today cybersecurity threats are growing. ITU-T Rec. X.1205 provides a classification of security threats from an organization’s point of view. It gives a layered approach to security enabling organizations to create multiple levels of defence against threats.

ITU-T Rec. X.1206 is designed to make it easier for systems administrators to manage patches/updates from multiple software vendors. The work was driven by concerns that the number of different methodologies used to deliver software updates was becoming a headache for companies. The Rec. gives a vendor-neutral framework for automatic notification of security related information and dissemination of updates.

ITU-T Rec. X.1207 gives guidelines enabling users to identify spyware and for vendors to avoid their products being mistakenly identified as such. The Recommendation promotes best practices around principles of clear notices, and user’s consents and controls. Authors of the Recommendation say that it develops and promotes best practices to users on PC security, including use of anti-spyware, anti-virus, personal firewall, and security updates of software on client systems.

ITU-T Rec. X.1231 sets out the requirements for combating spam and will serve as the startpoint for all further anti-spam standardization work. It gives an overview of methodologies to counter spam and describes the general characteristics of spam whether for e-mail, SMS, VoIP or other emerging forms of spam. It also outlines key ways to counter spam, and a hierarchical model to establish an efficient and effective anti-spam strategy.

ITU-T Rec. X.1240 is aimed at end users and focusing just on e-mail spam, brings together various mature spam combating technologies in order that users can select the most appropriate.

ITU-T Rec. X.1241 promotes greater cooperation between service providers in tackling spam. In particular the document provides a framework enabling a communication methodology for alerts on identified spam.

Monday, April 21, 2008 2:13:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 21, 2008

ITU-T’s Study Group 16 has completed work on G.711.1 – the new scalable wideband extension of the voice codec used in the majority of fixed-line digital systems - ITU-T Recommendation G.711. G.711.1 will significantly improve voice quality in VoIP calls by offering wideband quality while keeping bitstream interoperability with the G.711 narrowband legacy codec. Wideband offers far greater audio quality by making voice sound more natural and by greatly improving both intelligibility and listening comfort. Wideband also allows service providers to offer a wider variety of services. Widely deployed this bitstream-interoperable wideband extension of narrowband codecs will allow smooth transition from narrowband (300-3400 Hz) PSTN quality telephony to high-quality wideband (50-7000Hz) telephony over IP networks as well as efficient deployment in existing infrastructures.

G.711.1 can operate either at 80 or 96 kbit/s in wideband, and at 64 or 80 kbit/s in narrowband. Furthermore, the 64 kbit/s core layer mode enables seamless interoperability with systems equipped only with G.711. Besides this backward compatibility, another key attribute is its embedded coding feature that allows dropping part of the bitstream/payload on-the-fly during a call by simple truncation of the embedded bitstream at any entity in the middle of the network such as a gateway or a signal mixer at multi-point control unit (MCU). This avoids network congestion and facilitates interoperability with G.711 legacy narrowband systems. Besides these two main advantages, G.711.1 has a very short delay and low complexity, it also supports partial mixing that drastically reduces MCU complexity and delay.

G.711's roots can be traced back as far as the 1970s, it has become truly the lingua franca of voice telephony. The new ITU-T Recommendation enriches the existing standard while ensuring backwards compatibility and interoperability.

The new standard will drive the market for wideband applications. Launched in 2006, wideband telephony over fixed-line broadband access is gaining momentum; wideband telephony over mobile will soon start following the 2008 Mobile World Congress announcement of wideband-enabled 3G phones shipping in the 3rd quarter of 2008. Wideband services are expected to be one of the driving factors in next generation networks (NGN).

Thursday, February 21, 2008 1:43:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 14, 2008

IEEE Communications Magazine has issued a call for papers: ITU-T International Standards in Information and Communications Technologies. Contributions are solicited for an issue focusing on ITU-T's role in developing global standards for ICTs.

Contributions should include but are not limited to the following areas:

Overview of the ITU-T standardization mechanisms and process: Building consensus, alternative approval process (AAP), WTSA, TSAG, Study Groups, Focus Groups, IPR policy, the role of TSB etc.

  • ITU-T Strategy
  • Bridging the standardization gap
  • Hot standardization topics in ITU-T including standards coordination aspects
  • Access technologies
  • Transport technologies
  • Advanced Multimedia System (AMS)
  • ICTs for climate change

The manuscript submission date is April 15, 2008 .

More details here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008 3:57:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 17, 2007
 Monday, November 26, 2007

A standardized way to identify next-of-kin (or other emergency contact) in a mobile handsets’ directory, for use in case of emergency, has been sent for next level approval by Study Group 2 in May 2008.

Currently emergency service workers searching for contact information for the next-of-kin to an injured person have no commonly understood way of identifying that person’s details. Increasingly the directory of the injured person’s mobile handset is used, since it usually contains the names and numbers of next-of-kin. However, there is no standard way to distinguish these contacts from all other entries in the mobile handset directory.

A prefix to those contacts to be dialed in case of emergency is one solution. International standards must be useable by anyone, regardless of language or script. This requirement has been met by using Arabic numerals (the digits 0 through 9) since they are known by all users around the world.

The owner of a mobile handset can indicate contacts to be dialled in case of emergency by formatting the name in the form “0nx”, where “n” is a digit from 1 through 9 and “x” is any meaningful descriptive character string (e.g. “Anna” or “spouse” or “安娜”). In the interface it would be displayed as “01Anna” or “01spouse” or “01安娜”. This descriptive string is used for the “contact name” in the mobile handset directory; the actual number of the person to call in case of emergency is used for the corresponding “contact number”.

Once this standard is approved and widely implemented by individual mobile users around the world, any emergency service worker can look at the mobile handset directory and quickly identify entries tagged by the user as contact persons to call in case of emergencies.

“Emergency contact number notation” stands on the runway to take off as a new clause in ITU-T Recommendation E.123, which currently specifies, among other things, the familiar +41 22 123 456 notation for telephone numbers and other information commonly displayed on business cards.

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Monday, November 26, 2007 10:15:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 23, 2007

A new report from ITU-T shows how Information and communications technologies (ICTs) contribute to global warming, but also how they can be used to monitor climate change, to mitigate its effects, to improve energy efficiency and to reduce carbon emissions in other sectors of the economy. The report -- ICTs and Climate Change -- is the third in the new series of Technology Watch Briefing Reports, launched by ITU-T in October 2007. It has been submitted to TSAG for further discussion at its upcoming meeting, 3-7 December. It is planned that an ITU symposium on this topic will be held in 2008.

Since 1970, the production of greenhouse gases has risen by more than 70 per cent, and this is having a global effect in warming the planet, causing changing weather patterns, rising sea-levels, desertification, shrinking ice cover and other worrying long-term effects. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) foresees a further rise in average global temperatures of between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees centigrade by 2030. Climate change is a concern for all of humanity and requires efforts on the part of all sectors of society, including the ICT sector. Although ICTs contribute only an estimated 2.5 per cent of total greenhouse gases, this share is set to grow as usage of ICTs expands globally, growing at a faster rate than the general economy.

ICTs are thus part of the cause of global warming, but they can also be part of the solution, for instance through the promotion of carbon displacement technologies. ICTs are also vital in monitoring the spread of global warming. One specific contribution ICTs can make is through the substitution of travel by electronic forms of communication, such as telephone calls, email or video-conferencing, all of which benefit from ITU-T¡¯s standardization work. In particular, high-performance video-conferencing, or telepresence (the topic of the second Technology Watch Briefing Report), can give the impression of 'being there, without going there'. Furthermore, ITU-T itself is also contributing to a greener future through its decision to make ITU-T Recommendations freely available online. In the mid 1990s, more than one million publications were printed by ITU but, with free Recommendations now available in electronic form, this has been cut to just a few thousand that are still printed, and carbon emissions from transport of printed copies and CD-ROMs has been greatly reduced.

Friday, November 23, 2007 2:16:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 16, 2007

Study Group 9 consented Recommendations on IPTV and advanced HDTV proposals during meetings held Oct. 29 - Nov. 2, Louisville, Colorado.

The meeting saw participation from all around the world with several delegates from developing countries including Kenya, India and Trinidad and Tobago.

Recommendation J.700 - IPTV Service Requirements and Framework for Secondary Distribution - defines service level requirements and an architectural framework for telecommunication networks to provide new services based on IPTV. It refers to "secondary distribution" which means use of a transmission channel for distribution of video/audio programs to users at large, for example by an over-the-air broadcast channel or by means of a fiber or cable network.

The Recommendation is extensive and includes requirements for network elements as well as customer premises equipment (CPE), including middleware application interfaces which consist of software libraries that provide uniform access to system services. It leverages existing deployed technologies, such as MPEG, DOCSIS, GEM (Globally Executable MHP), and IPCablecom to provide a smooth path for operators to integrate IPTV technology into their networks. While in the process of developing this Recommendation considerable liaison with other Study Groups and the IPTV Focus Group was carried out.

In addition to the IPTV work, Recommendations relating to second - and third - generation IPCablecom were consented. Equipment based on IPCablecom Recommendations, such as modems, set-top boxes, signalling equipment, interactive television application platform interfaces, digital program insertion, and others have had widespread implementation in networks in Asia, Europe, and North America.

The new Recommendations add to a suite of more than 25 which have been developed for cable and hybrid networks primarily designed for television and sound program delivery to the home.

Large screen digital imagery (LSDI) is 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 earlier approved Recommendation J.600 addresses use of a broadband service or channel for transferring audio or video information to a production center where post-production processing may take place before subsequent distribution. At this meeting work towards a new Recommendation - Network Service Operator's Requirements for Real-time Transmission of exLSDI Signals under Parallel Processing Functionality - was significantly progressed. This Recommendation is related to the transport of program signals conforming to the higher levels of the LSDI expanded hierarchy as used for contribution and primary distribution. The term contribution means use of a broadband service or channel for transferring audio or video information to a production center where post-production processing may take place before subsequent distribution. Primary distribution is the use of a transmission channel for transferring audio and/or video information from a production center to one or several destination points; for example, to a broadcast transmitting center or the headend of a cable distribution network. Work on LSDI takes place with interactions between ITU-T Study Group 9, ITU-R Study Group 6, and other bodies external to the ITU.

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Friday, November 16, 2007 2:55:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Following completion of four deliverables by The Focus Group on Identity Management, ITU-T's Study Group 17 has recommended to the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) that a Global Standards Initiative on Identity Management (IdM-GSI) is established. If the December meeting of TSAG initiates the IdM-GSI and the related Joint Coordination Activity (JCA), a meeting has already been planned for January 2008 to enter into a new phase of work on IdM based on these groups and existing ITU-T studies.

The four IdM deliverables have been transferred to relevant Study Groups via Study Group 17 and also to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 27 for further consideration and possible development as ITU-T Recommendations and a potential common text with ISO/IEC on entity authentication assurance. Indeed work on three new ITU-T Recommendations and the ITU-T/ISO common text standard has already begun.

The term IdM is understood as "management by providers of trusted attributes of an entity such as a subscriber, a device, or a provider." IdM promises to reduce the need for multiple user names and passwords for each online service used, while maintaining privacy of personal information. A global IdM solution will help diminish identity theft and fraud. Further, IdM is one of the key enablers for a simplified and secure interaction between customers and services such as e-commerce. A key issue for the Focus Group was to provide interoperability between existing solutions.

Herb Bertine, Chairman of Study Group 17, lead Study Group on security in ITU-T said: “We are very pleased with the productivity and efficiency of the Focus Group. We now have the building blocks to enter the important next phase where the world’s service providers can profit from international standards for IdM services. Clearly identity management is an important topic and one that industry has put significant weight behind in order to turn out standards that will provide an IdM framework for global interoperability.”

The deliverables were supplied to a meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 17. Essentially IdM-GSI will be an umbrella title for IdM work that will be distributed across all Study Groups. A joint coordination activity (JCA) will ensure that there is no duplication of work, oversee strategic/planning issues and work assignments and develop a roadmap for the development of a global ID management standards. IdM-GSI will enhance harmonization, in collaboration with other bodies, among the different approaches to IdM frameworks and capabilities worldwide.

The publicly available deliverables are:

  • Report on Identity Management Ecosystem and Lexicon
  • Report on Identity Management Use Cases and Gap Analysis 
  • Report on Requirements for Global Interoperable Identity Management 
  • Report on Identity Management Framework for Global Interoperability

The first meeting of IdM-GSI including the JCA-IdM is planned to be held during the January 2008 NGN-GSI event in Seoul, Korea.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007 3:55:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 08, 2007

The government of Rwanda generously hosted ITU’s first ever global Forum on Bridging the ICT standardization and development gap between developed and developing countries, in Kigali, Rwanda, 2-4 October. Participants welcomed the recent establishment of a special fund for voluntary contributions from world governments and industry to address the issue.

The ICT standardization gap refers to the shortage of human resources in developing countries, relative to developed ones, in terms of being able to participate effectively in the standards-making and implementation process. Standards are an essential tool in bridging the digital divide, in reducing costs, and bringing vital aid to developing countries in building their infrastructure and encouraging economic development.

Over 160 participants from 38 countries took part in the meeting, with several countries being represented at government Minister or company CEO level. The conclusions of the Forum, outlining the importance of addressing the standardization gap, will be provided as input to the upcoming Connect Africa summit to be held in Kigali, 29-30 October.

The Forum was formally opened by H.E. Albert Butare, Minister of State in charge of Energy and Communications. He drew attention to the country’s National Information and Communications Infrastructure (NICI) Plan where the aim is to focus on the benefits of ICTs for national development and prosperity so that by 2020 Rwanda will have achieved middle-income status as a knowledge-based economy. The Minister welcomed the support being given by ITU and the international community in helping Rwanda to achieve its goals.

Mr. Malcolm Johnson, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, speaking in Kigali at the opening of the Forum, said: “The significance of the standardization gap is that it contributes to the persistence of the wider digital divide in ICTs. That is because one of the underlying causes of the digital divide is unequal access to technology and the ability to implement and use that technology. The process of technology transfer and implementation will happen much faster when African engineers can participate in standards development, particularly at the requirements-gathering stage, and are familiar with the relevant standards.”

Meeting participants agreed that a sustained commitment to raising standards awareness and to capacity-building is of particular importance and the meeting called on the ITU to step up its efforts, welcoming ITU’s organisation of a Global Standardization Symposium to address the issue. This will be held on 20 October 2008 just ahead of the next World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08), planned for South Africa.

A chairman’s report from the Forum is available online as well as a full set of presentations: here.

Monday, October 08, 2007 12:56:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 05, 2007

ITU is holding a workshop - Making accessibility a reality in emerging technologies - at the second meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro, 13 November, 1430-1600.

ITU’s standardization arm - ITU-T - has a long history of providing standards in the field of accessibility. It started in the early 90's with the international text telephone standard, ITU-T Recommendation V.18, which ties together text telephone protocols allowing different textphone types to communicate.

ITU-T’s accessibility experts have helped to incorporate accessibility needs into standards for multimedia, network interoperability, multimedia service descriptions and multimedia conferencing.

The latest work has focused on taking accessibility needs into account in the development of all standards. For this reason an ‘Accessibility Checklist’ has been created for the makers of standards to ensure that they are taking into account the needs of those to whom accessibility to ICTs are restricted, the deaf or hard-of-hearing for example. Experts say that such a list will help to ensure that accessibility needs are taken into account at an early stage, rather than ‘retrofitted’.

An area of current intensive standardization activity is that on the next generation network (NGN). Accessibility features have been included at the first stage of standards work where requirements are defined. However it is important that these needs are taken into account as work progresses.

This workshop, organized by ITU, as part of the Internet Governance Forum brings together experts from around the world to examine how best to take into account accessibility needs in emerging technologies.

Further information here (ITU page) here (IGF page).

Friday, October 05, 2007 3:10:26 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

World Standards Day is celebrated each year on 14 October to pay tribute to the efforts of thousands of experts worldwide who collaborate within IEC, ISO and ITU to develop voluntary International Standards that facilitate trade, spread knowledge and disseminate technological advances.

International Standards help citizens to exercise their rights and to meet their obligations within the Global Village. This link between standards and global citizenship is the theme of this year's World Standards Day message, “Standards and the citizen: Contributing to society”. The message is signed by the leaders of the three principal international standardization organizations: Mr. Renzo Tani, President of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), Mr. Håkan Murby, President of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The three leaders point out that standards solve problems in all spheres of activity and give the following examples: “A world without standards would soon grind to a halt. Transport and trade would seize up. The Internet would simply not function. Hundreds of thousands of systems dependent on information and communication technologies would falter or fail — from government and banking to healthcare and air traffic control, emergency services, disaster relief and even international diplomacy.”

International Standards are ubiquitous in the modern world, making many everyday tasks easier and safer. The heads of the three standardization organizations point out that even the simple act of reading the World Standards Day message on a computer screen depends on hundreds of standards that allow the computer to function, provide access to Internet, or simplify the printing and distribution of hard copies through standardized paper sizes.

The leaders of IEC, ISO and ITU underline how much standards underpin our daily lives: "Without standards, consider how difficult — or even dangerous — it would be to carry out ordinary, daily tasks. Safety standards for machinery protect us at work and at play. At home, standards keep electrical appliances connected to the national grid and keep our refrigerators and air conditioners compliant with environmental safeguards to prevent global warming. Our audio systems, television sets and DVD players, mobile phones and WiFi all comply with standards to make them compatible with other systems. From mobile videos and music to online education, telemedicine, e-banking and satellite navigation systems for our cars and aircraft — where would we be without standards in an increasingly networked world?"

Through their work in developing standards, IEC, ISO and ITU help to open up markets, promote environmental protection, safety, security, health and access to information, and to break down barriers between rich and poor nations. Their standards also foster technological innovation, healthy commerce and fair prices.

The leaders of the three organizations conclude their message, "As we move into the future, the work of IEC, ISO and ITU will continue to facilitate the development and diffusion of new technologies that will drive the world economy, contributing to the well being of all of the world’s inhabitants."

Friday, October 05, 2007 8:59:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 07, 2007

Standards produced by ITU — ITU-T Recommendations — are now available without charge. The announcement follows a highly successful trial conducted from January−October 2007, during which some two million ITU-T Recommendations were downloaded throughout the world.

The experiment’s aim was to “increase the visibility and easy availability of the output of ITU-T”. Offering standards for free is a significant step for the standards community as well as the wider information and communication technologies (ICT) industry. Now, anyone with Internet access will be able to download one of over 3000 ITU-T Recommendations that underpin most of the world’s ICT. The move further demonstrates ITU’s commitment to bridging the digital divide by extending the results of its work to the global community.

Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) Malcolm Johnson, presenting the results of the trial to the 2007 meeting of ITU’s Council, said that not only had the experiment been a success in raising awareness of ITU-T, it would also attract new members. Most importantly, he noted, it had helped efforts to bridge the “standardization gap” between countries with resources to pursue standardization issues and those without. “There has been very positive feedback from developing countries,” said Johnson. “Last year exactly 500 ITU-T Recommendations had been sold to developing countries; this year, after allowing free access, they have downloaded some 300 000.”

ITU-T Recommendations are developed in a unique contribution-driven and consensus-based environment by industry and government members, with industry providing the most significant input. A strong focus of current standards work is providing the foundations for the so-called next-generation network (NGN). Other key areas include IPTV, ICT in vehicles, cybersecurity, quality of service, multimedia, emergency communications and standards for access, such as VDSL 2 — very high speed digital subscriber line 2, the newest and most advanced standard of DSL broadband wireline communications.

Friday, September 07, 2007 8:40:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 31, 2007

ITU-T has issued a call for papers for an event - Innovations in Next Generation Networks - to be held in Geneva, 12-13 May 2008. The event is the first in a series that will increase the dialogue between academia and experts working on the standardization of information and communications technologies (ICT). Awards will be granted to selected best papers, as judged by the organizing and programme committee. Details will be announced later.

Innovations in NGN is to inspire contributions towards a kaleidoscopic view of communication habits for the future. We know what NGN is in terms of the underlying technology, but we don’t know what services will emerge, how NGN will affect the marketplace for ICT, and how society will be affected. The call for papers lists a number of suggested topics.

Innovations in NGN will bring together new and visionary ideas on the future of NGN. It will highlight technologies, services and applications five years from now that will capitalize on the NGN infrastructure and will lead us to the so-called ubiquitous network society in which information can be accessed anywhere, at anytime, by anyone and anything. The event will also cover multidisciplinary aspects related to the deployment of NGN, including analysis of the regulatory and societal challenges that the deployment of NGN will bring.

Thursday, May 31, 2007 2:45:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 04, 2007

Study Group 11 meeting in Geneva, end April has consented three important documents charting protocols for quality of service (QoS) in NGN. The protocols will ensure interoperability between network elements and systems as well as giving service providers the ability to specify rules for specific communication types.

The announcement marks a significant step forward for ITU-T’s NGN work. Protocol development is seen as the final stage of standards development following identification of the requirements, architecture, services etc. The Recommendations are a crucial part of the NGN standards package and a concrete realization of the functional architecture defined in ITU-T Rec. Y.2111 - Resource and admission control functions in Next Generation Networks.

The protocols agreed at the April meeting will guarantee that when a service request is made QoS needs are transmitted, ensuring that each network element provisions the correct level of bandwith and resources to ensure the class of QoS for that particular application. So – for example – more bandwidth can be allocated and guaranteed for IPTV than for voice.

The three ITU-T Recommendations include the specification of the physical entities involved in resource control signalling, the interfaces across which signalling takes place, and the mapping between these entities and interfaces and the corresponding functional entities and reference points in ITU-T Rec. Y.2111. An Appendix provides a further mapping between the interfaces and the protocol specifications which realize those interfaces.

The Recommendations refer to signalling used in different geographical parts of the world: ITU-T Recommendation H.248/Megaco used in for example Japan, COPS used for example in China and Diameter which is used in North America.

Another three protocols in the field of resource control were consented by Study Group 11 earlier in the year.

Friday, May 04, 2007 9:06:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 31, 2007
A new Recommendation from SG12 acts as a performance planning tool for videophone applications taking into account the effects of video as well as voice quality. The computational model described is for point-to-point interactive videophone applications including dedicated videophone terminals, desktop or laptop PCs, PDAs and mobile phones over IP networks.

Recommendation G.1070 gives an algorithm that estimates videophone quality in terms of quality of experience/quality of service (QoE/QoS). The model is designed to be used by QoE/QoS planners to help ensure end-to-end user satisfaction and to avoid over-engineering at the application, terminal, and network layers.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 4:35:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lightwave Europe has recently published an article on ITU-T Rec. G.655. The standard extends the use of fibre previously used mainly in core networks to metropolitan or regional networks. Crucially it also has the potential to greatly reduce operating costs for network providers.

See Lightwave’s story here.

See ITU-T Newslog entry here.

 

Thursday, January 25, 2007 3:59:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 09, 2007

From the beginning of 2007, ITU-T Recommendations will be available without charge for a trial period.

With only a small number of exceptions all in-force Recommendations will be available in PDF form via a simple mouse click.

There is a general belief that the strategic importance of making on-line access to ITU-T Recommendations free outweighs the costs (in terms of lost revenue) to ITU. This is seen as a way to increase the transparency of ITU-T work and encourage wider participation in ITU-T activities. It is also believed that this policy will help increase developing countries' awareness of pertinent issues and help to promote the participation of academia in ITU-T work.

ITU-T Recommendations are available here.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007 11:50:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 08, 2007
Study Group 17 has initiated the approval process for a standard providing an overview of cybersecurity. The work establishes a definition of cybersecurity that is wide enough in scope to cover various and sometimes inconsistent definitions.

The Recommendation (X.1205) provides a taxonomy of security threats from an organization’s point of view. Cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities including the most common hacker’s tools of the trade are presented. Threats are discussed at various network layers.

Various Cybersecurity technologies to remedy threats are discussed including: routers, firewalls, antivirus protection, intrusion detection systems, intrusion protection systems, secure computing and audit and monitoring. Network protection principles such as defense in depth, access management with application to Cybersecurity are also discussed. Risk management strategies and techniques are discussed including the value of training and education in protecting the network. In addition examples for securing various networks based on the discussed technologies are also discussed.

Monday, January 08, 2007 10:13:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 07, 2006

Study Group 9 recently approved a Recommendation on IP multicast.

IP multicast is seen a promising technology for providing IP-based video distribution because of its bandwidth efficiency while accommodating millions of clients.

Recommendation J.283 provides a set of architectural concepts for constructing and meeting the service quality requirement of a stable IP-based video distribution network. It uses network layer (Layer-3) route diversity between the server edge routers and the client edge routers.

Thursday, December 07, 2006 9:49:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Three new Recommendations providing architecture for advanced set-top boxes have been approved by Study Group 9.

The Recommendations (J.290-J.292) take into account advances in technologies and architectures for delivery of multiple types of services – including video, voice and data. The three include a core Recommendation along with two adjuncts which provide for a cable solution and a media independent solution. The core document (J.290) describes key functional aspects of the next generation set-top box (STB), such as configurable security including downloadable conditional access, advanced codecs, video over IP, QoS control and extension of these functions to in-home networks.

J.291 describes the cable network architecture component of the next-generation STB. When combined with companion Recommendation J.290 the architecture defines a cost-efficient platform with capacity and flexibility to support growth of on-demand video, high definition digital TV, managed in-home networks connecting a wide range of consumer-provided devices, and future IP multimedia services including IP voice, video telephony, and multiplayer gaming. It reflects key functional aspects of the next generation cable STB, such as a common application platform (globally executable MHP (Multimedia Home Platform), which is the common core among OCAP (OpenCable project), MHP and ARIB (Association of Radio Industries and Businesses), MPEG (Moving Picture Expert Group) transport including advanced compression technology, and downloadable conditional access (configurable security).

J.292 describes a core architecture that is not dependent on transport media for a next generation STB which will allow service providers to offer existing and new advanced services regardless of the transport media. In this Recommendation it is assumed that all contents are transported on IP packets with an adequate QoS controlled mechanism. The Recommendation reflects key functional aspects of the next generation STB, such as network resource adaptability, secure two-way authenticated communication and session resource management and a QoS-control mechanism.

Thursday, December 07, 2006 9:47:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Three new Recommendations from ITU-T’s Study Group 9 provide the first steps towards the next generation of cable modems. According to SG insiders new cable modems will boost bandwidth, increase security and provide greater flexibility overall for network operators to deploy data services.

Recommendations J.210-J.212 provide a basis for modularizing cable modem termination systems (CMTS) and were designed as an extension to the DOCSIS Recommendations to allow for flexibility and independent scaling of certain CMTS functions.

DOCSIS (data over cable service interface specifications) – defined in Recommendations J.112 and J.122 - specifies transmission systems for interactive cable television services - IP cable modems. It defines the requirements for the two fundamental components that comprise a high-speed data-over-cable system: the cable modem (CM) and the CMTS.

The modular-CMTS (M-CMTS) architecture splits the CMTS function into three fundamental components: the M-CMTS Core, the EQAM (downstream modulator), and the Timing Server. Inasmuch as the modular components may be located on different chassis, and potentially at different physical locations, the new Recommendation J.211 (Timing Interface for CMTS) provides the robust and highly accurate transport of timing signals from the Timing Server to the other components of the M-CMTS network in order to ensure that the system components work in lock-step.

Recommendation J.212 defines the protocol used to tunnel downstream user data across an Ethernet network between the M-CMTS Core and EQAM. Finally, the new Recommendation J.210 defines the downstream physical layer modulator requirements for the EQAM. 

Another new Recommendation in the DOCSIS series, J.213, describes requirements on both CMTSs and CMs in order to implement a Layer-2 Virtual Private Network feature which allows operators to offer a Transparent LAN Service along the lines of Carrier Ethernet.

Thursday, December 07, 2006 9:46:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU-T’s Study Group 9 has approved an array of Recommendations in several areas including broadband IP multimedia services and next generation digital set top box architectures.

Study Group experts say that the advancements will greatly extend the service capabilities of broadband cable and other networks. The Recommendations were approved by ITU-T Study Group 9, Integrated Broadband Cable Networks and Television and Sound Transmission, during its October meeting in Tokyo.

SG 9’s Recommendations include key work in IPCablecom2, modular CMTS (cable modem termination systems), next generation video set-tops, and architecture for deploying an IP multicast video distribution network using network layer route diversity.

IPCablecom is a project initiated by SG 9 several years ago on time-critical interactive services over cable television networks using IP. It is a suite of Recommendations (J.160-178) which provides for telephony, and J.179 (IPCablecom Multi Media), which creates a bridge that allows for the expansion into a full range of multi-media services. 

IPCablecom2 is contained in a new suite of Recommendations (J.360-363 and J.365-366) and is designed to support the convergence of voice, video, data, and mobility technologies through a modular non-service specific approach. This modular approach allows operators flexibility to deploy network capabilities as required by their specific service offerings, while maintaining interoperability across a variety of devices from multiple suppliers.

These new Recommendations define an architecture and a set of open interfaces that leverage emerging communications technologies, such as the session initiation protocol (SIP), to support the rapid introduction of new IP-based services onto the cable network. IPCablecom2 is also based on Release 6 of the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), as developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), which is a SIP-based architecture for providing multimedia services.

Thursday, December 07, 2006 9:44:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Study Group 16 will start work in a new area, generic sound activity detection (GSAD).

Voice activity detection (VAD) is widely used in telecommunications networks as a means of differentiating between wanted and unwanted in-band audio signals, for example to obtain trunking efficiency in circuit multiplication equipment; to ensure correct operation of echo control and other signal enhancement devices etc.

The proposal for generic sound activity detection (GSAD) is motivated by two problems.

1.         With rapid changes in the telecommunication network environment, more and more multimedia services are being provided. Although the network is evolving from a voice to a multimedia network, most VAD algorithms are still mainly designed to handle voice signals and can not work properly in the presence of rich audio signals, which include voice, music, background environmental noise, information tones etc.

2.         Historically, VAD algorithms have been developed separately for individual network elements and applications, and there are currently numerous VAD algorithms. However, they are based on different principles, which make it difficult to provide common performance enhancements across all VADs.

Therefore it is seen as beneficial to develop a generic sound (rather than voice) activity detector, which can be applied across a range of applications. The benefits from a standardised GSAD are predicted to be:

·           Enhanced performance to deal with new types of in-band audio signals

·           Reduced development time and cost for new equipment requiring sound activity detection, eg codecs, circuit multiplication equipment, echo control, signal enhancement devices, VoIP gateways, terminal adapters etc.

·         Opportunity for use in existing speech and audio coders which do not include VAD.

Thursday, December 07, 2006 9:40:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 24, 2006

ITU-T’s Study Group 15 has consented on a revision to a home networking specification that increases data rates over existing home wiring to 320 Megabits per second.

The original standard (ITU-T Recommendation G.9954) is based on input from the HomePNA alliance. The revision adds home networking over existing coax cables to networking over phone wires. The revision also includes new operating spectrums adding VDSL coexistence to the ADSL, POTS and broadcast TV channel spectrum coexistence provided by the original standard.

G.9954 facilitates interoperability and convergence of all networked IP data in the home by creating open, interoperable standards and best practices for a universal home networking market. Telephone service providers have collaborated with residential gateway, set-top box, bridge, consumer electronics (CE) equipment, and ONT manufacturers, as well as their component providers, to meet consumer demand for bundled multimedia home networking.

Home networking bandwidth requirements will steadily increase as operators deliver multi-stream high-definition content, upgrade last-mile access network technologies, and provision future IP-based services. Leveraging existing home wires, service providers can reduce installation, operational expenses and even end-user costs. Experts say that 320 Mbps can accommodate the future bandwidth requirements of service providers as they enhance their offerings with additional features and capabilities.

 

Friday, November 24, 2006 11:10:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 13, 2006

ITU-T's Study Group 15 has fast tracked a standard that significantly reduces costs for operators rolling out fibre to the home (FTTH). The new Recommendation G.657 "Characteristics of a Bending Loss Insensitive Single Mode Optical Fibres and Cables for the Access Network" gives fiber optic cable similarly flexible characteristics to copper meaning that it can be much more easily deployed in the street, in the building and in the home.

This increased flexibility in a fibre optic cable means that operators can follow tighter corners in buildings, can employ less-skilled labor in deploying the cable and can worry less if cables / fibres are laid with a sharp bend. This all makes installation work more engineer friendly leading also to less re-work. Moreover the closures for fibres can be half the size, important where space is at a premium for example in an apartment building.

The new standard, which allows optical fibres to flex and bend more than the previous standardized types has achieved consent nearly a year earlier than was expected. This has been due to a push by operators planning the introduction of FTTH. Operators are keen that manufacturers around the world immediately start producing fibres according to the specification with clear advantages in terms of flexibility of deployment and cost reduction.

Many telcos have plans to roll out FTTH. The number of FTTH users in Japan exceeded 6 million as of mid 2006. According to experts the impetus for the work came from Japan, followed by the USA, but there is now much interest from European operators.

 

Monday, November 13, 2006 10:21:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A new tool that will give a unique overview of ITU-T’s next generation network (NGN) work has gone live. The NGN Project Management Tool, was developed with the support of a voluntary contribution from Siemens.

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.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 9:25:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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, Tuesday, November 21. 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 to take part in this online event here

 

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 9:16:51 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 02, 2006
ITU-T Recommendation Y.2111, a new standard emerging from the July NGN-GSI meetings addresses a key area of concern in NGN, the ability to offer end-to-end QoS. Crucially it also addresses the need to be able to differentiate multiple services running over the same network.

The Recommendation deals with resource and admission control functions (RACF) which will help enable operators to guarantee end-to-end quality for multimedia services in NGN, for example VoIP and IPTV. Key to the approach is the ability for an operator to specify rules to specific communication types in order that they can better allocate network resources.

With most IP networks today operating under a best-effort system, network congestion can significantly undermine the quality and reliability of more advanced multimedia applications. RACF meets the demand for more intelligent control of packet-based network infrastructures.

The Recommendation defines the related requirements and functional architecture covering aspects such as resource reservation, admission control and gate control, Network Address Port Translation (NAPT) and firewall control, and Network Address Translator (NAT) traversal.

 

 

Monday, October 02, 2006 9:50:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Recommendation Y.2012 consented at the July SG 13 meeting describes the functional architecture of the NGN.

The NGN architecture described supports the delivery of services such as multimedia services, conversational services, and content delivery services (eg video streaming and broadcasting).

NGN functional architecture shall incorporate the following principles according to the Rec.:

·          Support for multiple access technologies: The NGN functional architecture shall offer the configuration flexibility needed to support multiple access technologies.

·          Distributed control: This will enable adaptation to the distributed processing nature of packet-based networks and support location transparency for distributed computing.

·          Open control: The network control interface should be open to support service creation, service updating, and incorporation of service logic provision by third parties.

·          Independent service provisioning: The service provisioning process should be separated from transport network operation by using the above-mentioned distributed, open control mechanism. This is intended to promote a competitive environment for NGN development in order to speed up the provision of diversified NGN services.

·          Support for services in a converged network: This is needed to generate flexible, easy-to-use multimedia services, by tapping the technical potential of the converged, fixed-mobile functional architecture of the NGN.

·          Enhanced security and protection: This is the basic principle of an open architecture. It is imperative to protect the network infrastructure by providing mechanisms for security and survivability in the relevant layers.

·          Functional entities should incorporate the following principles:

o         Functional entities may not be distributed over multiple physical units but may have multiple instances.

o         Functional entities have no direct relationship with the layered architecture.  However, similar entities may be located in different logical layers.

 
Along with a new architecture, NGN will bring an additional level of complexity beyond that of existing networks. In particular, support for multiple access technologies and mobility results in the need to support a wide variety of network configurations. Some examples of configurations are provided to provide put in context the architecture description.

Although the scope of the Rec. is primarily NGN architecture, it also takes into account legacy PSTN/ISDN terminals and/or interworking with the PSTN/ISDN which is clearly is an important consideration with respect to NGN deployment. Three additional Recommendations were consented in this area Y.2031, Y.2261 and Y.2271.

Monday, October 02, 2006 9:48:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The ITU-T Study Group dealing with mobile telecommunication and fixed mobile convergence together with the lead Study Group on NGN has published a standard that describes what is needed to give users the ability to access the same set of services irrespective of change in location.

Mobility is a crucial part of the service capabilities within the next generation network (NGN) concept. The ITU-T Recommendation notes: “… with the massive growth in the number of users and the continuing deployment of heterogeneous systems the demand to provide seamless services to the NGN users gets stronger…”.

The Recommendation - Q.1706 - describes the requirements for providing ‘mobility management’, that is the set of functions used to provide mobility. These functions include authentication, authorization, location updating, paging and download of user information. The aim of this work is to build on the current mechanisms in cellular telephone systems and the internet and to move toward homogeneity in handling mobility across the converging telecommunication and computing environments.

The next step for SG 19 will be a Recommendation describing the framework for achieving mobility management based on these requirements. SG management suggests that this work is progressing well and will probably be achieved in time for the next round of approvals targeted to be initiated at a meeting in April 2007.

SG 19 also consented a Recommendation that charts further detail in the evolution within the IMT-2000 Family member using an ANSI-41 core network with cdma2000 access network. Recommendation Q.1742.5 references 3GPP2 work. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 9:40:19 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Study Group 13 will publish a Recommendation that acts as an umbrella to progress work on all aspects of multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) management. 

MPLS is seen as an important way to simplify traffic engineering in NGN. ITU-T Recommendation Y.1714 provides a framework for management and operation administration maintenance (OAM) in MPLS. OAM mechanisms facilitate network operation and troubleshooting. Standards-based OAM features that will allow for interoperability between different vendors are seen as a requirement for carriers adopting MPLS.

Referring to the telecommunication management network (TMN) model developed by ITU-T’s Study Group 4, the Recommendation’s scope is limited to those components and interfaces that interface between network elements (user and control plane), and between network elements and element management system (EMS) and network management system (NMS).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 9:38:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 19, 2006

ITU-T’s work on IPTV took a significant step forward following a meeting Geneva, July 10-14.

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 approved the establishment of six working groups:

  • Architecture and Requirements
  • QoS and Performance Aspects
  • Service Security and Contents Protection
  • IPTV Network Control
  • End Systems and Interoperability Aspects
  • Middleware, Application and Content Platforms
The next FG IPTV meeting will take place in Busan, Korea, 16-20 October, 2006.

 

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 10:24:15 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 10, 2006
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 on NGN.

Monday, July 10, 2006 7:26:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 19, 2006

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.

Monday, June 19, 2006 8:21:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 05, 2006

As part of celebrations for the 50th anniversary of ITU-T, 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. Choose here from our shortlist which you think has best shaped the ICT world of today, or feel free to suggest your own idea.

 

 

Monday, June 05, 2006 8:05:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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 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.

 

Monday, June 05, 2006 8:03:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 22, 2006

The joint ITU/UNESCO Global Symposium on Promoting the Multilingual Internet closed with the chairman encouraging the two organizations to take a lead role in promoting international cooperation for developing the multilingual internet and encouraging interested relevant organizations as well as individuals to actively join these initiatives and strengthen their cooperation in this regard. Specifically it was said, there is a need for increased ITU/UNESCO involvement in the harmonization of standards, in addition to their specific programmes to promote multilingualism and local content throughout the digital world.

There is, it was agreed, a huge demand for the support of multiple languages and responding to this in a more coordinated way, experts concurred is a key way to avoid fragmentation of the Internet.

Chair, Direk Charoenphol, National Telecommunications Commission, NTC, Thailand: “It is fundamental that, in the end, multilingualism – whether using IDNs, keywords or contents – be natively supported in operating systems and browsers, not retrofitted, to avoid the need for plug-ins, which creates a constant source of user and operational difficulties.”

Houlin Zhao, Director, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU said: “By organizing this event, ITU has demonstrated its determination to work on these issues.” He thanked UNESCO for its support in the organization of the event.

Elizabeth Longworth, Director, Information Society Division, UNESCO: "We should not talk about culture as a feature of communications technology - rather, the internet is a domain of human activity in its own right, where language and content are manifestations of the users' cultures and so the focus should be on the users' ability to participate, to become content providers and to navigate across linguistic boundaries."

A roadmap or guidelines highlighting steps towards a multilingual Internet is seen as an important initiative. It was agreed that this is a complex task that requires substantial and strengthened cooperation between relevant bodies.

During the three-day Symposium, a number of presentations were made and discussions focused on standardization activities and technical solutions for internationalized domain names (IDNs), for equipping non-scripted languages and allowing them to be present on the internet, the development and promotion of local contents, and measurements of the current linguistic diversity on the internet. Perspectives of domain name registries and an overview of the associated intellectual property issues that arise when multilingual domain names are deployed were also presented.

Monday, May 22, 2006 10:30:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 09, 2006

SG16 completed work on a new scalable voice codec - G729.1 - that will significantly improve voice quality in VoIP calls by offering wideband quality. Wideband telephony gives more natural sounding voice and greatly improves intelligibility and listening comfort.

G.729.1 extends the ITU-T G.729 speech coding standard widely used in VoIP systems and is fully interoperable with it. It will allow smooth transition from narrow band (300-3400 Hz) "PSTN" quality telephony to high quality wideband (50-7000Hz) telephony over IP and efficient deployment in existing infrastructures.

G.729.1 can operate at 12 bit rates from 32 kbit/s down to 8 kbit/s with wideband quality above 14kbit/s to dynamically provide the optimum voice quality according to service and network constraints: The bit rate can be adjusted "on-the-fly" during a call by simple truncation of the "embedded" bitstream at any point of the communication chain such as gateways or other devices combining multiple data streams. This highly flexible bit rate adaptation will avoid network congestion and the dropping of packets that severely impair the overall quality.

 

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 2:26:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 27, 2006

Work in the video coding space progressed, following meetings taking place in Geneva in April.

Also, the beginning of the month saw the Japan launch of a new mobile terrestrial digital audio/video broadcasting service using H.264 and called "1seg".  The video compression standard (full name ITU-T Rec. H.264 or MPEG-4 pt.10/ AVC) jointly developed by ITU-T SG16 and the ISO/IEC 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 and in services such as over-the-air broadcast television, the new HD DVD and Blu Ray disc formats, and a large number of deployments of direct-broadcast satellite-based television services.

In Geneva, a new Recommendation was consented that will allow the use of a ‘back channel’ to convey the level of loss or corruption in video messages and if necessary apply measures to compensate for that. So, for example, at the content delivery end, an encoder, upon determining that a message is not getting through properly, may decide to reduce the message to its bare essentials resulting in a lower fidelity for the end user. Alternatively, the encoder and decoder can deploy intelligent recovery mechanisms. This will better support Recommendation H.264’s use in environments that may be more susceptible to error, for example in mobile telephony and IP-based video conferencing.

The new Recommendation has been drafted in such a way that it can be applied to existing (e.g. H.262, H.263, H,264) and future video coding standards. 

The work took place during co-located meetings of the Joint Video Team (JVT) and ITU-T Study Group 16, home of media coding work in the ITU. Over 90 documents were considered by the JVT group, which is the ITU-T and ISO/IEC joint project to enhance standard video coding performance, and is home to H.264/AVC.

An amendment to H.264 added support of new extended-gamut colour spaces, which are recently-specified enhanced methods of measuring and representing the brightness and color of the objects in video pictures. Also, in relation to H.264, work continued on developing new profiles supporting H.264’s use in high-end studio applications that use the 4:4:4 color sampling system and on developing scalable video coding (SVC) extensions of the standard as well.


Thursday, April 27, 2006 8:27:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 17, 2006

January saw a gathering of hundreds of NGN experts in Geneva for the first NGN-GSI (global standards initiative) event. Good progress was reported in several key areas particularly in the important area of functional architecture and requirements for resource and admission control functions (RACF) in NGNs. The Recommendation covering RACF is said to be stable and is expected to be consented at the July GSI event.

The January event comprised three full Study Group meetings (11, 13 and 19). Experts from various other Study Groups were in attendance for this first meeting of the GSI following its launch in November, 2005.

Study Group 13, the lead for NGN work, alone saw over 250 contributions, many a result of the work of the Focus Group on NGN. SG 13 saw three new Recommendations consented, see separate stories (Y.1731, Y.1452, Y.1453).

Study Group 11 reported that 50 contributions were received and launched work on an NGN Protocol Set. According to SG documents ITU-T NGN-Protocol Set 1 will define protocols for the support of:

· Network to Network Interface (NNI) session control;

· User to network Interface (UNI) session control;

· Resource Control Interfaces;

· Network Attachment Interfaces.

Protocol Set 1 is targeted for completion by the end of 2006.

The chair of Study Group 19 reported good progress in the area of FMC (fixed-mobile convergence).  

It is expected that many other of the outputs of the Focus Group on NGN will be consented at this July meeting. Among them will be a Recommendation dealing with performance, management and measurement, another key area in NGN. See the work programmes for the various Study Groups involved in NGN for a full list.

Friday, February 17, 2006 8:50:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 08, 2006

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. In this way businesses can reduce costs and benefit from the increased efficiency and speed of IP networks.

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 10:05:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 06, 2006

Study Group 13 has consented a new Recommendation that will give support for a widely deployed network technology in IP-based NGNs.

The Recommendation Y.1453 addresses required functions for network interworking between time division multiplexing (TDM) and IP networks.

TDM is a way to transmit multiple subscribers’ calls along the same transmission medium at the same time. Given that is a very widely used technology in existing telecommunications networks its continued support in NGN is imperative.

Y.1453 addresses "user plane internetworking mechanisms, connection multiplexing and procedures (for interworking)".

 

Monday, February 06, 2006 2:21:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new ITU-T standard (Recommendation) will allow operators offering Ethernet services to use operations, administration, and maintenance (OAM) mechanisms to facilitate network operation and troubleshooting.

Given that performance management has been cited as a major concern of operators looking at Ethernet as an end-to-end solution, and that OAM features are not standard in Ethernet, it is seen as crucial to provide this facility. Standards-based OAM features that will allow for interoperability between different vendors are seen as a requirement for carriers adopting Ethernet on a wide scale. Experts say that operator deployments may start in 2007.

Ethernet services are becoming popular because they allow carriers to offer considerably improved flexibility to customers through a much simpler and lower cost interface. Ethernet allows users to specify exactly how much bandwidth they want between the 10Mbit/s and 1Gbit/s range currently offered. Further, Ethernet provides reduced operation complexity and improved scalability for carriers.

And as operators look to NGN and the use of the Internet Protocol (IP), Ethernet is seen as the best fit, especially given the rise of such services as IP VPNs, VLANs and dedicated Internet access. Equally this OAM functionality may be deployed in a local area network (LAN).

The ITU-T Recommendation, Y.1731 consented at the recent meeting of Study Group 13, identifies the OAM functions which are needed to allow fault management (fault localization, defect detection, etc.) and performance monitoring (error counts, delay measurement, etc.) in an Ethernet network. With regards to performance monitoring, the Recommendation only addresses point to point connectivity today, says Gilles Joncour, ITU-T Rapporteur for the Recommendation, (multi)point to multipoint will be the next step.

Joncour gives some more detail: ‘’Y.1731 also specifies the so called OAM PDUs (protocol data units) which constitute the payload of the Ethernet OAM frames. The content (fields) of the PDUs vary according to the function(s) they correspond to. Y.1731 does not specify the processes associated to the sending, reception and analysis (of the content) of the OAM frames/PDUs. This will be part of another Recommendation (G.8021), from Study Group 15. Y.1731 specifies methods for measuring sample values of parameters identified for monitoring the performance of Ethernet networks. It does not deal with the integration of those values over a period of time and the use of such results, when applicable for defect detection. This will also be done in G.8021.”

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 9:08:27 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 25, 2006

This ICT Security Standards Roadmap has been 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.

In addition to aiding the process of standards development, the Roadmap will provide information that will help potential users of security standards, and other standards stakeholders, gain an understanding of what standards are available or under development as well as the key organizations that are working on these standards.

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 important to note that the Roadmap is a work-in-progress. It is intended that it be developed and enhanced to include other standards organizations as well as a broader representation of the work from organizations already included. 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. This will enable more timely updating of the information.

More on the ICT Security Standards Roadmap

Wednesday, January 25, 2006 5:16:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 21, 2005

The announcement (18 November) that ITU’s Focus Group on NGN (FGNGN) has completed work on the first set of standards for next generation networks (NGN) marks a significant step towards a fundamental reworking of the world’s information and communications technologies networks. With NGN, network operators hope to replicate the level of service and reliability that customers have come to expect in telecommunication systems across all ICT networks.

The milestone reached with the launch of the Release 1 set of specifications has been achieved in a very short time by members of ITU’s Focus Group on NGN (FGNGN). FGNGN is made up of representatives of the world’s telecoms service and network providers, manufacturers and governments.

Telecoms companies around the world are starting to make the move from the traditional circuit switched networks that have essentially been in place since the earliest days of telecommunications to an Internet Protocol (IP) based system that will create cost efficiencies and allow a much greater level of diversity for service providers. Release 1 will serve as an invaluable tool to facilitate this rollout.

Contained within the 900 pages of ‘deliverables’ are some of the high-level architecture and frameworks for NGN. ITU’s next phase of NGN work – to be called the NGN-GSI (for global standards initiative) - will focus on the detailed protocols necessary to offer the wide range of services expected in NGN. It is also expected that the GSI will aim to harmonize different approaches to NGN architecture in different parts of the world.

Houlin Zhao, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU said: “Industry is backing NGN to the tune of billions of dollars. And ITU is very proud that the world’s manufacturers of telecoms equipment, network and service providers and administrations have entrusted us with this work. They understand that global standards will stimulate innovation and superior technology and enable interoperability, protecting current and future investment. ITU is the only body in the world that will be able to offer the necessary convergence between different NGN platforms on a global basis if they emerge.”

Since extending the reliability of telecoms networks into Internet Protocol based systems is key to the success of NGN, quality of service (QoS) specifications have been a strong focus of NGN work. Additionally, security aspects, universal access and the separation of services from the underlying network have been important topics covered.

The NGN-GSI will build on the momentum generated over the past year. The period 2004-2005 has seen meetings and workshops progressing work on NGN around the world. Participation in and contributions to this work are continuing to increase.

The next phase of ITU-T NGN work will see a significant re-organization of work schedules to ensure that experts from different Study Groups are able to meet at the same time. The meeting schedule has also been designed to maintain the brisk pace established during the first phase of the NGN work, and to meet members’ demands.

Monday, November 21, 2005 10:30:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 14, 2005

Three new Recommendations related to IP Performance have been consented by ITU-T's Study Group 12.

G.1030 - provides a framework of tools to estimate end-to-end IP network performance for some user applications. User perception of application performance in packet networks is dependent on many factors, including network end-to-end performance, performance of terminals and other devices beyond the purview of the network operator. The application’s dependency on the communications network, and the user’s task and the extent of user interaction with the application need also to be taken into account.

All these factors are used to estimate end-to-end performance levels. At this stage, the framework includes a perceptual model for web browsing. Future versions will focus on multimedia conferencing and other applications. The Recommendation is designed to be helpful for people designing networks, enabling them to know what applications can be realistically supported. 

G.1040 - defines a new performance metric in IP networks for short transactions, such as trading of stocks, automated banking, and credit card point of sale transactions. The nature of such exchanges is that they need to be quick and reliable.

This Recommendation gives the ability for the network provider to either flag a problem based on their network measurements interpreted with this metric, or to say that – if a problem exists – it isn’t attributable to the network. The Recommendation allows the network service provider to see how much of the transaction time can be attributed to the network. The metric can also be useful in drawing up service level agreements.

G.1050 - addresses Network Model for Evaluating Multimedia Transmission Performance Over Internet Protocol. The need for such a model is driven by new challenges for multimedia applications in IP. Impairments that in typical data transfers are of little consequence may be much more serious in video or VoIP for example. The model is based on statistical models of a broad range of known deployed network configurations. This way a manufacturer of networking testing solutions can avoid speculation in configuring test scenarios.

Monday, November 14, 2005 2:10:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, October 12, 2005
A roadmap identifying NGN management specifications has been published on the ITU-T SG 4 website.

The roadmap will provide an insight into how NGN management will differ from the management of traditional telecommunication. And as specifications are added this picture will become clearer, experts said.

The NGN Management Specification Roadmap is an output of the NGN Management Focus Group, a group sponsored by ITU-T SG 4. The document identifies the various existing, or work-in-progress specifications relevant to NGN management. These specifications are not all ITU-T Recommendations, but also come from other standards making bodies with expertise in defining management interfaces. For example, the roadmap tags the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) specs for mobile telephony relevant to the IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) management. IMS is expected to be a key building block for NGN specifications.

An additional and important feature of the document is that it provides gap analysis, identifying areas where standards are still needed, and also identifies overlapping specifications requiring harmonization.

The aim is for the roadmap to be a living document at this time, which is part of the reason that it hasn’t been turned into an official ITU document – like a Recommendation. Another reason for not giving the document ‘normative’ status is so that non-members can enjoy free access to it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005 3:48:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Study Group 19 was among the three Study Groups meeting in Geneva September. The group that focuses on mobile telecommunications and fixed-mobile convergence reached the first stage of approval (known as consent) on a Recommendation that charts further detail in the migration from GSM (second generation mobile telephony) to UMTS (a member of the 3G family).

Also known as 3GPP Release 6, the Recommendation (Q.1741.4, IMT-2000 family member GSM evolved UMTS Core Networks) combines and associates relevant standards from a number of standards development organizations (SDOs) - ARIB, CCSA, ETSI, ATIS, TTA, TTC - into a globally applicable ITU-T Recommendation.

The SG19 meeting also saw some discussion on the core network architecture of next-generation mobile networks or 4G.

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 3:39:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Study Group 4 meets this week in Geneva. The Study Group looks at the interfaces that sit between management systems and network elements, as well as interfaces between management systems.

Dave Sidor, Chairman of SG 4 said prior to the meeting, a key focus will be progressing NGN related specifications and also harmonization of standardization efforts across different standards making bodies. Sidor said that it’s important to identify the overlaps between these bodies in order to avoid duplication of work and ensure that industry’s best needs are served. In this way he said industry ends up with one rather than multiple solutions.

One area that will be discussed in terms of this harmonization is the charging and billing for services in next-generation networks (NGN). Another is in the area of specifications for management of Ethernet based networks.

For possible consent at the meeting is M.3060, a proposed ITU-T Recommendation covering the principles of NGN management.

Also at the meeting the NGN Management Focus Group will report on its activities in particular on the NGN management specification roadmap, a document which identifies the various existing, or work-in-progress specifications for NGN management. These specifications are not necessarily ITU-T Recommendations, but could come from any other standards making body.

 

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 8:04:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 20, 2005

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.

 

Tuesday, September 20, 2005 10:30:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 16, 2005

Underlining the key role that ITU has played in the development of virtual private networks (VPN), the recent meeting of Study Group 13 saw consent of the last in a series of Recommendations on the subject. 

A simple description of a VPN is that it is a private communications network using the resources of a shared network infrastructure.

The Recommendation will help operators to select the most appropriate protocols to use for each element of the VPN services they want to offer. Experts say that as well as allowing best-of-breed protocols to be used for each function so that individual functional components can evolve independently, the Recommendation also supports the reuse of common mechanisms or protocols across different VPN network technologies to reduce cost and complexity. A section of the document provides some examples of different service scenarios and identifies some example mechanisms/protocols that can be used to provide the functions required.

Known as VPN functional decomposition, ITU-T Recommendation Y.1314 describes the set of functions required to establish, operate and maintain client/server and peer level VPN. Network functionality is described from a network level viewpoint, taking into account the VPN network layered structure, client characteristic information, client/server associations, networking topology and layer network functionality.

 

Friday, September 16, 2005 11:08:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 15, 2005

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.

 

Thursday, September 15, 2005 9:01:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Home Networking, the linking of all types of electronic devices for applications such as entertainment, telecommunication, home automation systems and telemetry (remote control and monitoring systems), is attracting a great deal of interest. 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. However, thus far, despite many initiatives, a lack of standardization has stifled the market. And, many believe that for the new technology to take-off, a consolidation of the various standardization efforts is necessary.

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 (QoS), electromagnetic interference and security issues. The workshop will deal with current technology and future trends to provide a framework for moving forward standardization work.

More details.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005 9:27:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, September 05, 2005

Please take ten minutes of your time to complete this questionnaire, part of the under the European Commission project, NO-REST.

The main objective of the project is to gain new and more in-depth insight into the economic impact of standards in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT). To this end the organizers are collecting data from participants in the standards setting process.

The results could be beneficial in helping to shape the way that ITU-T works in the future.

 

Monday, September 05, 2005 4:23:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 24, 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).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 8:36:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T has agreed to a revision of a Recommendation that experts say is an important step towards solving the problem of lengthy call setups in 3G video telephony. Seen as a key issue to address, the resolution of this issue may help accelerate the market for 3G. 

According to SG 16 sources the standard has been successfully tested in products and many mobile operators and handset manufacturers have started implementation.

The revised ITU-T Recommendation H.324 speeds the initiation of 3G video sessions through the streamlining of the call set-up signalling that is necessary to establish the connection between two handsets and between a handset and a media server.

Previously setting up a typical video session required each end to send up to ten messages to the other terminal, each time waiting for a message to be received and acknowledged before sending the next one. And, if a message was not received, the sending device had to wait and finally time out before retransmitting. The delay introduced in this process led to long video call set-up times.

The new method eliminates the message queuing and time out issues. Now, all signalling is sent as a single batch to be processed by the receiving device. Missed messages, due for example to network errors, are immediately detected by the receiving device and retransmission requests are spontaneously generated. This leads to much quicker call setup times, bringing video connectivity close to the same level of service as traditional telephony.

Key for many operators is that implementation will not require manufacturers to recall phones, also meaning that services may work on existing devices. Other advantages of the new approach include the fact that it is protocol and network independent, enabling connectivity with any other device, even if it is IP-based (e.g. IP video streaming server or a PC-based video terminal) and meaning that it does not interact with underlying network protocols or codecs, enabling devices using the standard to operate even when roaming in other mobile networks.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 8:35:06 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A suite of ten new standards that provide security for IP media communications such as VoIP or videoconferencing got an update at the last meeting of ITU-T’s Study Group 16

The security framework outlined in the H.235 series of ITU-T Recommendations provides the protocols necessary for these media to be authorised and routed. Equipment using these standards can deliver connectivity without compromising security. 

With the help of the Recommendations, users communicating through IP media are authenticated and authorized so that their communications are protected against various security threats. Real-time multimedia encryption adds a further layer of security, protecting against call interception. The security countermeasures are designed to thwart service fraud, avoid service misuse and detect malicious message tampering. H.235 also gives the ability to provide a greater level of security using public key infrastructure (PKI) certificates. 

Additionally, two new security profiles were added to provide [H.235.8] key exchange using the secure real-time transport protocol (SRTP) in H.323 networks and [H.235.9] to allow discovery of security gateways in the signalling path between communicating H.323 entities, in order to preserve signalling integrity and privacy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 8:33:13 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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 8:31:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Workshop on "New Horizons for Security Standardization"
Geneva, 3 - 4 October 2005
 
Introduction

An ITU-T workshop - New Horizons for Security Standardization - will take place at ITU Headquarters, in Geneva, 3 - 4 October 2005, prior to a meeting of Study Group 17.

Objectives

The overall objectives of the workshop are to help address information and communications security issues and promote increased cooperation between organizations engaged in security standardization work. Consideration will also be given to issues of adoption and implementation of security standards. In particular, the workshop will:

  • seek to find out from stakeholders (e.g., network operators, system developers, users etc.) what are their primary security concerns/issues?
  • determine where ITU-T and other standards development organizations (SDOs) can most effectively play a role in helping address the issues (i.e., which issues are amenable to a standards solution?);
  • identify which SDOs are working on these issues or are best equipped to do so; and
  • agree on next steps for security standardization.

More

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 8:36:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 17, 2005

Inventor of the world wide web (WWW), Tim Berners-Lee highlighted the importance of standards at a recent event held in Sophia Antipolis, France. The ITU sent a representative of its telecommunication standardization bureau (TSB), Paolo Rosa.

 

Berners-Lee speaking at the tenth anniversary in Europe of the world wide web consortium (W3C) said that standards allow different layers such as hardware, operating systems, browsers, connectivity and search services to evolve independently and therefore faster and better.

 

As part of its desire for the more efficient production of international ICT standards and to avoid duplication of work, ITU-T is keen to foster closer relations with W3C, as well as other standards making organizations.

 

Berners-Lee said that businesses often faced two difficult choices: either, pursue standard, commit resources, transition products, work with competitors and then encourage it to all take-off; or continue working in isolation and keep proprietary control of customers. Berners-Lee said that he believes that participation in standards making carries less risk than not doing so. In response to a question by Rosa, of ITU he said that being part of the standards making process enables companies to better respond to market needs.

 

Measuring the cost of not using standards is, he said, difficult. How, for instance, can you measure the cost of the US still using feet and pounds or, of power sockets being different all over Europe? He used the example of the Gopher protocol versus WWW, backed-up by figures, to illustrate how a standardized solution can achieve more success. In the early nineties Gopher and WWW were alternative ways of accessing the Internet. However following the decision of the University of Minnesota to charge a license fee for the use of Gopher, its use stagnated while WWW, which remained free, became the success that we see today.

 

W3C10 Europe, gave attendees the opportunity to reflect on the progress of the web, its role as a unifying force in Europe, and the policies that shape the role of the web in the daily lives of Europeans.

 

Tim Berners-Lee’s presentation is here, use arrow in top right-hand corner for navigation).

 

Among other speakers were Berners-Lee’s CERN colleague Robert Cailliau, Keith Jaffrey who spoke about Grids and the worldwide Web. Also security, privacy and Internet rights were addressed by e-Government expert, Peter Brown (now working for the Austrian government) and Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, Chair of the Internet Rights Forum.

 

Friday, June 17, 2005 8:15:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Geneva, 8 June 2005 – The Open Communications Architecture Forum (“OCAF”) Focus Group announced today the availability of the Carrier Grade Open Environment (CGOE) reference model, its first official output document, which represents a significant step towards fulfilling its mandate to develop requirements for components for a Carrier Grade Open Environment (“CGOE”). The CGOE reference model defines a framework by which interfaces and standards required to deploy COTS solutions in next-generation networks (NGNs) can be identified in a formal manner.

More

Wednesday, June 08, 2005 1:52:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 03, 2005

A meeting of Study Group 15, the ITU-T group responsible for studies into optical and other transport network technologies, saw consent on 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 Ethernet standards approved last year. See also press release 8 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 8:10:54 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 01, 2005
ITU-T's Study Group 15 has agreed on design guidelines for optical fibre submarine cable systems.

Submarine cable systems form a very important part of the world's ICT network infrastructure with cables linking all the world's continents except Antarctica. And as demand for increased transmission capacity increases, owners of these networks are keen to optimize their investments, because laying new submarine cables is an expensive and difficult business.

The guidelines appear in a supplement to ITU-T Recommendations on the topic of submarine cable systems (Supplement 41, to the G series of ITU-T Recommendations), and allow for the incorporation of traditional technology (e.g. WDM systems, erbium doped fibre amplifiers) as well as new technology including new generation forward error correction (FEC) and Raman amplifiers.

According to the expert authors, the document has been produced with a key objective to detail the main technical issues to be taken into account in order to achieve a link's longest distance, with maximum reliability.

The supplement describes considerations for repeatered, repeaterless and optically amplified systems supporting synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) and optical transport network (OTN) signals. Repeaterless submarine cable systems are used for terrestrial network extensions in cases where submarine distances up to about 350 km are to be covered. Repeatered submarine systems are used for long haul, large capacity transmission by using submerged optical amplifiers in order to cross distances up to transoceanic lengths.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005 10:39:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 27, 2005
A new ITU-T Recommendation specifies the characteristics for devices that address a phenomenon known as polarization mode dispersion (PMD) in optical fibres. PMD is caused by a difference of the propagation speed in different polarisations of the light travelling through a fibre. PMD is induced by distortion of the light in optical fibres that occur as a result of the manufacturing process, the way it is laid in the ground, around corners etc.

PMD becomes an increasingly serious problem as the bit rate and the length of optical transmission systems increase. As a result, PMD compensation (PMDC) is an important technology for very high rate long distance systems. For instance at 10Gbit/s PMD is manageable for currently existing long-haul dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) systems but at 40Gbit/s compensation may become necessary.

While there has been knowledge of the phenomenon for some time the PMD-induced penalties such as distance and bit rate limitations have often been considered too difficult or expensive to deal with, and so the telecommunication industry has had to learn to live with the problem. There have been limited efforts to develop solutions which have not evolved into successful commercial products.

In order to address the problem in a more efficient manner and stimulate a market for PMD compensating devices, operators have driven this ITU-T work. By agreeing on a set of characteristics for these devices, operators can look forward to the availability of products that will be more mature and will cost less than developing in-house solutions. It is expected that operators may also see reduced expenditure because it is thought that the use this technology will reduce the need for electro-optical regenerators (devices that break a signal down in order to restore it to its original quality).

Future work of the group that has produced this Recommendation will look at similar devices called adaptive dispersion compensators for another phenomenon called chromatic dispersion that also limits data rates and transmission distances in optical fibres.

Friday, May 27, 2005 12:54:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A new standard from ITU-T's Study Group 15 gives network operators the ability to deploy multi-vendor dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) systems in a metro environment. Defining specifications for interoperability in this field is seen as a ground-breaking achievement, where previously there has been domination by proprietary systems.

WDM technology is used by the owners of optical fibres to maximise their capacity. The technology achieves this by simultaneously operating an optical fibre pair at more than one wavelength. Since operators wish to maximize their cable plant investments and deploy increasingly bandwidth hungry services in a multi-vendor environment, standards development in this field is seen as crucial.

Until now DWDM systems, which have the capability of carrying a high number of channels (up to 80) on a single optical fibre pair, have been deployed in core fibre networks that cover great distances. A different WDM technology CWDM (the C stands for coarse) was the first standardised solution for metropolitan areas, but CWDM systems only have the capability of carrying a limited number of channels (up to 12 now, but in the future 16).

This standard (ITU-T Recommendation G.698.1) has been driven by operators and allows them to benefit from the greater capacity of DWDM systems in metropolitan environments while being able to deploy system elements from multiple vendors. The current version of this Recommendation covers distances in the range of 30 - 80 km.

These new specifications have been made possible by the use of a fundamentally different methodology to that used previously according to the experts who developed it. The so-called 'black-link'-approach is seen as a new direction in the standardization of WDM systems, providing a powerful tool to enable agreement on multi-vendor interoperability in a previously proprietary environment.

Friday, May 27, 2005 12:52:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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 12:49:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Work has been completed in Study Group 17 on the development of Recommendations that could see web services (web-based application to application communication) being adopted in areas such as mobile telephony.

Web services are a standard way for all types of software to interoperate across programming languages, platforms and operating systems. They give a structured way to format data - using XML - such that it is easier for different types of programs to communicate. An example of an area that might benefit from increased efficiency in this area would be the integration of enterprise applications in a large supply chain.

The issue that the new Recommendations address is that structured data in XML contains a lot of redundant information which slows processing down. And, because of this the adoption of web services in certain areas such as mobile telephony where constraints include bandwidth and the ability of mobile devices to process data, have been limited.

The new Recs (X.892 and X.891) solve the problem using ITU notation language ASN.1 to specify alternative and more efficient codings of structured data, both in terms of size and processing speed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 11:14:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Following an oversubscribed first course aimed at managers involved in standardization, IEC, ISO and ITU, the three organizations that make up the World Standards Cooperation initiative (WSC), recently staged another event.

The thirty or so people who attended the Standardization Community Management Course, 11-24 April, Geneva hailed from a wide range of backgrounds, sharing just the need to understand more of the standardization process.

With titles like 'What are international standards?', 'Why are international standards essential?' and 'How are international standards used?', plenary sessions focused on the general, with breakout sessions hosted by the individual organizations going into more detail on their working practices.

Other sessions focused on the history of standards, the importance of standardization, legal issues, the working practices of the three organizations and how standards are marketed.

Attendees were taken on a field visit to see 'standards in action' at a close-by Swisscom telephone exchange. Among highlights were a description of what part standards will play in the offering of 'triple-play' (voice, video, data) services.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 11:11:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A tool recently made available on the ITU-T website gives users a new way to look at ITU-T Recommendations.

The tool was developed to address a need of members to better manage the assignment of Recommendation numbers. But it also gives an excellent overview of recommendations showing in a 'tree structure' the different series and sub-series, the study groups responsible for them, recommendations that are shared by different study groups, recently withdrawn recommendations etc.

One Study Group chair said: “Having wrestled with trying to find a better way to list recommendations allocated to study groups, I am very pleased to see the substantial progress this tool represents. It is a huge step forward. I think this tool will stimulate all the study groups to review what is under their responsibility and to go about rationalizing the issues in assignments, names, groupings, etc.”

See the tool here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 11:07:17 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 16, 2005

Supercomm, June 6-9, Chicago, USA will see ITU-T members, and guests stage an interoperability showcase for fibre to the premises (FTTP) related standards. 

On show will be passive optical network (PON) equipment built according to the ITU-T G.984 and G.983 series of Recommendations. PON technology is used in the local loop to connect residential and SME end users premises in an all-fibre network.

With PONs, signals are carried by lasers and sent to their destination without the need for active electronics. Carriers can realize significant savings with fiber sharing in the distribution network, equipment sharing in the Central Office and by eliminating the dependence on expensive active network elements. 

ITU-T Recommendations in the G.984 series detail gigabit PONs (G-PON), the latest generation of PON technology. Increasing capacity to gigabit levels should more than satisfy foreseeable customer demands, offering video applications, high-speed Internet access, multimedia and other high-bandwidth capabilities. G-PON maintains the same optical distribution network, wavelength plan and full-service network design principles of broadband PONs (B-PON) defined in ITU-T Rec G.983. As well as allowing for increased network capacity, the new standard offers more efficient IP and Ethernet handling.

17 vendors will show B-PON interoperability, products for G-PON, optical distribution network, testing and performance and video service equipment and set-top boxes.

 

Monday, May 16, 2005 4:36:56 PM (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.

Monday, May 16, 2005 3:35:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 13, 2005

A recent meeting of Study Group 4 saw the completion of one Focus Group’s work and the start of another’s. Both achievements are a result of the formal relationship between the standardization sector of ITU and the Telemanagement Forum (TM Forum).

The Telecommunication Management Collaboration Focus Group for Human Machine Interface (HMI) comprised of members of the TM Forum and Study Group 4 has completed its activities, inputting its work into SG4 for progression into ITU-T Recommendations. Recommendation Z.371 deals with the graphical user interfaces and information requirements for displaying telecommunications objects such as links and nodes, while Recommendation Z.372 provides patterns for the design of the HMI templates for object browsers.

As management systems and network elements have become more complex, telecommunication network operators have demanded improved and standardized HMIs. This they believe will allow them to increase quality of service and reduce response times to customers.

Following the success of this Focus Group, another on Multi-Technology Network Management has been set up in Study Group 4. This group will look to further standardize management interfaces, this time machine to machine. Specifically the group will examine the interfaces for managing transport networks and their elements, for technologies such as SONET/SDH, DWDM, ATM, Frame Relay, Ethernet and DSL.

Friday, May 13, 2005 4:13:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Study Group 4 recently consented a series of Recommendations which specify the security  requirements, services, and mechanisms for the management plane.

More specifically, the standards (the M.3016.x series of ITU-T Recommendations) support the ability to provide secure communication of management information across interfaces between network elements and management systems and also interfaces between management systems. In addition, the specifications also apply to the administration of the management systems themselves.

SG4 Chairman Dave Sidor says that this work is an important part of ITU-T's ongoing NGN activity.

The standards have been designed to allow tailoring by other management standards organizations to meet their regional, national, or specific-technology needs. This feature is supported by M.3016.4, Profile Proforma.

Recommendations in the series include:
M.3016.0 – Security for the Management Plane: Overview
M.3016.1 – Security for the Management Plane: Security Requirements
M.3016.2 – Security for the Management Plane: Security Services
M.3016.3 – Security for the Management Plane: Security Mechanisms
M.3016.4 – Security for the Management Plane: Profile Proforma

Friday, May 13, 2005 4:07:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Would the pervasiveness of information technologies have been possible without standards? This is a question posed by the organizers of The 4th International Conference on Standardization and Innovation in Information Technology (SIIT), and a key theme for the event, hosted in Geneva by ITU-T, 21- 23 September.

SIIT2005 aims at bringing together standardization researchers from different disciplines, IT-practitioners, policy makers (including WTO), standards developers (ITU-T, ISO) and users (administrations, companies, etc.). In short anyone interested in exchanging insights on standardization is welcome.

Specifying and quantifying the importance of standards is a notoriously difficult task. SIIT2005 organisers are soliciting papers to help us understand, better, the importance of standards.

Unpublished papers of not more than 6000 words and that shed light on aspects, issues, and dynamics of standards and standardization are welcome, and can be submitted until 15 April. Authors of accepted contributions will be notified on 1st of June 2005.

Further details and submission guidelines can be found here. Access to the conference is free.

Friday, May 13, 2005 3:52:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new international standard from ITU-T looks set to help take home phoneline networking technology into the mainstream.

Home phone networking is a simple way to network devices such as computers, printers, games machines etc. in the home. It uses existing internal - telephone line - infrastructure and so is available to anyone with more than one phone in their home. Data rates up to 128 Mbps (240 Mbps with optional extensions) are achievable with the technology according to the Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) upon whose specifications some of ITU-T's standards are based.

ITU-T Recommendation G.9954 is the latest in a series of ITU-T Recommendations (including G.989.1, G.989.2 and G.989.3) in the area and outlines interoperability and compatibility issues for phoneline networking transceivers. Specifically it gives enhanced physical, media access, and link layer specifications for the devices.

A number of manufacturers are already incorporating ITU-T specifications into their phoneline networking products.

Friday, May 13, 2005 3:30:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 12, 2005

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.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 7:26:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new ITU-T Recommendation from Study Group 16 aims to support the continued use of modems in IP networks by providing interoperability between products that emulate modem signals. A number of products had emerged to provide this functionality, but no standard solution - until now.

Modem signals have traditionally been transported by circuit switched systems and equipment. As service providers increasingly look towards Internet Protocol (IP) infrastructure, more modem signals will be carried over the protocol. The problem is that the basic design constraints of IP networks do not allow for transparent transport of modem signals (voice-band data (VBD)), hence necessitating special protocols to be run on top of IP to ensure the necessary end-to-end high quality of service.

Many thousands of people still use dial-up (modems) to access the Internet, and so the continued support of modems as many telecommunication service providers move to packet based networks is seen as imperative. Without standards that support their continued use, modem users would suffer from a significantly downgraded experience.

V.152 defines procedures for equipment that interconnect traditional circuit-switched networks with IP networks to provide satisfactory, transparent delivery of modulated VBD as encoded audio content over IP (data modems, facsimile terminals and text telephones). The Recommendation complements the functionality in the modem relay Recommendation V.150.1 (see press release).

Thursday, May 12, 2005 7:01:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new standard developed by Study Group 9 will help to facilitate communication over IPCablecom networks in disaster situations. 
Even when not directly damaged, networks may have to cope with congestion, overload or the need to be rapidly extended due to limited bandwidth.

The Recommendation - J.260 - defines requirements for authentication and priority mechanisms in IP-based cable architectures. It ensures, that even in times of limited bandwidth, emergency communication is transmitted without problems.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 6:56:09 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 6:28:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 6:20:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |