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 Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A major milestone for providing global IPTV has been reached with the approval of a new ITU standard, giving requirements for the support of IPTV services.

Experts say that standards are essential for the rollout of global IPTV services. While we have already seen a first generation of IPTV services, a second generation may see a change in regulation or market demand that will require interoperation between service and/or network providers. A potential outcome of this will be that a customer can go into a shop, buy an IPTV box, call their network operator and sign-up, and then access services from a range of third party service providers. It is to meet needs such as this the value of ITU’s work on standardization will be realised.

IPTV, defined by ITU-T as “multimedia services such as television/video/ audio/text/graphics/data delivered over IP-based networks managed to support the required level of quality of service (QoS)/quality of experience (QoE), security, interactivity and reliability”, is one of the most significant business cases and drivers for the deployment of next generation networks (NGN).

The standard, Recommendation ITU-T Y.1901, specifies high level requirements for the support of IPTV services, including requirements concerning service offering, QoS/QoE, service and content protection, middleware, content, network and end system aspects. Y.1901 and previously approved Recommendation ITU-T Y.1910, “IPTV functional architecture”, plus various other IPTV related ITU-T Recommendations, constitute an initial set of IPTV standards enabling equipment vendors, including consumer electronics suppliers, to roll-out standardized IPTV products. Deployment of ITU-T compliant products will enable service providers to offer value added services like traditional (linear) TV, video on demand (VoD) and interactive TV over IP-based managed networks such as NGN.

Y.1901 has been developed with a truly international effort at ITU-T IPTV-GSI (IPTV Global Standards Initiative) events, with the active participation of administrations, service providers and equipment vendors from a large number of countries, including, but not limited to Canada, China, France, Japan, Korea, United Kingdom and United States.

ITU-T standardization activities related to IPTV continue in various ITU-T Study Groups, in cooperation with relevant standard developing organizations, forums and consortia, including ATIS IPTV Interoperability Forum, ETSI TISPAN, Broadband Forum, Digital Video Broadcasting project and Home Gateway Initiative.


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Tuesday, February 03, 2009 9:10:38 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 23, 2008

Geneva, 21 October 2008 — Yesterday, the first-ever Global Standards Symposium closed in Johannesburg, South Africa with broad agreement from industry and standards bodies on the need to take aggressive action to streamline standards work and end confusion and duplication.

Opening the event, ITU standards chief Malcolm Johnson said: “Confusion and duplication cannot serve the purposes of anyone… consumer, manufacturer, service provider, rich or poor country. Clarity, and efficiency must be brought to bear in this – most important of industrial sectors.”

Industry and standards leaders argued that the bewildering array of standards bodies that exists today is costly and inefficient. It is estimated that over 300 ICT standards bodies exist. GSS delegates agreed that keeping track of them was alone a difficult enough task. Better coordination at an international level is needed between industry and standards developing organizations (SDOs) to ensure that standardization needs are met quickly and efficiently. Steps are being planned to establish a direct line of communication between technology leaders and ITU’s standardization arm, to ensure that emerging needs are addressed in the most efficient manner and the most appropriate place. This is ITU’s role, Johnson said, as the world’s pre-eminent ICT standards body.

ITU Secretary General, Dr Hamadoun Touré underlined the importance of standards in times of financial crisis: “Standards are a proven tool in terms of economic development,” he said in his opening speech. “The World Trade Organization (WTO) trade report of 2005 underlines the important benefits that standards can deliver…standards may have a significant effect on limiting the undesirable outcomes of market failure. And, the work of ITU and other bodies in the development of global standards for ICTs and telecoms has helped the smoother, more economical introduction of new technologies.”

Other topics tackled at the Global Standards Symposium in Johannesburg were ICTs and climate change, increasing developing country participation in the standardization process, and accessibility to ICTs for people with disabilities.

Delegates were called on to set an example by committing to specific programs to limit and reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and to help ensure that the expansion of the global communications network is done in an environmentally friendly manner. The importance of the work of the ITU Focus Group on Climate Change was recognized; in particular the need for a standardized approach to measuring the impact of ICTs on the reduction of GHG emissions.

Bridging the standardization gap is the term ITU uses to describe its efforts to increase developing country participation in the standards making process. Recent efforts by the ITU-T were applauded, for example holding five regional forums in 2008, establishing a voluntary fund to be used for workshops and meetings in developing countries, fellowships, remote participation, surveys and study programmes. It was recognized that the increased involvement of developing countries in standardization work provides an opportunity to better consider their needs in developing new standards and will help to meet the traditional objective of ITU in continuing to ensure global interoperability of communications.

ITU was also applauded for its efforts so far in the arena of accessibility to ICTs for persons with disabilities and encouraged to continue and increase efforts in producing standards that support the ICT needs of persons with disabilities. Work to develop an on-line toolkit that will serve as a global electronic repository of policies and strategies and as a platform for sharing experiences on best practices on ICT accessibility was announced.

The GSS took place one day before the start of ITU’s World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA-08) which is a quadrennial event where ITU members decide on the direction of ITU’s standardization work for the next four years. The inaugural GSS gathered Ministers and Ambassadors, senior executives from the private sector and lead officials from other standards bodies. A report from the GSS will be submitted to WTSA-08 and high on its agenda there are likely to be topics such as those discussed at the GSS but also cybersecurity, IPTV, and some Internet related issues. A communiqué will also be issued following WTSA-08.

Thursday, October 23, 2008 1:26:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, December 23, 2005

The ITU’s work on standards for next generation networks (NGNs) promises to have a fundamental impact on tomorrow’s telecom services – by opening hardware and software markets to competition, driving down costs, encouraging innovation, and laying the foundation for the next phase of convergence.

You are invited to find out more about the latest release of the ITU’s NGN standards and their likely impact on the telecom supply chain in a free one-hour-long online seminar, hosted by Light Reading and featuring key players in ITU’s work on NGN on Monday, January 23. 

The event is being held by Light Reading in collaboration with the ITU.  Speakers will be:

  • Keith Dickerson, Representative of the ITU NGN-Global Standards Initiative (GSI)
  • Marco Carugi, Representative of the ITU NGN- GSI
  • Monique Morrow, Representative of the ITU NGN- GSI

The speakers will explain the context of the latest NGN standards and then drill down on some of the key aspects of them, explaining  their importance and likely impact on telecom equipment and service markets.

The Light Reading “SuperWebinar” will comprise a short introduction by Peter Heywood,  Founding Editor of Light Reading, followed by a 45 minute slide presentation given by all three speakers.  There will be a 10-15 minutes Q&A session at the end.

The live event will be staged on Monday, January 23rd at 5:30 PM Central European Time,  4:30 PM London time, 11:30 AM New York time, and 8:30 AM Pacific time. 

To register please click on this link.
Friday, December 23, 2005 4:00:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A half-day workshop on Conformance and Interoperability Testing will take place 25 January, Geneva, 09:00 to 12:30.

The objectives of the informal workshop are to discuss the general principles of the topic as well as to collect information on past, ongoing or potential activities related to it inside and outside ITU and to identify people involved. The results of this activity will allow the Correspondence Group on Conformance and Interoperability Testing that has convened the event to develop an activity plan.

The draft agenda of the Informal Workshop is as follows:

09.00-09.15 Welcome and presentations.

09.15-09.30 Mandate of the Correspondence Group. Arve Meisingset, Telenor, Norway

09.30-10.15 Principles and Supporting Standards. Os Monkewich, Canada

10.15-10.45 Protocol Test Specifications for NGN. Dimitri Tarasov, Russia

10.45-11.15 Coffee

11.15-12.00 Conformance and Interoperability Testing of Multimedia Terminals and Systems. Patrick Luthi, Tandberg, Switzerland.

12.00-12.30 Open for additional presentations. Alternatives are being investigated.

Friday, December 23, 2005 3:52:24 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 22, 2005

ITU-T is hosting a workshop Networked RFID: Systems and Services, in collaboration with ITU’s Strategy and Policy Unit (SPU), Geneva, 14-15 February 2006.

Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is the much-touted system that enables data to be transmitted by a tiny portable device, called a tag, which is read by an RFID reader and processed according to the needs of a particular application. The development of RFID systems creates new possibilities for the support of object-to-object communications. Analysts predict that RFID will revolutionize areas of industry including supply chain management, security and mobile telecommunication services. Additionally, RFID is expected to play an important role in the realization of the Ubiquitous Network Society. All this will create a yet unquantified demand on telecommunication networks.

Currently, the market for RFID standards is extremely fragmented. Special standards for certain limited fields of applications exist as well as quasi-proprietary or proprietary standards. Many RFID applications still lack global standards for data formats, compatibility, interoperability, interference problems, personal information protection, authentication, key management and others. More.

Thursday, December 22, 2005 2:34:12 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

An ITU-T workshop - NGN and its Transport Networks - will take place at the International Conference Center Kobe (ICCK), Japan, 20 to 21 April 2006.

NGN Standardization work is now well underway in the ITU-T and other SDOs. Following the success of the NGN Focus Group and the establishment of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI) in ITU-T, this ITU-T workshop will be an opportunity to review the status of the work, identify technology trends, and provide a framework for moving forward standardization work.

This event will provide an overview of the architecture, performance and transport aspects of NGN as well as the market drivers and challenges. Particular emphasis will be given to network technologies, standards that address architecture and the performance aspects of NGN and transport networks aspects to support NGN services. More.

Thursday, December 22, 2005 2:11:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T together with the US Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) will hold a workshop, Next Generation Network Technology and Standardization at the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre in Las Vegas, USA, from 19 to 20 March 2006. This workshop will be held during the TelecomNEXT event.

NGN Standardization work is now well underway in the ITU-T, ATIS and other SDOs. Following the success of the ITU-T’s Focus Group on NGN (FGNGN), the establishment of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI) in ITU-T and the activities within the ATIS NGN Focus Group and Technical committees, this free workshop will be an opportunity to review the status of the work, identify technology trends, and seek to identify areas where the ITU-T and ATIS together with regional experts can further coordinate their standardization work.

ATIS has kindly negotiated registration rates for workshop participants who are also interested in attending TelecomNEXT. For details please see http://www.techthink.org/registration.html

More.

Thursday, December 22, 2005 2:10:02 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

With the next phase of ITU-T's work on next generation networks (NGN) underway a new webpage as been unveiled giving access to a variety of NGN resources.

The new page will act as a portal for those people participating in NGN study but also to those new to NGN. Features include a live news feed, a short introduction to NGN, links to official documents, the Release 1 set of NGN specifications, presentations and important dates for your calendar.  

An upcoming feature will be an NGN Roadmap, that will provide an overview of the NGN work going on across the standardization world. Essentially, it will act as a repository of NGN information from ITU and other SDOs. A key feature of the tool will be the ability to track work progress and see the latest versions of documents.

Thursday, December 22, 2005 2:08:00 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 30, 2005
The latest meeting of TSAG saw the formation of a new correspondence group to examine what role ITU-T should have in conformance and interoperability testing for its standards.

The stamp of approval that shows conformance to a standard could be a potent marketing tool for manufacturers of equipment. 

The convener of the group Arve Meisingset of Telenor R&D in Norway, and Vice Chairman of Study Group 17 said: “There are many possibilities, from maintaining the status quo in which third parties can test for conformance without a complete set of ITU testing standards to the setting-up of actual testing labs based on ITU guidelines and standards. We will look at the pros and cons of all possibilities; examine what is appropriate for ITU to do, and what members want.”

Currently, while there are procedures in some Recommendations, there is no systematic approach to testing implementations of ITU-T Recommendations for conformance or interoperability. And, so initial steps will probably be along the lines of producing guidelines for protocol writers and users of those protocols, and examining how ITU can produce a more complete set of testing standards to help the testing community and product suppliers deliver better standards-based products.

Existing ITU-T applicable specifications include the 7-part X.290-series Recommendations that covers generic aspects of conformance testing. In addition, SG 17 is standardizing a testing methodology and framework for interoperability testing. SG 17 will write the guidelines and generic testing methodology standards while SG 11 will write protocol-specific testing standards. Other study groups have also developed specific methodologies for particular Recommendations. For example, Study Group 16 has developed a conformance testing specification for the video compression codec H.264/AVC. 

Experts agreed that future work will benefit from the more systematic method that could result from this activity.

In conformance testing, the objective is to determine how completely and correctly the requirements of the standard have been met by the implementation. In interoperability testing, the objective is to determine if two or more implementations of the same standard interoperate with each other. In the telecommunication world, it is generally assumed that the implementations have been tested for conformance prior to interoperability testing.

 

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 5:09:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 28, 2005
The third meeting of the Service and Network Operations group (SNO) will be held 20 March - 24 March 2006 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa at the kind invitation of Telkom SA Ltd.

SNO is a group that operates under the auspices of ITU-T aiming to address issues in network management as encountered by network operators throughout the world. It was formerly known as the Network Management Development Group (NMDG).

As "the Voice of Operations", the group has had a direct impact on existing and new ITU-T Recommendations in the field.

This SNO event aims to provide an opportunity for an open communications sharing experience among international network operators. In addition the conference aims to encourage wider global ITU-T participation in the identification, development and implementation of network and service management activities for operations.

Registration and general information can be found here.

 

Monday, November 28, 2005 3:32:15 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)  #     | 
 Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A new process that allows work to be started in new areas on ‘any day of the year’, has been endorsed at the latest meeting of TSAG.

In the fast moving world of information and communications technologies (ICT) the quicker standardization work can start, the better. The ‘quick start’ process allows ITU-T to initiate new activities with speed when members identify a new area for standardization. It is a further example of how responsive ITU-T is to market needs and it strengthens ITU-T's claim to be one of the most attractive and efficient places to produce global standards.

Simply put, the process gives responsibility for taking quick action, such as setting-up a new Focus Group, a joint rapporteur group, or a joint coordination activity, to the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) Director in agreement with the Study Group chairmen and the TSAG Chairman. Previously it was normally necessary to wait for the next Study Group meeting, which could have been months away. So, for example, if direction on a particular topic is seen to have reached sufficient maturity in Technology Watch discussions, measures can be put in place to ensure immediate action. Experts agreed that such a speedy response to market needs is essential to continue bringing the most important new work into ITU-T.

 

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 5:27:42 PM (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)  #     | 
 Monday, October 31, 2005

A workshop on home networking will move standardization work in the area to a crucial new stage according to participants. The event held by ITU in Geneva 13-14 October followed a similar 2004 ITU-T Study Group 9 Tokyo workshop, and closed with agreement on how to move forward in a number of key areas. Meeting concurrently was the Home Networking-Joint Coordination Activity (HN-JCA), a group of ITU-T experts aiming to coordinate standardization effort on home networking across ITU-T Study Groups.

Home networking is the linking of all types of electronic devices for applications such as entertainment, telecommunication, home automation systems and telemetry (remote control and monitoring systems), see below for the official ITU definition. It has become an increasingly important topic for standardizers, partly because of the disparate nature of the items to be networked and partly because of market pressure. US organization CTAM (Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing), estimates that 40 percent of broadband customers want to share audio over the home network and 36 percent want to share video.

One of the key conclusions of the workshop is that there needs to be better collaboration between the various groups involved in the work. Ralph W. Brown, Chief Technology Officer, CableLabs and presenter at the event: “Through better coordination and closer working relationship, we can avoid the proliferation of incompatible standards.” It is critical for ITU to facilitate working relationships and open the door to referencing the specifications of other organizations from international standards it was agreed. To this end, Reinhard Scholl, Deputy to the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau gave a presentation highlighting the various ways that ITU can accommodate the work of other bodies. Participants welcomed the degree of flexibility offered by ITU.

One option outlined by Scholl and discussed as a possible next step is the formation of an ITU-T Focus Group to work on some of the technical issues. The Focus Group concept allows urgent standardization needs that are not addressed within existing ITU‑T structure to be addressed quickly and with the minimum of red-tape. Currently a group, the Home Networking-Joint Coordination Activity (HN-JCA), exists to harmonize work going on across ITU-T Study Groups but its mandate does not extend to technical work. More

.

 

Monday, October 31, 2005 9:48:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the agenda at the Study Group 17 meeting was spam.
 
The Study Group's response to a call from WTSA, the quadrennial event that defines study areas for ITU-T, is the development of a work programme on countering spam by technical means. Chair Herb Bertine said that he has seen a significant number of contributions in this area.

 
With spam having grown into one of the major plagues affecting the digital world, causing additional costs and loss of revenue to Internet service providers, telecoms operators and business users, measures to combat it have taken on an added sense of urgency. Technical measures are an important way to counter spam.
 
Key objectives of the work programme will be to identify and examine the telecommunication network security risks introduced by the constantly changing nature of spam and produce a comprehensive and up-to-date resource list of the existing technical measures for countering spam in a telecommunication network. The Study Group will examine issues including: what risks does spam pose to the telecommunication network, what technical factors associated with the telecommunication network contribute to the difficulty of identifying the sources of spam, how can new technologies lead to opportunities to counter spam and enhance the security of the telecommunication network, and do advanced telecommunication network technologies (for example, SMS, instant messaging, VoIP) offer unique opportunities for spam that require unique solutions?
 
Jianyong Chen who is the ITU-T expert leading the work (SG 17 Vice Chair): “The fight against spam is being fought on many fronts, policy, regulatory, legal and technical. Fighting spam by technical means will mean an examination of how those that send out spam operate, but also we will seek to cooperate with other relevant standards developing organizations (SDOs) and reference their works in the field, rather than duplicating any of the good work that has gone before.”   
 
The current work programme includes standards (ITU-T Recommendations) on topics such as; Guidelines on countering e-mail SPAM; Requirements on countering SPAM; Technical framework for countering e-mail SPAM; Overview of countering SPAM for IP multimedia applications; Technical means for countering SPAM. The first two Recommendations are aimed for approval in the second half of 2006.

WTSA Resolution 52.
Monday, October 31, 2005 9:42:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Among achievements at the recent meeting of Study Group 17 was the establishment of a work programme on Internationalized Domain Names (IDN). An IDN expert (rapporteur) was appointed to head the work in the Study Group which takes the lead on security issues in ITU-T. The work follows direct instruction from WTSA, the quadrennial event that defines study areas for ITU-T (WTSA Resolution 48).

IDNs are domain names represented by local language characters. They have the potential to transform the Internet into a truly global and multilingual tool by enabling Internet users to navigate and communicate online in their preferred script. The Study Group rapporteur Andrzej Bartosiewicz said that IDNs are still awaiting broad deployment all over the world. "While IDNs are becoming popular in some countries like Germany, Poland and Japan, other countries are being slow to adopt. ITU as an international organization is seen as potentially the best body to facilitate safe deployment."

Contributions on technical issues had been received before the meeting, giving participants the opportunity to discuss these and the administrative fundamentals of IDNs. The meeting identified key issues to be considered, including the work programme and the action plan for upcoming months.

Study Group chair Herb Bertine said that there are some important security considerations to be taken into account in the study of IDN. For example he said that unfamiliar characters used may make users believe that they are being directed to one place, when in fact they could be being directed to a site with malicious intent.
Monday, October 31, 2005 9:39:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
With the popularity of blogs, podcasting and web-based photo libraries, web content has become something much more accessible to the individual in the last few years. Now video looks set to be the next media to gain popularity with the new generation of home based media moguls.

Work on a new protocol that may spawn a whole new generation of independent broadcasters is underway at ITU. Relayed Multicast Protocol (RMCP) being developed by the ITU’s Study Group 17 uses something like a peer-to-peer model meaning that independent broadcasters no longer have to subscribe to a fat-pipe, instead relying on a collection of ‘peers’ or ‘relay agents’, in other words other people's computers. Peer to peer type traffic is reckoned to make-up as much as 72 per cent of current Internet traffic. And this figure is predicted to rise.

RMCP allows the live broadcast of video or audio piggy-backing off other users (or servers). So in a scenario where 100 people are demanding a live broadcast, instead of serving each one of these clients their own video stream, only one stream has to be provided and each user will be served from another in the network. This has significant implications for instance for businesses broadcasting live events, where a previous scenario demanded 100 users be fed individual feeds, RMCP allows the broadcast of just one.

Juyoung Park the editor of the ITU-T Recommendations says that RMCP allows for the efficient serving of hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connection requests.

Park says that the need for this type of protocol was identified by content providers. Standardization means that a single client can receive content from any number of suppliers.

An alternative solution – IP Multicast – is not applicable in today’s networks according to Park. For a start the success of IP Multicast would mean router upgrades throughout a network, something that many operators would balk at, especially given the unclear benefits of IP Multicast to their revenue streams.

Park says that tests by his organization – ETRI – have shown that speeds of 2 Mbit/s are possible. This reflects standard broadcast rates. However he says that typically users will experience something more like 640 Kbit/s. 

ITU-T has published one Recommendation (ITU-T Rec. X.603) on the topic outlining requirements, framework etc. The next two Recommendations due in 2006 will focus on the technical specifications. One focusing on one broadcaster to many clients, and the other on many broadcasters to many clients.
Monday, October 31, 2005 9:38:33 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Study Group 9 has consented a Recommendation that establishes the concept of a digital rights management (DRM) bridge on a home network. DRM has been identified as a key issue to deal with in home networking, as well as an important driver for the technology (see story on home networking workshop). With standards in place, it is felt that many more key manufacturers may enter the market.

DRM is a term that refers to technical methods used to control or restrict the use of digital media content on electronic devices. So for instance a music file purchased from the Internet may be embedded with DRM to ensure that it is only used by the purchaser. Essentially it gives the service provider the assurance that its content is not used in a manner that is a violation of service agreements or legal requirements.

DRM in home networking is seen as a particularly important issue to resolve where a user can store and distribute content among various home-networked devices. A bridge will mean that from a user’s perspective their digital purchases can be played on all networked devices without trouble. 

Experts said that key goals for the implementation of a DRM bridge are ensuring that it is sufficiently robust from the content provider’s point of view, but also equally important is that it is non-intrusive from the subscriber’s point of view.

The Recommendation is ITU-T J.197 (formerly J.drm), High level requirements for a digital rights management bridge to a Home Network.
Monday, October 31, 2005 9:35:20 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU is working on technology with the potential to radically transform the large screen entertainment industry. While much of the work on large screen digital imagery (LSDI) is handled in ITU's Radiocommunication sector (ITU-R), a meeting of ITU-T's Study Group 9 has just consented a standard that completes a vital link in the chain meaning that from a film being shot to its display in a cinema-like environment, all processes involved in the making of LSDI movies can be truly digital.

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.

The ITU-T Recommendation defines how “super HDTV” images – up to four times the quality of standard HDTV - can be delivered to cinema-like venues, bypassing traditional distribution methods. It defines transport technologies for LSDI with resolutions 3840 x 2160 and 7680 x 4320 pixels.

Currently all movies, even those that are produced digitally, are distributed on film. This method is costly. Electronic distribution via satellite and/or fiber-optics or cable television, will eliminate these costs and also allow a much more efficient distribution channel. In addition it could give cinema owners a much greater level of independence.

Traditional broadcast channels such as terrestrial transmission will not generally be used to deliver LSDI content. But the ability to broadcast in real-time means that live broadcast to LSDI equipped theatres will be possible. This convergence between telecoms and broadcast permits the presentation of new types of content unavailable until recently to cinema audiences.

Sports, concerts, dramas, plays, cultural, educational and industrial events can now be presented to audiences alongside traditional features.

According to the Draft New Report on Large Screen Digital Imagery produced by ITU-R: "In North America, the transition to LSDI is proceeding at a rapid pace and as of now, there are over 9000 LSDI theatre screens in daily operation with more being planned and installed this year... LSDI is a reality in North America." In Asia, China according to the report is taking the lead supported by high-level government commitment, and in Europe there are numerous implementations.
Monday, October 31, 2005 9:24:18 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, October 21, 2005

Apple's new video iPod launched in the first half of October uses the ITU-T H.264 video codec.

Apple’s support for the standard goes back some years. As early as 2002, Tim Schaaff, vice president of the interactive-media group at Apple Computer Inc., speaking at industry event IBC, said H.264 is "no doubt the best codec there is, offering a great coding efficiency."

The video compression standard (full name H.264 or MPEG-4 pt.10/ AVC) jointly developed by ITU-T and the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) is now being deployed in products from companies including Apple, Sony, BT, France Telecom, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Polycom, Samsung, Tandberg and Toshiba.

H.264/AVC is the first truly scalable video codec, delivering excellent quality across the entire bandwidth spectrum - from high definition television to videoconferencing and 3G mobile multimedia. The dramatically increased compression performance of H.264 will enable existing applications like videoconferencing, streaming video over the Internet, and digital television on satellite and cable to offer better quality video at lower cost. It will also allow new video applications such as high-definition TV (HDTV) broadcasts, high-definition films on DVD, video on mobile phones, and videoconferencing over low bandwidth connections that were previously impractical because of economics or technology.

 

 

Friday, October 21, 2005 3:43:01 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, October 05, 2005

What: ITU together with sponsors BT, Cisco, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Nortel and Siemens is holding a one day event to mark a new milestone in ITU's work on next-generation networks (NGN). The event will present an overview of NGN work so far, details on future direction and some of the business drivers for NGN. In addition to announcing this completion of work on the Release 1 standards for NGN by ITU-T's Focus Group on Next-Generation Networks (FGNGN), the event will communicate the next phase of NGN work to be progressed under the banner of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI).

Morning sessions will focus on technical aspects of the NGN work, while the afternoon will be devoted to market/business drivers. Registration is
required.

When: 18 November, 2005

Where: Hilton, Gatwick, London, UK

Why: Operators from around the globe are implementing NGN strategies and plan to invest billions of dollars in the eventual rollout of new packet-based networks. Their involvement in global standards stimulates innovation and superior technology; enables interoperability allowing multi-vendor product offering; and protects current and future investment.

The operators, systems vendors and governments that have driven this standardization work see NGN as delivering substantial cost savings due to the economies of scope inherent in a single converged network. They believe that standards will facilitate an open market for systems, lowering costs and allowing a mix and match approach to implementation, while also allowing interoperability on a global scale. NGN will see consumers benefit from innovative new services, greater control and personalisation, ease of migration between services as well as offering continuity for existing services. 

Who: The event is aimed at those involved in product planning and service creation, whether from systems vendors or service providers. Typically that will mean systems designers or product implementers from systems vendors and those involved in service development from service providers.  Media/analysts wishing to attend please contact toby.johnson@itu.int.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005 10:27:01 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Work on a standard (ITU-T Recommendation) that updates telecommunication management principles for NGN has been completed in Study Group 4.

Standards here are essential according to SG experts in order to ensure that management solutions support NGN, a network based on the separation of service and transport capabilities.

The work focusing on the interfaces between management systems was mostly led by service providers and is important in order for the dynamic provisioning of services in NGN. The document will also allow for easier planning, installation, maintenance, operation and administration experts say.

The Recommendation - M.3060 - was consented with input from other standards bodies including 3GPP, ATIS, ETSI and the Telemanagement Forum (TMF). It presents the telecommunication management principles, including requirements and four architectural views for managing NGN based on service-oriented architectural concepts.

 

Tuesday, October 04, 2005 8:54:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 29, 2005
ITU has assigned an international numbering code that will be used by the inflight passengers communications company OnAir, in order to offer an inflight mobile telephony service.

For the first time passengers will be able to benefit from being able to use their mobile phones and PDAs’ GSM and GPRS functionality while inflight. The service will be available to all subscribers with roaming contracts.

The ITU-T E.164 number code is required in order to route subscribers’ calls and data to/from the passengers’ home networks. In addition ITU-T has assigned to OnAir a shared mobile country code (MCC), and network code (MNC). The MCC is part of the international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number, which uniquely identifies a particular subscriber, and is stored on a user’s SIM card. These numbers are assigned according to ITU-T Recommendation E.212.

bmi and TAP Portugal will trial the service, an initiative by OnAir, a joint venture with Airbus and SITA.

Onboard equipment developed by Airbus, with its partners, for OnAir will use existing technology but will have to gain an airworthiness certificate and telecoms regulatory approval before its launch.

The service will be available on both long- or short-haul fleets and on both Airbus and Boeing aircraft. OnAir sources said that it is mainly business passengers that have led the demand for the service.

The system comprises of pico cells on board, connected via a satellite link to a ground GSM/GPRS roaming platform.

 

Thursday, September 29, 2005 8:44:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The latest meeting of Study Group 3 saw an agreement that may lead to lower international mobile telephony charges.

The move follows a successful initiative in the 1990’s to lower the – then – high cost of international fixed line telephone calls.

SG 3 research has found that in some cases mobile termination charges can be five to ten times more than fixed termination charge. Termination charges happen when calls are terminated in a network other than that from which they have originated.

And since as many as 75 per cent of all calls now involve the mobile network in some way SG 3 has decided to investigate how to lower these costs and make mobile telephony more affordable.

The Study Group will send a questionnaire to members and following analysis of the responses it will develop targets aimed at bringing down the cost of mobile call termination.

The same initiative for fixed-line telephony is thought to have significantly reduced costs to consumers. Although some lowering of call costs can be shown to have been due to competition and market conditions, call costs were also seen to drop in areas where there was no competition, indicating that the ITU initiative had worked.

In other news from SG 3’s last meeting it was announced that an alternative has been agreed to the 140 year old practice of allowing the calling party’s service provider to invoice the call terminator for call termination services. The practice has led to many disputes and there have been calls to review the situation.

SG 3’s meeting agreed to a new model that – it is felt – will be less problematic. Now the call terminator can bill directly for the minutes used by the service provider sending the calls.

 

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 8:44:07 AM (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

September has got off to a flying start as far as next-generation networks (NGN) work in ITU is concerned. The important milestone of the Release 1 set of standards is on track for November and sufficient momentum has been achieved to ensure that the next stages of NGN work will be carried out with similar efficiency.

The continuation of the NGN study by ITU will be re-branded the NGN-Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI).

Houlin Zhao, Director of TSB, ITU-T’s secretariat said: “I am very pleased with the progress and the results achieved by the Focus Group on next-generation networks (FGNGN). These first results will provide the building blocks on which the world’s systems vendors and service providers can start to make this monumental shift to NGN. We have the momentum, the tools and the will to continue this significant and important work.”

Agreement on a future plan is clear and the Focus Group on next-generation networks (FGNGN) has been putting the finishing touches to Release 1 before formally submitting it into the Study Group system.

The FGNGN met in Geneva 24 August – 2 September alongside meetings of Study Groups 11, 13 and 19, themselves all having elements of NGN work. Each FGNGN meeting has seen increased participation and contributions according to management.

The group chaired by Chae-Sub Lee of Korea is expecting to see completion of its Release 1 set of standards, at its November 2005 meeting in London, UK. A one day briefing session following that meeting will serve as an overview of the work, as well as an opportunity to promote future direction and business drivers.

The first draft of an allocation table for the distribution of work following the November meeting was also agreed. This type of activity as well as the development of a prototype project management tool, is seen as important in order to keep NGN work, that cuts across the study groups, aligned, coherent and consistent.

According to FGNGN chairman Lee, an important focus of the work at this Geneva meeting are the quality of service (QoS) aspects that will allow – for example – services like IPTV to be offered with the same broadcast quality as traditional TV. The Focus Group expects that there will be more than ten deliverables on QoS that will be submitted into the Study Group system for approval as ITU-T products such as Recommendations. Additionally the topic of fixed-mobile convergence saw much discussion in the meeting according to Lee.

FGNGN also saw the document that describes the scope for NGN standards in ITU reaching near maturity, an important step, according to meeting insiders. The document that gives an overview of what Release 1 is expected to cover in terms of services, capabilities and high level objectives was described in the meeting’s report as ‘very stable’. Additionally much progress was made on another crucial document describing Release 1 requirements.
Thursday, September 15, 2005 12:50:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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)  #     | 
 Friday, September 09, 2005

The recent Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Symposium on Network Security and SPAM presented background information, detailed the current situation, new developments and steps ahead on network security and fighting spam in the Asia-Pacific region.

TSB presented highlights of ITU-T work on security, also detailing the level of participation of the AP region in Study Group 17, the ITU-T group that looks at security issues. Mr Jianyong Chen (ITU-T SG 17 Vice Chair from China) also attended the event and made a detailed presentation on current SG 17 work. He also chaired two sessions. In addition TSB presented the results of the ITU WSIS Thematic Meeting on Cybersecurity held in Geneva, 28 June – 1 July 2005.

The meeting was organized in three full-day sessions and was attended by some 70 representatives from the Asia-Pacific area. The first day was dedicated to cybersecurity, the second to countering spam, and the third to cooperation initiatives. The complete set of presentations at the meeting can be downloaded here.

The meeting invited AP countries to step-up their capability building initiatives and encouraged APT to increase its collaboration on network security and spam with international organizations working in the area, ITU-T in particular.

 

Friday, September 09, 2005 1:07:36 PM (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)  #     | 
 Monday, August 22, 2005

In conjunction with ISO/IEC’s Joint Picture Experts Group (JPEG), ITU-T’s Study Group 16 hosted a workshop on Video and Image Coding and Applications (VICA) at ITU headquarters in Geneva, 22 to 23 July. 

Key experts joined users to review the development, assessment and application of video and image coding and to discuss and start work on an action plan and a roadmap for VICA standardization.

Introducing the workshop, Houlin Zhao, director of TSB, emphasized the importance of video and image compression not only from a telecommunication perspective, but also for consumers. He highlighted ITU-T’s extensive and constructive partnerships with both MPEG, and ISO/IEC’s Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG), which have achieved practical and innovative results. He also highlighted the importance of the work from universities in the field.

The workshop introduced topics including the history and challenges of video and image compression up to the development of ITU-T Recommendation H.264, and of the JPEG-2000 family of standards. It looked at how these standards will be applied to current and future technologies surrounding television, computers, videoconferencing, home networking and mobile phones, and how VICA standards are affected by the evolution of multimedia services and applications.

Presentations also stimulated discussion on how standards work in the field, including how next generation networks (NGN) can support the development of so-called ubiquitous networks – any device, anytime, anywhere. Current work on home network environments was also taken into account.

Following the event, Study Group 16 met from 26 July to 5 August and further discussed the results of the workshop in order to continue to develop standards that will improve the quality of service and ubiquity of telecommunication technologies and facilitate the global dissemination of multimedia content.

Monday, August 22, 2005 8:07:02 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T hosted the 36th JPEG Meeting, Geneva July 18-22. The Joint Picture Experts Group (JPEG), formed many years ago by both ITU-T Study Group 16 and ISO/IEC JTC1 SG 29, is best known for its JPEG and JPEG-2000 image compression standards. 

In ITU-T, Study Group 16 is home to all media coding work, such as the H-Series of Recommendations, and includes work done together with ISO/IEC's JPEG, and JPEG-2000 groups in image compression, as well as work done with MPEG in developing video compression standards such as H.264. ISO/IEC JTC1 SG 29 is the focal point in ISO/IEC JTC1 for image, video and audio compression standards.

The meeting surveyed the progress of technologies broached in the previous JPEG meeting, held in Lisbon in March 2005, including image security in JPEG-2000 which is being addressed by JPEG’s JPSEC ad hoc group. The group is developing a standard that will enable protected images to retain JPEG-2000 system features, such as scalability. This new feature within JPEG images will allow international distribution of digital images containing encrypted content, while still retaining the ability to adaptively deliver content for a wide variety of devices with varying display capabilities.

The meeting also followed up on JPEG’s Digital Cinema ad hoc group and its advances in developing profiles for JPEG-2000 digital cinema applications. The Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) organization has adopted JPEG-2000 for future distribution of digital movies to theatres. JPEG is working closely with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) to standardize aspects of this future architecture. 

The Video and Image Coding and Applications (VICA) workshop, 22-23 July 2005, which followed the ITU-T-hosted JPEG meeting, aimed to build upon the presence of JPEG and ITU-T SG 16 experts (who met July 26 - August 5 this year). The workshop reviewed existing video and image compression standards, their current applications, and future directions in the field. See related news for more details on the workshop. 

Monday, August 22, 2005 8:05:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, August 10, 2005

El Centro de Excelencia en América Latina , junto a otras entidades de la industria y del mundo académico, organiza el Postgrado en Tecnología de las Telecomunicaciones que será dictado en línea, a través del Centro de capacitación a distancia de la Unión Internacional de Telecomunicaciones (ITU eLearningCentre).

El fin de los Centros de Excelencia de la UIT es el de desarrollar y reforzar la capacidad de generar competencias, conocimientos y aprovechar la experiencia de los países para satisfacer las necesidades prioritarias en materia de capacitación y desarrollo del Talento Humano del más alto nivel del Sector de Telecomunicaciones de las Regiones.

El plazo de inscripción se ha extendido hasta el 11 de Agosto. Para más información sobre participación, programa, equipo docente y otros detalles véase Postgrado en Tecnología de las Telecomunicaciones

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 5:42:42 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Focus Group on next-generation networks (FGNGN) has recently completed a technical report that will hand back some elements of network management to the customer.

The document is an approved deliverable of the group that will be submitted to FGNGN’s parent within ITU-T, Study Group 13, for further consideration as a candidate ITU-T product (e.g. Recommendation, supplement, handbook, etc.). It outlines a framework for customer manageable IP networks (CMIP).

CMIP will give end users the ability to manage network elements and resources, such as bandwidth and storage.

Using a menu driven system CMIP will allow end-users to split bandwidth, dedicating, for instance, 1 Mbps to file sharing, .5 Mbps to instant messaging and e-mail, and .5 Mbps to web browsing.

Service providers will benefit by being able to offer this ability as value-add to their Internet service offerings, and will also be able to better provision network resources for services, such as web browsing, VoIP, and peer to peer (P2P), given the increased knowledge of exactly how users are using their bandwidth.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 10:05:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 08, 2005

The ITU together with World Standards Cooperation (WSC) partners ISO and IEC are acknowledged as “the most important” of the 49 international standardizing bodies in the World Trade Report 2005, just published by the WTO (the World Trade Organisation), in an analysis of “Trade, Standards and the WTO”.

The report underlines the important benefits that standards can deliver in terms of information for consumers, environmental protection and compatibility of related goods and services.

“International standards help ensure technical compatibility across countries and convey information to consumers about products that have been produced abroad or processes that took place in another country,” the report states, adding, “International standards thus reduce transaction costs and facilitate international trade.”

 

 

Friday, July 08, 2005 2:18:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU members are being asked to complete a questionnaire to assess the global impact of ICT standards. The call comes as part of a project (NO-REST) funded by the European Commission. 

NO-REST aims to provide insight that will enable better standards building in the future. Additionally, it will look at standards setting organizations, such as ITU, to assess whether the developer of a particular standard influences its performance and success. The results will enable NO-REST to develop guidelines, which may assist in choosing the ideal standards setting organization for producing a particular standard.

The results of this survey will be made available at the ITU-hosted SIIT 2005 conference in Geneva, September 21-23. 

Dr. Knut Blind, the co-ordinator of NO-REST, was also responsible for the study - Economic Benefits of Standardization, published by DIN, the German institute of standardization. The project was one of the first attempts to put a monetary value on standardization. It found that Europe's economy and businesses greatly benefit from the application of standards. Blind together with other researchers has recently produced a similar paper for the United Kingdom. The Empirical Economics of Standards was funded and published by the British Department of Trade and Industry.

 

Friday, July 08, 2005 2:15:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The advisory panel for standards cooperation on telecommunications related to motor vehicles (APSC TELEMOV) met recently in Geneva.

The meeting followed up on some of the recommendations of the recent ITU-T workshop The Fully Networked Car - a Workshop on ICT in Motor Vehicles. Specifically this involved the developing of an action plan and a number of agreements for participation in other events as well as increased cooperation with other players in the field.

According to Paul Najarian Director of Telecommunication and Standards, for the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America), the advisory panel has already seen much success in terms of enhancing cooperation between ITU, ISO, ETSI, and others.

Importantly, Najarian said the group is already witnessing close cooperation between ITU-T Study Group 12 and ISO/TC22 on vehicles in the area of HMI (human machine interface). This cooperation will lead to the submission of a study Question to SG12. Another study Question on eCall (emergency call notification) will be submitted to an ITU-T study group, although it has not been decided which one. 

Given the similarities between vehicular networks and home networks, the group has agreed to participate and provide speakers for the October 2005 workshop Opportunities and Challenges in Home Networking. It also expects to participate and provide speakers for the 2006 workshop on RFID. Additionally an advisory group representative will speak on ITS and multimedia at the upcoming ITU-T Study Group 16 meeting.

Participants have also agreed to cooperate with the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in order to develop a world report on ITS Standards.

 

 

Friday, July 08, 2005 2:06:03 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 01, 2005

The standardization sector of ITU (ITU-T), together with its development sector (ITU-D) are staging a seminar in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Standardization of the NGN and ICT Services Development, 5-7 July.

The event follows the invitation of the Communications and Information Agency of Uzbekistan which has also collaborated in the organization of the event.

The objectives of the seminar are to discuss the current trends, status and future evolution of next generation network (NGN) standards, as being addressed by the ITU-T. Central to this discussion will be to ask what areas of technology innovation hold the greatest promise for NGNs and what are the most innovative applications and services possible? Issues revolving around NGN architecture, NGN technology and quality of service requirements and evolutions will also be explored.

Friday, July 01, 2005 9:03:29 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 30, 2005

A call for presentations has been issued for the upcoming workshop, Mobile Communications & Fixed/Mobile Convergence - the realities going forward. The event is to be held in Kiev, Ukraine, 12 - 14 September 2005 and will look at the current status of fixed-mobile convergence and examine what the future holds.

There are now more mobile users than fixed users globally. In many countries, the ratio of mobile to fixed users is heavily in favour of mobile. This demographic shift requires an essential re-examination of the relationship between fixed and mobile networks. ‘Mobility’ plays a key role in the development of next generation networks (NGN).

It is anticipated that case studies illustrating examples of convergence from around the world will help to identify the needs and action plans for the region that this event is being held in.

Presentations should highlight ongoing work in ITU and elsewhere on mobile telecommunications networks, in particular the work on IMT-2000, fixed mobile convergence and guidelines on the transition of existing mobile networks to IMT-2000 / NGN.

The deadline to submit abstracts (maximum 400 words) and biographies (maximum 200 words) is 31 July 2005. Submissions may be sent via e-mail to: tsbworkshops@itu.int.

 

Thursday, June 30, 2005 8:48:40 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Two technical sessions were given at the last meeting of Study Group 5 in Geneva. Study Group 5 is the ITU-T group that looks at protection against electromagnetic environment effects. Technical sessions are tutorials on a specific subject that aim to provide background for the preparation of new standards (ITU-T Recommendations) on these topics.

The first session was on security, and was presented by William Radasky, Chairman of IEC SC 77C (high power transient phenomena). Radasky’s lectures dealt with electromagnetic threats such as high power electromagnetic phenomena and its effect on systems and mitigation methods. This will help SG5 prepare recommendations  to protect telecommunication systems against malicious man-made high power transient phenomena. Radasky also detailed IEC’s work which will help ITU-T experts avoid duplication of their work.

The second session was on home networking and was in collaboration with Study Group 9. The SG 9 contribution was in the areas of architecture, transport technology, security, quality of service and management of home networks. SG 5’s contributions were in the areas of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), electromagnetic security and electromagnetic emission issues in the home environment.

 

Wednesday, June 22, 2005 11:25:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 20, 2005

20-24 June, 2005, Grimstad, Norway

The SDL Forum is held every two years and has become the most important event in the calendar for anyone involved in system design languages and technologies. It is the primary conference event where the evolution of these languages is discussed. The SDL Forum Society that runs the Forum is a non-profit organisation established by language users and tool providers to promote and develop the set of modelling languages recommended by ITU (abstract syntax notation one (ASN.1), message sequence chart (MSC), specification and description language (SDL), extended object definition language (eODL), tree and tabular confined notation (TTCN) and user requirements notation (URN)).

There is a significant convergence between the languages specified by ITU-T and the set of unified modeling language (UML) notations offered by OMG (Object Management Group), which are usually covered in the ACM/IEEE
International Conferences on Model Driven Engineering Languages and Systems. To take this convergence into account, the scope of the SDL Forum conference has been extended to include the use of precise UML models, combining the strong areas of the ITU languages with the pragmatics of UML to produce profitable code and effective implementations.

The SDL Forum addresses topics related to the modelling and analysis of reactive systems, distributed systems such as telecommunications, automotive, aerospace and web-based applications. The intended audience includes users of modelling techniques (in industrial research and standardization contexts), tool vendors, and language researchers.

For more information about the conference and the ITU-T meeting, please see the web page at:
ikt.hia.no/sdl05 and http://www.itu.int/ITU-T/studygroups/com17/meetings.html, respectively.

 

Monday, June 20, 2005 8:20:14 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 17, 2005

In a first for ITU-T, reports from a recent meeting of the Study Group which looks at mobile telecommunication networks (Study Group 19) have been made publicly available on the web. Other SG 19 documents  have also been made available in the experiment and are identified by the words ‘public access’ in red type on the web site.

The trial which will last until the end of 2006, is a result of discussion at the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) and meetings of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG).  

The available reports cover the May 2005 meeting in Geneva and provide both an in-depth look at the week’s proceedings, and give insight into the workings of a typical ITU-T study group.

The meeting report highlights SG 19’s role in the work on NGN, and in particular outlines its work in the area of fixed-mobile convergence.

The aim of the trial is to give interested parties, such as students, analysts and journalists, as well as others interested in contributing to the work of ITU-T, and SG 19 in particular, access to documents that will enable them to better understand both the nature of the technical work and the standardization process.

It will still be necessary, because of commercial, legal and other sensitivities, that some documents are restricted to ITU-T-members-only access.

 

Friday, June 17, 2005 1:53:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 14, 2005

ITU-T is hosting a workshop on IPv6 organized in cooperation with the European Union’s IPv6 Task Force Steering Committee (IPv6 EU TF-SC) and the IPv6 Forum.

Taking place in Geneva, 22 - 23 June 2005, the event will examine the current status of IPv6, with regards to rollout, policy, technology and applications. An additional aim will be to promote awareness of IPv6 to countries where Internet use is relatively low. The workshop will also follow-up on recent comments sent to the Director of ITU-T’s secretariat, the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) on the management and distribution of IP addresses.

Presentations will come from key standards making organizations, policy advisers and the private sector.

Objectives

·          Review the current development of IPv6 network, technology and applications

·          Bring more awareness to developing countries on the development of IPv6

·          Further discuss comments sent to the Director of TSB concerning resource management policy

 

 

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 10:28:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 06, 2005

The Open Communications Architecture Forum (OCAF), a Focus Group operating under the auspices of the ITU-T,
has produced its first official publication. OCAF was created in May 2004 to accelerate the adoption of an ecosystem of open standards components in next generation networks (NGN). The mission of OCAF is to help service providers, equipment and software vendors address the complexity of moving to these new packet-based systems. Selected outputs of OCAF will be submitted for approval as ITU-T Recommendations.

The Carrier Grade Open Environment (CGOE) Reference Document – outlines a framework for the open interfaces and standards required to deploy solutions based on standardized commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components in NGNs. Available from the OCAF webpage, the CGOE Reference Document is intended for an audience that aims to integrate solutions containing components from multiple, different, COTS software and hardware vendors.
Typically this will include service providers, solution providers and technology providers.

The model is consistent with the concept that technology providers deliver components to solution providers who then subsequently provide solutions to service providers. OCAF members are already using the model to deploy NGN services and promote best-of-breed component reuse and interoperability in a multi vendor environment.

OCAF has also published a white paper, outlining its work. The white paper, also available from OCAF's webpage details the group's raison d'être as well as giving a detailed mission statement.


Monday, June 06, 2005 9:38:11 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU-T's Study Group 16 has made a public call for proposals on requirements for the multimedia applications that will run over next generation networks (NGN). The advent of the NGN creates an opportunity for a new - third - generation of multimedia telecommunication systems offering more integrated features, greater extensibility, and more flexible growth paths for the future.

Multimedia systems are expected to form the bulk of NGN services and so early attempts at defining them are crucial. SG16 will combine the results of the call with its experience gained in defining standards for the so-called first and second generation multimedia terminals and systems.

Once it has established what sort of services people think will emerge, SG16 can start the work on the standards to support them. The group's management team said that it is keen to get contributors to think 'out-of-the-box' beyond the usual and the obvious.

The Call for Proposals on Requirements for the third generation of ITU-T Multimedia Systems and Terminals can be found here.

Monday, June 06, 2005 8:59:56 AM (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)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 02, 2005

In the framework of its Technology Watch activities, ITU-T has recently published a technical paper on radio frequency identification (RFID) and opportunities for its use in mobile telecommunication services. RFID enables data to be transmitted by a tiny portable device, called a tag, which is read by an RFID reader and processed according to the needs of a particular application. It is only recently that the technology has begun to take off in the mass market. Analysts predict that RFID will revolutionize areas of industry, such as supply chain management and the retail business, for example by reducing costs with better stock management. The technical paper presents several ideas for applications of RFID technology in mobile telecommunication services as well as possible areas for standardization efforts. Apart from purely technical concepts, the challenging aspects of security and privacy are discussed. A PowerPoint presentation of the paper is also available.

ITU-T recently set up a correspondence group on RFID in the framework of its Technology Watch and a dedicated e-mail reflector on the matter for initiating studies on the technology. Additionally, ITU-T is to hold a workshop on RFID standardization issues in the first quarter of 2006.

Thursday, June 02, 2005 9:50:27 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

17 May – World Telecommunication Day will see the launch of a new ITU-T communications centre - The Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse will provide a user-friendly and alternative view of ITU-T, shedding light on activities, past, present and future by offering non-technical explanations of work areas, news, features and FAQs.

While the e-Flash will still be published monthly, to get a real up-to-date feel of the goings-on at ITU-T check The Lighthouse’s live news feed.

The news feed, using a system called RSS is divided into channels (NGN, QoS, multimedia etc.) that can be subscribed to individually. So, for example, if you are just interested in stories on NGN, subscribe to this channel and news will be delivered to your desktop as soon as it is published.

Additionally, The Lighthouse will carry weightier feature stories and technical papers. These articles will be written by TSB staff, commissioned from or submitted by industry experts (members and non-members), academics or ITU’s regional offices. If you are interested in submitting material for this purpose please contact standards@itu.int.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 11:18:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU members are increasingly signalling the interest of the telecommunications community in grid computing. The technology is under study by the Technology Watch within ITU-T. And following discussions between the Global Grid Forum (GGF) and ITU-T, a workshop on telecoms and grids is planned for 2006.

On behalf of GGF, Franco Travostino of Nortel gave a presentation at the recent Study Group 13 meeting in Geneva. In it he gave an introduction to the work of the forum, also explaining the basics of grids.

Travostino describes grid computing as a software platform for distributed participants to form a virtual organization, securely share resources, and engage in coordinated problem-solving activities.

There are a number of areas of interest for the telecoms industry. At a simple level, telcos could use grids internally, for billing and simulations for example. They could also offer grid managed services, or act as service brokers.

Travostino pointed out that the discussion on grids involves more than just how to provide bigger pipes. There are other issues that may be of interest to ITU-T, such as how to control the network, how to manage dynamic provisioning and how to provide collision-free addresses (IPv4 <-> NAT).

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 11:16:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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)  #     | 

In between the meetings of two lead technical groups working on image and video compression, ISO/IEC's JPEG and ITU-T's Study Group 16, ITU will host a workshop on Video and Image Coding and Applications (VICA) at ITU headquarters, Geneva, 22 to 23 July. 
Key experts will join users to review the development, assessment and application of video and image coding and to discuss and start work on an action plan and a roadmap for VICA standardization.

Presentations will instigate discussion on how standards work in the field, including how next generation networks (NGN) can support the development of so-called ubiquitous services - any device, anytime, anywhere. Current work on home network environments will also be taken into account.

Also at the event there will be an interoperability demonstration showing various products using related standards.

All interested parties are free to attend.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 11:03:09 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T will lend its support for a second time to an event on the topic of wideband speech quality in terminals and networks held by ETSI. The last event concluded that there is a lack of speech quality specifications and adequate tools for assessment and planning of wideband speech communication systems. This is a critical issue as wideband systems are to be one of the driving factors in next generation networks (NGN).

To be held 22-23 June, Mainz, Germany, this workshop will provide an overview of developments since last year's event, including the voice quality prediction tool or e-model designed by ITU-T experts (see previous e-Flash story). Additionally the event will examine in technical detail the general aspects of terminal testing and reference points for wideband terminals, and there will be discussion on the requirements for wideband applications that are specific to wireless and VoIP scenarios.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 11:00:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A draft ITU-T definition of the term 'open standards' has been developed by ITU-T's group of experts on intellectual property rights (IPR). 
It's deemed necessary to do this to avoid confusion given the various different interpretations of the term. This way when 'open standards' are referred to in discussion, it is clear exactly what is being talked about - at least in ITU-T.

The draft definition can be seen here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 10:40:23 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)  #     | 

More technical standards in support of telecommunications for disaster relief (TDR) and early warning (EW) should emerge following a decision by the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG). The decision to create an action plan addressing this topic was also influenced by the joint Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT)/ITU meeting on the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) for disaster reduction held in Bangkok, 28 February 2005.

TSAG encouraged all ITU-T study groups to increase related standardization activity and production of other materials such as handbooks.

ITU-T Recommendations already produced in the field include specifications that allow for preference to be given to emergency calls in a disaster situation. Additionally, ITU- T earlier established a Partnership Coordination Panel on Telecommunications for Disaster Relief (PCP TDR) that includes representatives of different ITU Study Groups, other standards developing organizations (SDOs), intergovernmental agencies and relief organizations, and aims at providing a channel to exchange views and experiences on TDR.

Monday, May 16, 2005 4:33:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

March’s meeting of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) agreed on the terms of reference for a new group to monitor academia, industry, research institutes and other SDOs to identify new subjects for study by ITU-T. 

To begin with the Technology Watch will use mainly electronic working methods to stimulate discussion, gather information and generate contributions for new work items.

One of the first topics that the group will examine are the network aspects of radio frequency identification (RFID). RFID is the much-touted system that enables data to be transmitted by a tiny portable device, called a tag, which is read by an RFID reader and processed according to the needs of a particular application. 

Grid Computing is another area that is being examined for future standardization needs. Grid computing offers a model for solving massive computational problems by making use of the unused resources of large numbers of disparate computers treated as a virtual cluster embedded in a distributed telecommunications infrastructure.

Monday, May 16, 2005 4:31:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

In response to ITU-T’s growing workshop programme the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) has established a Seminar Coordination Committee (SCC). This follows a strengthening of the secretariat team dealing with these events. 

ITU-T organizes a number of workshops and seminars to progress existing work areas and explore new ones. The events cover a wide array of topics in the field of information and communication technologies (ICT) and attract high-ranking experts as speakers, and attendees from engineers to high-level management from all industry sectors. 

The SCC is responsible for coordinating the development of ITU-T’s annual programme of seminars and workshops and providing guidelines for the organization and evaluation of these events. Among other things SCC will ensure that the needs of developing countries are taken into account, and that each event produces a report that covers lessons learned and recommended follow-up actions. 

The group will work closely with study group management and, where relevant, involve other ITU sectors.

Monday, May 16, 2005 3:42:28 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)  #     | 

Underlining the spirit of cooperation in the standardization world today, Brian Carpenter, newly-elected Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Chairman participated on behalf of his organization in the March meeting of the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG). 

Carpenter discussed liaison and cooperation issues between ITU-T and IETF with the TSAG group responsible for external cooperation. 

Speaking at the meeting Carpenter emphasised that he wanted to work with ITU-T to ensure fruitful cooperation while avoiding duplication of work.

Monday, May 16, 2005 3:31:51 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Following a meeting of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Ad Hoc Group ITU-T has issued guidelines on how ‘marks’ should be used in ITU-T Recommendations. The term ‘marks’ refers to trademarks, service marks and certification marks. The document will be available here

At the same meeting the General Patent Statement and Declaration Form was updated to reflect the changes made in July (see previous e-Flash story).

Monday, May 16, 2005 3:23:56 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T’s strong commitment to the Asia-Pacific region was underlined at a recent meeting, the Ninth Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Standardization Program Forum (ASTAP-9), Bangkok, 29 March - 1 April. 

Visiting ITU-T representatives gave an overview of recent activities including the results and future implications of last October’s World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) and the last Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) meeting. TSAG Chairman, Gary Fishman also expressed gratitude for APT’s work, noting the impact of ASTAP’s contributions to ITU-T before and since the WTSA. 

Participants from some 23 Asia-Pacific countries representing industry, administrations, universities, research centres, regulators and operating companies were joined by Paolo Rosa of ITU-T’s secretariat, the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), and Fishman.

In other regional news, the Arab and Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO) recently celebrated Arab Standards Day, 25 March. In his message on the day Director Mr Talaat Al Dafir encouraged all workers in Arab standardization bodies and enterprises to mobilize their efforts in all fields of standardization. World Standards Day is celebrated on October 14 every year. 

Monday, May 16, 2005 3:20:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Version two of the publication that aims to help new members acquaint themselves with the working practices and practicalities of ITU-T is available. 

The updated Guide for Beginners gives details on the structure of ITU as well as some background history. But its raison d’etre is to give participants in the study programme of ITU-T a signposted plan for involvement. So there are details on rules, how study groups are made-up, how Recommendations are approved, electronic working methods, how to join and what to expect at a meeting, among many other things. 

An electronic version of the guide is available here, in English, translations into other languages will be available later in the year. A handy printed copy is available on request.

Monday, May 16, 2005 3:15:44 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 12, 2005

TSB Director, Houlin Zhao is to address the latest meeting of the Service and Network Operations Group (SNOg) in a pre-recorded video. The meeting is to take place in Melbourne, Australia, 14 February and is hosted by Telstra.

The TSB head sent his apologies for not being able to attend the event in person, and thanked SNOg for its contribution to ITU-T's work, also congratulating the group on reaching its silver jubilee.

SNOg aims to make sure that the operations staff - often at the frontline of any telecommunication service provider - needs are taken into account in the development of standards.

Michael Lawrey, Head of Network Services, Telstra, a keynote speaker at the event described emerging technologies as changing the way networks operate. "Our upcoming meeting will provide us with an opportunity to hear the challenges we face as experts of network operators as well as presenting a great opportunity for all attending delegates to nut out the implementation of network and service management activities.

"The challenges for us are many and come in the form of network convergence, integration of processes, new tool sets required to understand the customer experience, and most importantly, the shift in our mindset from managing technology to managing customer services and their experiences."

For further information on SNOg please contact Morris Flory.

Thursday, May 12, 2005 7:24:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 06, 2005

Geneva, 21 April 2005 - ITU will hold a workshop on next generation networks (NGN) together with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), 1 - 2 May, 2005, Geneva.

Since May 2004 intense work has taken place in ITU, towards the development of standards that will define services, network and systems architecture in the next generation of IP enabled communication systems, or next generation networks (NGN).

The objectives of the workshop are to report the progress of ITU's work on NGN and explore specific issues that impact both the ITU and the IETF in order to better understand the work underway in the two organizations and to identify areas where action can be taken to make further progress.

[more...]

Friday, May 06, 2005 10:39:22 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 05, 2005

ITU to Host Workshop on Information and Communication Technologies in Vehicles

Geneva, 8 February 2005 ? ITU and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are partnering with one of the world's largest automobile events ? the Geneva International Motor Show ? to host a workshop 2-4 March, focusing on the synergy between the information and communication technologies (ICT) and the automotive sector.

[more...]

Thursday, May 05, 2005 1:24:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |