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 Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007 9:59:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 17, 2007
 Monday, November 26, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 23, 2007 2:16:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 19, 2007

Do you remember your last video conference? Blurry faces on tiny screens, with sound that doesn’t quite synchronize with the stilted movement of the lips. After the laborious setup of cameras and microphones, you seem to spend more time worrying about technical problems than talking about the topic at hand, with repeated loss of connection. As frustration grows, and attention wanders, it is difficult to avoid the feeling that you should have arranged a face-to-face meeting instead.

 

A new set of technologies – referred to as Telepresence – will give users the illusion of sitting on the opposite side of the remote party’s conference table. High-definition (HD) video images and audio are transmitted via packed-based Next-Generation Networks (NGN), connecting conference rooms around the world, and covering distances of thousands of miles with zero latency. While the network infrastructure remains transparent to the user, vendors equip conference rooms with high-end displays, cameras, loudspeakers and furniture to enhance the conferencing experience. Telepresence-systems are already available on the market, and involved companies go as far as identifying the technology as a potential billion dollar market, for solution vendors as well as for network service providers (NSP).

 

A new ITU-T Briefing Report on Telepresence has been released as part of the Technology Watch function, which evaluates the market potential and different fields of application of Telepresence solutions in both, developed and developing countries. The report notes the standardization work currently going on in ITU, including the consideration of migrating currently used multimedia protocols, such as H.323 and SIP into a new generation of multimedia protocols, called H.325 or Advanced Multimedia Systems (AMS), that takes into consideration special aspects of security, flexibility, QoS, and support for mobile devices. This report is the second of a new series of Technology Watch Briefing Reports looking at emerging new technologies.

Monday, November 19, 2007 11:23:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, November 16, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, November 16, 2007 2:55:21 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 12, 2007

A standard that allows a warning message to be consistently disseminated simultaneously over different systems and applications has been approved as an ITU-T Recommendation.

The Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) v.1.1 developed by OASIS was the basis for the text that will be published as an ITU-T Recommendation following approval on 12 September. Publication as an ITU-T Recommendation (X.1303) will help ensure that CAP is deployed worldwide giving technical compatibility for users across all countries. The goal of public warning is to reduce the damage and loss of life caused by a natural or man-made hazard event.

CAP is a simple, lightweight XML-based schema that provides a general-purpose format for the exchange of emergency alerts for safety, security, fire, health, earthquake and other events over any network. CAP associates emergency event data (such as public warning statements, photographs, sensor data or URIs) with basic metadata such as time, source and level of urgency, and with geographic locations. The original V.1.1 specification was enlarged by a binary ASN.1 specification of the CAP messages that will enable the transport of CAP messages to VoIP terminals using H.323 among other systems. Experts say the use of ASN.1 significantly reduces the size of the message and therefore the potential for network congestion. OASIS Emergency Management Technical Committee has also adopted the same extension.

CAP is successfully in use by a number of public emergency services and land management agencies today, and works with a wide variety of devices and messaging methods.

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Monday, November 12, 2007 9:15:12 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 23, 2007
ITU-T's work on specifications that will enhance communications in vehicles will expand to development of requirements and testing methodologies for wideband communications in cars.

The news reflects the increased attention being given by ITU-T to wideband audio and other codec-related quality issues, especially regarding their subjective testing, such as for superwideband and fullband.

Work has progressed over a number of meetings, since the beginning of 2007, of the Focus Group From/In/To Car Communication on draft Recommendation - P.Carhft - under development by ITU-T's Study Group 12. The Focus Group concept allows for non-members, in this case the auto industry to participate. While first concentrating on narrowband speech (3.4kHz), the group working under new banner - FitCarCom - will move into better quality - wideband (8kHz).

Participating companies include Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, DaimlerChrysler, France Telecom, Harman/Becker, Head Acoustics, Mitsubishi, Nortel and Volkswagen. The first meeting of the group is expected to be March or April, 2008.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007 10:23:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, October 16, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

The publicly available deliverables are:

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

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

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

Imagine a future in which cars will be able to foresee and avoid collisions, navigate the quickest route to their destination, making use of up-to-the-minute traffic reports, identify the nearest available parking slot and minimize their carbon emissions. Indeed, imagine a future where cars can largely drive themselves, leaving their passengers to use the free time to watch the sports game on live TV.

All of these possibilities already exist within the laboratories of car manufacturers and some are already available commercially. But they rely on communications links that must be increasingly high-capacity and long range to deal with the full range of requirements of future transport users. The generic technology they use is called Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). The requirement for future standards in the ITS field is to be able to provide multiple services, over multiple different platforms, that will work in different countries (as vehicles can easily cross borders), while maintaining a simple-to-use interface that requires minimum intervention from the driver.

This, then, is the rationale behind an ongoing effort, launched by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) in 2003, under the auspices of Working Group 16 of ISO Technical Committee 204, and promoted by the more recently created industry association - The CALM Forum - to develop a new family of ITS standards with the overall branding of Continuous Air-interface, Long and Medium range (CALM).

A new ITU-T Briefing Report on CALM has been released as part of the Technology Watch function, which evaluates its potential as a new area for ITU standardization work (for instance, integrated with Next-Generation Networks) and its likely implications for developing countries. The report notes the work currently going on in ITU on ITS, including the forthcoming Fully Networked Car III workshop, to be held on 3-5 March 2008 in Geneva. It is planned that this will be the first of a series of new Briefing Reports looking at emerging new technologies.

Technology Watch report on CALM.pdf (165.36 KB)

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007 3:41:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Experts from the standardization sector of ITU (ITU-T) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) have agreed to recommend progression of Transport-MPLS (T-MPLS) standards work in a way that ensures compatibility, consistency, and coherence of MPLS technology when used in transport networks. The recommended approach, which recognizes and leverages ITU-T and IETF design expertise and authority, is expected to resolve concerns raised regarding usage of common Ethertypes for IETF MPLS and T-MPLS when running over an Ethernet backbone. Broader review and approval of the proposal by the two standards bodies is expected in the coming months.

The experts proposed in a joint statement that "The IETF and ITU-T will work in close collaboration on T-MPLS" and that "a joint working team of experts from the IETF and ITU-T be established to propose how to progress the various aspects of the requirements, solutions, and architecture for the T-MPLS work." The initial goal of the working team will be to examine T-MPLS work, and foster "an agreement on leadership roles and the modifications necessary to develop an architecture that it is compatible, coherent and consistent between both transport and IETF MPLS technologies."

Yoichi Maeda, Chairman of ITU-T's Study Group 15, home of the T-MPLS work said: "This type of agreement is a characteristic of the spirit of cooperation that exists between ITU-T and IETF. Both organizations understand that in order to meet the needs of industry it's imperative to quickly resolve differences and avoid duplication of work."

"Future work," the proposal states, "will be progressed by first analyzing the requirements and desired functionality." Since T-MPLS utilizes MPLS functionality extensively, the experts recommend that, "The IETF Standards Process will be used for extensions or modifications of IETF MPLS Technology." It was clearly noted that there are aspects of the problem space that lie outside the domain of expertise in the IETF or straddle both organizations, e.g., management of transport equipment, and some aspects of OAM and survivability. The working team will be tasked to help identify which of these aspects are best standardized in IETF RFCs and which in ITU-T Recommendations.

T-MPLS has been under development for three years in ITU-T with four specifications published, including an architecture document, a network-to-network interface (NNI), an equipment specification and a protection switching document. T-MPLS draws extensively on IETF MPLS, a foundation of more than 50 RFCs published by the IETF MPLS and PWE3 Working Groups over the last eight years.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007 9:53:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 08, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A call for abstracts has been issued for ITU, ISO and IEC’s now regular event focusing on information and communication technologies (ICT) in motor vehicles.

For the third year running The Fully Networked Car is being organized by ITU, ISO and IEC, working together as the World Standards Cooperation (WSC). Taking place at one of the world’s leading automotive events, the Geneva International Motor Show, the event will comprise a workshop with demonstrations and will take place between 5 and 7 March 2008.

Authors wishing to present papers should submit a half-page abstract, including the title of the paper and the author’s full name, short biography, address, telephone and e-mail, to tsbcar@itu.int by Friday, 16 November 2007. A new topic area for 2008 is ICT and the environment, suggestions for other topics can be found on the event's webpage.

This year’s event will feature a keynote speech from Max Mosley, president of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) which is also the organizer of the Formula One World Championship).

Monday, October 01, 2007 11:13:00 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 27, 2007

A group of young African researchers presented their project MalariaControl during the Global Forum on Youth and ICT for Development (Geneva 24-26 September 2007), co-hosted by the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID) and ITU.

MalariaControl, is a partnership comprising the Swiss Tropical Institute, the University of Geneva, the European Organization for Nuclear Research and the NGOs International Conference Volunteers and Informaticiens sans Frontières. Using Volunteer Computing (VC) it develops simulation models of transmission dynamics and health effects of malaria. The models represent an important tool for malaria control - optimal strategies for new vaccines or chemotherapy can be determined.

VC is used because the simulation of the full range of transmission patterns relevant for malaria control is complex and extremely computer intensive. The approach was popularised in 1999 with the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence: SETI@home.

The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) plays a key role in reaching Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs were agreed at the Millennium Summit (New York, 6-8 September 2000), where 192 United Nations Member States and all the world’s leading development institutions agreed to try to achieve the - eight - goals by the target date of 2015. The goals range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education.

In VC, a type of distributed computing, software clients installed on privately owned computers around the world perform calculations to progress in complex research fields. Home computers are idle most of the time. Owners donate their computer's idle CPU time, memory and network connection for distributed research. VC contains aspects of Grid Computing, see the three point checklist by scientist Ian Foster (PDF).

The open-source software client for VC, called BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing), can be downloaded for various computer platforms.

VC has also been discussed as a tool to carry out research on environmental phenomena and disaster prevention.

Thursday, September 27, 2007 10:30:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Optical Expo is a Light Reading event 2-3 October in Dallas.

Under the session heading The Drive to 100-GigE, Steve Trowbridge, Vice Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 15, will provide the latest updates on ITU standardization efforts as the industry moves to 40 Gbit/s and ultimately 100-GigE.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 4:59:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, September 20, 2007

ITU hosted a Workshop on Multimedia in Next Generation Networks (NGN), 10-11 September 2007, to discuss future multimedia services and applications. Among many presentations, Peer-to-peer (P2P) telecom solutions, by Ning Zong, research engineer at Huawei Technologies (China), considered the use P2P technology in the field of person-to-person communications.

It is only recently with the increased popularity of video sharing that P2P traffic has lost premier position in Internet use statistics to HTTP – web – traffic. Traffic generated by P2P applications now accounts for 37 per cent of Internet traffic.

Perhaps best known as the technology which enabled music file sharing, P2P technology can also enable applications such as video or voice over IP. The technology is deployed by Skype, which claims some 198 million registered users worldwide.

In contrast to the traditional centralized client-server approach, which requires a high level of investment in servers and bandwidth, P2P networks exploit connectivity between the individual participants of a network. Users (peers) virtually deploy their own network, and this can assist with scalability and roll out in developing countries.

One example of an application that exploits the potential of P2P to establish so-called ad hoc networks includes the One Laptop Per Child initiative which was launched during the Tunis Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in November 2005. Another example comes from the Swedish company TerraNet, which has the vision of using real-time P2P technology to provide mobile communication without a regular mobile network by modifying users’ handsets to become base station antennae. TerraNet has launched field tests in Tanzania and Ecuador This model of deployment could represent an important advantage of P2P enabled VoIP over mobiles – especially in developing countries, where cost savings are a major drive for deploying NGN.

Thursday, September 20, 2007 10:39:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, September 07, 2007

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 07, 2007 8:40:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) will host the results of an interoperability demonstration at ECOC 2007, Berlin, Germany. The event will show how a suite of ITU-T standards enable on-demand Ethernet services.

Seven global telecommunication carriers taking part will provide test facilities, engineering staff and network connectivity.

The demonstration will highlight dynamic Ethernet services over multiple, control plane-enabled intelligent optical core networks, including:
- Ethernet Private Line service
- Non-disruptive bandwidth modification
- Graceful recovery from control plane or signaling network failures

See the OIF’s press release.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 8:39:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A prize fund totaling $10,000 has been kindly donated by Cisco to be awarded to the three best papers submitted to the upcoming Innovations in Next Generation Networks event to be held in May 2008.

The fund is announced in a third call for papers which has been issued to attract contributions towards a kaleidoscopic view of communication habits for the future.

The call for papers has also been updated to announce the availability of an online submission tool.

Cisco’s prize fund will be split into three: First prize, $5,000, second $3,000 and third $2,000. Innovations in Next Generation Networks is organized by ITU-T with IEEE Communications Society as Technical Co-Sponsor.

Those wanting to submit papers are asked to consider questions such as what services will emerge in NGN, how NGN will affect the marketplace for ICT, and how society will be affected. The event is the first in a series, under the banner “Kaleidoscope Conferences”. The events will increase the dialogue between academia and experts working on the standardization of information and communications technologies (ICT).

Deadline for the call for papers is 15 October 2007.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007 8:28:31 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, August 27, 2007

IEEE Communications Society has been announced as Technical Co-Sponsor of the International Telecommunication Union’s upcoming Innovations in Next Generation Networks event to be held in Geneva, Switzerland May 2008. The partnership means that IEEE Communications Society will encourage members to respond to a call for papers issued by ITU.

The call for papers is to inspire contributions towards a kaleidoscopic view of communication habits for the future. We know what NGN is in terms of the underlying technology, but we don’t know what services will emerge, how NGN will affect the marketplace for ICT, and how society will be affected. Innovations in NGN is the first in a series of events, under the banner “Kaleidoscope Conferences”, that aims at increasing the dialogue between academia and experts working on the standardization of information and communications technologies (ICT).

By viewing technologies through a kaleidoscope, these forward looking conferences will also seek to identify new topics for standardization. Innovations in NGN will bring together visionary ideas on the future of NGN. It will highlight technologies, services and applications five years and beyond that will capitalize on the NGN infrastructure and lead to the ubiquitous network society in which information can be accessed anywhere and anytime by anyone and anything. The event will also cover multidisciplinary aspects related to the deployment of NGN, including analysis of regulatory and societal challenges.

Monday, August 27, 2007 4:35:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The latest version of Adobe Systems' popular Flash Player technology will support the ITU-T H.264 codec video compression standard now available in Blu-ray systems, HD-DVD players, and TV set-top boxes. See story InfoWorld story here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 1:37:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 19, 2007

ITU-T’s multimedia Study Group 16 met in Geneva, July, with over twenty standards entering the final stage of ITU-T’s approval process. The ITU secretariat says that the meeting saw record numbers of participants and contributions. Work on the use of tag-based identification (including RFID) for multimedia in particular saw great interest and progress.


Key achievements of the meeting include the setting up of new Questions – ITU-T’s term for work area - to advance work on the third generation multimedia system that will replace the currently used H.323 and SIP multimedia protocols and a second Question on multimedia application platforms and end systems for IPTV. See separate stories – Third gen multimedia system work accelerates and Question on multimedia application platforms and end systems for IPTV.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 3:45:38 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new Question – ITU-T’s term for work area - to advance work on the third generation multimedia system that will eventually replace the currently used H.323 will start work pending formal approval at the next meeting of Study Group 16.

H.323 is the ITU standard for interoperability in audio, video and data transmissions over IP. It is the most widely used voice over IP (VoIP) communication protocol worldwide. It is estimated that systems using H.323 carry billions of voice minutes each month. The rollout of the next generation network (NGN) will bring with it in a new era of multimedia communications and with it the need for a new protocol.

In the mid-1990s, the ITU began work on H.323, which quickly became the dominant protocol for LAN-based videoconferencing, as well as a protocol used for transporting voice calls around the world. H.323 was developed in parallel with the Internet Engineering Task Force’s (IETF) Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), and was effective in facilitating a migration from circuit-switched networks to packet-switched networks. Sharing similar capabilities and similar design philosophies and being produced in the same time period, H.323 and SIP are classified as second generation systems.

Now, more than 11 years since the introduction of second generation systems, ITU-T SG 16 is again looking toward the future of multimedia systems as the ITU-T also undertakes a study to introduce the next generation network (NGN). The NGN holds the promise of revolutionizing communication as we know it and multimedia will be an important part of any new network technology.

Work on the third generation multimedia system will entail the creation of multiple new ITU-T Recommendations that will specify system architecture, system components, and one or more protocols at the service and application layer. The primary objective is to deliver a new advanced multimedia system that operates on NGN, taking advantage of its features, and will also operate on non-NGN packet-switched networks.

This Question will examine technologies such as various IP technologies, wireless technologies, and distributed computing capabilities in order to realize a system that will enable users to communicate using, as examples, voice and audio, video, electronic whiteboard, application sharing, real-time text, and file transfer across one or more communicating devices (e.g. smart phones, TV set-top boxes, game consoles, handheld game/entertainment machines, digital cameras and Internet “appliances”).

Unlike previous generation systems, this new system will enable independent application developers to create system components that are able to seamlessly interface with the system in order to deliver any one or more of the aforementioned modes of communication. There is a strong desire to move away from the “monolithic applications” that were distinctive of second generation systems, to a system that enables components to “plug in” to the system, either locally or remotely using various wired or wireless technologies, to deliver an enhanced user experience. To meet that objective, this Question will study the various interfaces between these components and the technologies that might be used to tie them together.

The study includes among other subjects:

• Downloadable codecs

• System decomposition

• Discovery of services

• Support for transcoding functionality (e.g. text to speech)

• Dynamic device discovery

• Application plug in

• Consideration of various business models

• Integrated QoS, security and mobility functionality

Experts have set deadlines for the Identification of Requirements - Q1/2008, and basic architecture - Q1/2009.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 3:41:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new Question – ITU-T’s term for work area – on multimedia application platforms and end systems for IPTV will start work pending formal approval at the next meeting of Study Group 16.

Experts say that with the surge of multimedia services such as video streaming and the desire to offer IPTV services, the market is in serious need of standardized interoperable solutions, especially at the multimedia applications layer. Interoperability will provide benefit for all the players in the value-chain, especially at the multimedia applications layer, and encourage growth of this market.

This Question is intended to produce deliverables related to study IPTV platforms, including, but not restricted to middleware, applications, content formats and their uses, which will facilitate effective and interoperable use of the IPTV systems. The Question will be the recipient of a number of documents from the IPTV Focus Group and it will assimilate these into its work program with the intention of generating a number of standards (ITU-T Recommendations).

Thursday, July 19, 2007 3:35:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 10, 2007

At the June 2007 meeting of ITU-T SG15, a Recommendation that helps to future proof gigabit capable passive optical networks (G-PON) was consented.

The Recommendation, G.984.5, defines wavelength ranges which are reserved for additional service signals to be overlaid via wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) in future gigabit capable passive optical networks (G-PON). The Recommendation also specifies the wavelength blocking filters to be implemented in optical network terminations (ONT). These filters, together with the use of the specified wavelength ranges, will enable network operators to upgrade G-PON systems without a break in service to their customers.’

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 3:50:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

At the June 2007 meeting of ITU-T SG15, work continued on a draft new Recommendation to develop a single international standard for home networking transceivers using any metallic media in the home – phoneline wiring, data cable (e.g. CAT5), coaxial cable or powerline wiring.

Household connectivity is growing rapidly with more and more electronic devices and networks within the home distributing and using digital information and media. In addition, remote control of lighting, heating, appliance-use and security systems attached to the home are making the "digital home" a reality.

International standards that enable interoperability and security in the field of home networking are seen as key to bringing value and versatility to consumers, making possible the use of diverse products, services and sources, and therefore accelerating market development.

Work in ITU-T is coordinated by the Joint Coordination Activity on Home Networking (JCA-HN). Topics covered across the 13 different Study Groups of ITU-T include digital rights management (DRM), phone-line networking (including co-ax), IPTV, interactive video, set top box architecture and cable modems.

The work on ITU-T Rec - G.hn - next generation home networking transceivers - has now attracted a critical mass of contributors/participants with nine companies submitting 20 contributions on various topics. It is anticipated that G.hn will be completed in 2008.

Also at the June 2007 meeting of ITU-T SG15, it was agreed to start work on a draft new Recommendation G.hnta on home network transport architecture. The Rec will give a generic architecture based on the NGN functional architecture described in Recommendation Y.2012 “Next Generation Networks – Frameworks and functional architecture models” It will describe a platform for the development of future home network standards. The draft Recommendation G.hnta is complementary to draft Recommendation H.ghna currently under development by SG16.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 3:48:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 02, 2007

A second standard in a new group of Recommendations from ITU-T's Study Group 15 extends the distance at which multi-vendor DWDM systems can be deployed from 80 to four or five hundred kilometres.

The first standard in the series gave network operators the ability to deploy multi-vendor dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) systems in a metro environment. The new Recommendation extends this to cover regional environments by taking into account the use of optical amplifiers and their potential to create 'optical noise'.

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 and uses optical amplification to increase transmission distances as well as optical add/drop multiplexers to increase the flexibility of the network. 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.

The Recommendation defines values for single-channel optical interface parameters of physical point-to-point and ring DWDM applications on single-mode optical fibres through the use of the "black-link" approach. The black-links covered by this follow-on Recommendation may contain optical amplifiers.

The transport network of most operators is based on the use of equipment from a variety of different vendors. Previously, for those parts of the network involving DWDM optical transmission, this has been achieved via the use of optical transponders which convert the single channel interfaces like those defined in ITU-T Recs G.957 G.691, G.693, G.959.1 into DWDM wavelengths suitable for the particular vendor’s proprietary system. With the optical interfaces standardized in new G.698.2 operators can directly connect a wide variety of equipment to the DWDM line system without the need for those additional short reach transmitter and receiver pair per channel (eliminating the transponders) with obvious associated cost savings.

Monday, July 02, 2007 8:36:16 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 18, 2007

Another step towards all optical networks (AON) has been achieved with the consent of the new Recommendation G.680 by ITU-T's Study Group 15.

The Recommendation will allow operators to take optical add/drop multiplexers (OADMs) and photonic cross-connects (PXCs) from different vendors and integrate them in to an all optical network without having to add expensive optical/electrical/optical conversion (O/E/Os).

This achievement is made possible as the Rec gives operators a way to evaluate the end-to-end quality of a signal where photonic cross-connects (PXC) and optical add/drop multiplexers (OADMs) are deployed. In addition, experts say that the evolution towards an AON could significantly reduce costs for operators by reducing the need for costly optical/electrical/electrical (O/E/O) conversion. As optical transport networks (OTN) evolve, the number of - expensive - O/E/O conversions within their boundaries is coming down.

The two main reasons for the reduction in the number of O/E/O conversions are that DWDM systems are becoming capable of carrying light signals for thousands of kilometers without electrical regeneration and that PXCs and OADMs are becoming available with the capacity, space requirements, power consumption, reliability and cost, suitable for their use in the telecommunication networks. With this evolution experts predict that AONs could extend to all potential routes of the backbone network of a medium size country - optical paths up to around 2,000 km.

The Recommendation defines a "degradation function" of optical network elements (ONEs) such as photonic cross connects (PXCs), optical add-drop multiplexers (OADMs), etc. making up an optical network. It enables the degradation of the signal quality in an all-optical network consisting of ONEs including DWDM line segments to be assessed.

Monday, June 18, 2007 9:14:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

An upgrade to a widely used specification for fibre optic cables will allow the simpler deployment of Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) in FTTH applications up to 500 m link distance. The original Recommendation ITU-T Rec G.651 provided specifications for multimode fibre which is currently widely deployed for data communications, but not for telecoms.

The work was initiated given two observations; the cost disparity between telecom and data networks, where high speed GbE telecom equipment is often far more expensive than datacom equipment; and the economics of rolling out FTTH into multi-tenant (apartment) buildings where there is a high subscriber density. Ethernet is increasingly seen as an end-to-end technology.

Similar to recently published Rec G.657 on single mode fibre, Recommendation G.651.1 allows for increased cable flexibility. This increased flexibility in a fibre optic cable means that operators can follow tighter corners in buildings and can worry less if cables / fibres are laid with a sharp bend. This all makes installation work more engineer friendly leading also to less re-work. Moreover the closures for fibres can be half the size, important where space is at a premium especially in multi-tenant buildings.

G.651.1 retains many of the key characteristics of its well known predecessor. However manufacturing tolerances and transmission characteristics have been improved significantly. In addition, it has been harmonized fully with relevant IEC standards.

Monday, June 18, 2007 9:10:50 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 11, 2007

Study Group 13 the lead for NGN in ITU met in April reached final ‘approval’ stage on two Recommendations and consented a number of others, as well as starting discussions on some new work areas. SG13 met concurrently with SGs 19 and 11 as part of the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN GSI).

Among inputs to a special ‘futures’ brainstorming session at the meeting were proposals on Mobile IPTV standardization and a “Future Vision beyond NGN”. Mobile IPTV is described as IPTV to mobile and wireless networks. There was discussion on a possible standard that would be neutral in terms of the wireless technology and would cover architecture for NGN, authentication for user mobility and seamless connectivity for mobility, security, and signaling for scalable delivery of content.

The paper “Future Vision beyond NGN” proposed that the future beyond NGN is next generation ubiquitous networking. Study areas for ITU-T and particularly Study Group 13 could be media, identity and so-called ABC (for accounting, billing and charging) processing; open service environment, service and transport control; extending QoS capabilities for bandwidth, security, mobility, personalization and media; supporting a variety of NGN applications including fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), networked IDs, ubiquitous sensor networks (USN), home networking, IPTV etc. The paper also proposed that this work should be more closely linked with protocol development.

Another important document given the first stage approval known as consent defines the service requirements, service features, service architecture, and implementation scenarios of IMS based real-time conversational multimedia services. These include PSTN/ISDN simulation services. When these real-time conversational multimedia services are provided by using an IMS-based service environment, the implementations will use SIP protocol between the Service Support Functions and the Service Control Functions [ITU-T Y.2012] [ITU-T Y.2021]. IMS based NGNs which meet these service requirements will be capable of supporting real-time conversational multimedia services with new service features as well as allowing for new implementation scenarios.

Also consented were documents charting OAM requirements for T-MPLS based networks and QoS control architecture for Ethernet-based IP access networks.

Study Group 19 meeting at the same time consented a document outlining the general requirements for fixed-mobile convergence – a key application in NGN.

Monday, June 11, 2007 5:38:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, June 07, 2007
Press release here.

Thursday, June 07, 2007 10:42:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, June 04, 2007

ITU-T is establishing an ''Expert Group'' which will review the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs). 

The ITRs are an international treaty whose purpose is to promote the development of telecommunication services and their most efficient operation while harmonizing the development of facilities for worldwide telecommunications.

The ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) was requested by the Plenipotentiary Conference of 2006 to start the review process of the ITRs, which was last updated in 1988. The review is considered appropriate in light of the changing ICT environment characterized by convergence of telecoms, IT, broadcast as well as other industry sectors and also the liberalization of telecoms markets.

The Expert Group will examine the existing ITRs. The output of the ITU-T review will feed into a World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT) scheduled for 2012. A different process, the World Telecommunication Policy Form (WTPF), will consider emerging telecommunications policy and regulatory issues with respect to international telecommunication networks and services.

The first meeting of the Expert Group will be held in Geneva, 10-11 October 2007. Information relating to the expert group will be available on the ITU-T website here . Information on the WTPF is available on the ITU-T website here.

Monday, June 04, 2007 2:52:08 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, May 31, 2007

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

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

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

Thursday, May 31, 2007 2:45:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Recognizing that satellite systems could be an important part of emerging Next Generation Networks (NGN), an ITU-T Workshop entitled “Satellites in the NGN?” will take place 13 July 2007 in Montreal, Canada. Following the workshop, the third meeting of the Intersector Coordination Group on Satellite Matters (ICG SAT) will take place.

The objectives of the workshop, hosted by ATIS, include examination of the role of satellite systems in NGN, and development of a perspective on current and future NGN standards. Participation is open to all interested parties.

Sessions will give an overview of NGN, examine QoS and QoE (E for experience), IPTV and mobility support, network management and requirements for disaster relief.

The role of the ICG SAT is to monitor and coordinate the work programmes of the relevant Study Groups in ITU-R and ITU-T in relation to the use of satellites. It aims also to draw the attention of the relevant Study Groups to emerging technologies and perform gap analysis to identify new work areas.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 1:57:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The group that looks at outside plant and related indoor installations in ITU-T, Study Group 6, met in Geneva during May. Five new standards (ITU-T Recommendations) will be published as a result. Delegates also looked into a possible restructuring of the group that can be presented to ITU-T's quadrennial World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) to take place in the last quarter of 2008.

In addition, the meeting saw the presentation of the first draft of a guide for developing countries on how to implement its standards. The guide, drawing on the work of the world's key experts in the field, will become an invaluable resource for service providers in developing and, in particular least developed countries. Completion of the first edition is expected for November this year.

As well as the traditional technical discussions within the working groups, a technical tutorial session was held on fibre to the home (FTTH) experiences in China, Spain, US, and Italy. Experts say that this is important for delegates to SG 6 given the fact that FTTH deployments will mean more sophisticated equipment needs to be provisioned outside the central office. A common observation was that the right solutions, in particular for the implementation of the optical fibre infrastructure, need to be cost effective not only in themselves, but in a global view, taking into account the entire product lifecycle, including installation and, above all, maintenance issues.

One new Recommendation reached the final stage of ITU-T approval. ITU-T's L-series Recommendations have long been a reference for owners of optical fibres. The new ITU-T Rec. L.66 gives maintenance criteria for in-service optical cable testing in the outside plant without disrupting normal network operation.

Two Recommendations achieving the first stage of approval - known as Consent - detail safety in high-power optical cables and protection of active electronics in outside plant. Also new in a series of Recommendations for the management of network elements in the outside plant is a document detailing the requirements for personal digital assistants (PDAs) as tools for inventory management. Finally, the Recommendation that defines the marking of optical cables used in shallow water , known as marinized terrestrial cables, has been brought up-to-date given the today's more widespread deployment of fibre.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 12:57:25 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 18, 2007

NXTComm, June 18-21, Chicago will see ITU-T members, and guests stage an interoperability showcase for fibre to the premises (FTTP) related standards.

ITU, together with Telcordia, have collaborated to organize a multi-company interoperability demonstration featuring gigabit passive optical network (G-PON) equipment built according to the ITU-T G.984 Recommendation. PON technology is used in the local loop environment to cost effectively connect residential and Small and medium enterprises (SME) end users premises in an all-fibre network.

The G-PON Pavilion features live demonstrations of G-PON equipment interoperability; with interoperability being a critical enabler to reducing G-PON equipment costs. Triple-play interoperability demonstrations are provided by the following device and equipment manufactures: Alphion, Cambridge Industries Group, Hitachi, Huawei, iamba Networks, LS Cable, PMC-Sierra, Tellabs, Terawave Communications, TXP Corporation, XAVi Technologies, ZTE Corporation. Corning is providing the optical distribution network components over which the 2488 Mbps/1244 Mbps (downstream/upstream) G-PON systems will be operating.

With PONs, signals are carried by lasers and sent to their destination without the need for active electronics in the outside plant of the telecommunications network. Carriers can realize significant savings with fiber sharing in the local loop, 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.

Friday, May 18, 2007 3:18:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, May 15, 2007

ITU and the IEEE will hold a workshop on carrier-class Ethernet, 31 May - 1 June.Much work has been done in both organisations to progress Ethernet, developed as an enterprise technology, into a carrier service. The event will focus on opportunities for further collaboration. Long-recognized as the 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.

Ethernet services are becoming popular because they allow carriers to offer considerably improved flexibility to customers through a much simpler and lower cost interface. Ethernet allows users to specify exactly how much bandwidth they want between the 10Mbit/s and 1Gbit/s range currently offered. Further, Ethernet provides reduced operation complexity and improved scalability for carriers. And as operators look to NGN and the use of the Internet Protocol (IP), Ethernet is seen as the best fit, especially given the rise of such services as IP VPNs, VLANs and dedicated Internet access.

The event will start with an overview of the standards work from ITU-T and IEEE and will then drill down into detail with sessions focusing on: Ethernet based and Ethernet capable access networks; Ethernet network transport; Ethernet Bridging architecture; Ethernet OAM and management; Ethernet QoS, timing and synchronization. A closing session will bring together reports from all of the session chairs in order to identify the direction of future work.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 2:05:49 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, May 04, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, May 04, 2007 9:06:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 30, 2007

A Seminar on Standardization and Development of Next-Generation Networks for the Arab Region, will take place in Manama, Bahrain from 29 April to 2 May (morning) 2007.

Hosted by the Bahrain Telecommunications Company (BATELCO), the event is organized by the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) and the Standardization Bureau (TSB) of ITU.

The seminar will be followed by a Workshop on NGN Interconnection from 2 to 3 May 2007. The objectives of the seminar are two fold: first, to discuss the current trends, status and future evolution of NGN technology and standardization. Second, NGN regulatory and policy issues which will allow developing countries to exploit its full potential will be discussed.

The objective of the interconnection workshop is to look at the challenges for regulatory and policy frameworks associated with the deployment of NGN in the region. It will focus, in particular, on what kinds of interconnection arrangements make sense in an NGN world.

Monday, April 30, 2007 8:50:10 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, April 20, 2007

A call for papers has been issued for the 10th Asia-Pacific Network Operations and Management Symposium (APNOMS 2007).


The event will be held in Sapporo, Japan from October 10 to 12, 2007 with the theme “Managing Next Generation Networks and Services.”

From the call for papers: “Recently, various convergences in wired and wireless networks, and convergence of telecommunications and broadcastings are taking place for ubiquitous multimedia service provisioning. For example, broadband IP/MPLS wired networks are actively converged with IEEE 802.11e wireless LAN, IEEE 802.16 Wireless MAN, 3G/4G wireless cellular networks, and direct multimedia broadcast (DMB) network. For efficient support of service provisioning for ubiquitous multimedia services on the broadband convergence networks, well-designed and implemented network operations and management functions with QoS-guaranteed traffic engineering are essential.”

“In APNOMS 2007, the topics of interest include, but not limited to, network & service management for broadband convergence networks, business operations & management, service-oriented managements (e.g., SLA/SLS, security, billing), management architecture and technologies, various experiences, and recent standardization activities.”

Friday, April 20, 2007 1:35:50 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, April 18, 2007

ITU-T will hold a Workshop on Multimedia in NGN, Geneva, 10-11 September.

Multimedia applications and services are migrating towards a single converged user-centric communications network. The “internet of things” represents one of the key challenges for NGN standardization.

This migration, or evolution, has been recognized in ITU-T and a number of initiatives have started for the development of global standards in specific areas like IPTV, GRID, networked aspects of identification (including RFID aspects), sensor networks and more.

An aim of the NGN is to provide the necessary service capabilities to support present and future multimedia applications and services.

This workshop will contribute to the NGN vision of supporting future multimedia services and applications, and will facilitate experience and knowledge sharing between the NGN community, multimedia service and application experts. The various sessions will identify future developments at the service and application level and their impact on NGN capabilities.

The workshop will investigate future trends driven by technology and business needs in the area of multimedia services and applications, including those resulting from fixed-mobile-broadcast convergence.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 3:58:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 12, 2007

Analysis that aims to narrow the difference between fixed and mobile call termination charges will have to go deeper, say delegates to the recent Study Group 3 meeting. Following a more in-depth analysis of the results of two questionnaires issued by SG 3 and answers to some new questions posed to operators worldwide they should be able identify charges that are too high, and negotiate better rates that will in the long term benefit customers and operators alike.


Initial analysis shows that while call termination charges are significantly higher for mobile than for fixed line telephony, they are dropping. There seems to have been a particularly marked decrease in Europe where at the time of the first questionnaire, reflecting the situation 1 January 2006, charges were as much as ten times higher for mobile termination. The second questionnaire, reflecting the situation 1 January 2007, showed charges reduced to three times higher than fixed. However since the respondent groups to the two surveys were not exactly the same the results have not been formally adopted by the Study Group.

In order to get a better picture, it will be necessary, say experts, to understand more on the conditions of the service being offered, for example teledensity (that’s the number of telephones per 100 individuals), the type of technology used and whether or not the market is fully competitive. For this reason a third questionnaire will be issued covering the same period as the second.

Termination charges occur when calls are terminated in a network other than that from which they have originated. The goal of the analysis is to develop target rates that can give guidelines to operators. Given target rates it will be easier in areas where there is a big difference between fixed and mobile termination charges to negotiate better rates.

A similar exercise was undertaken for fixed line termination charges in the nineties and resulted in reduced charges.

Thursday, April 12, 2007 3:28:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 05, 2007

Two vice chairs of ITU-T’s IPTV Focus Group will guest edit an upcoming issue of IEEE Communications Magazine. Chae-Sub Lee, of ETRI, Korea and Simon Jones, of BT, UK will edit the issue for publication February 2008.

A call for papers has been issued on the broad topic IPTV Systems, Standards and Architectures. Papers are solicited on topics including IPTV standards progress, architecture for IPTV systems, deployment challenges, performance considerations, content management and security. Articles should be tutorial in nature, further guidelines can be found here.

Thursday, April 05, 2007 1:46:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 02, 2007

Reinhard Scholl, Deputy to the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, ITU will speak at a seminar titled Global Standards and Developing Economies: Broadband Access and Infrastructure 9-10 May, Tunis, Tunisia.

The event hosted by the IEEE-Standards Association (SA) in collaboration with the Tunisian Ministry of Communication Technologies will bring together leaders from industry, government and international standards organizations to share their insights on how local entities can participate in and optimize global standards and best practices to help close the digital divide.

An in-depth introduction to international standards activities and highlighting of the scope of the IEEE and its relationships with ITU and other standards bodies will be given. Through interactive presentations, the seminar will provide an overview of the issues being faced by today’s policy makers and industry leaders and provide real world examples of how standards are making a difference in emerging economies.

In addition to discussion of broadband access and infrastructure standards via presentations and case studies, challenges and opportunities for developing countries regarding intellectual property rights (IPR) and standardization will also be addressed. For further information see here, or call the IEEE-SA Corporate Standards Office at +1 732 562 5342; E-mail cag-conference@ieee.org.

Monday, April 02, 2007 1:56:16 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 19, 2007
Study Group 4 has consented a set of Recommendations on data definitions for terminal users of operational support systems. These definitions will allow operators to communicate more efficiently on operational matters, such as service orders and orders about network routing arrangements.

According to developers of the Global Telecommunications Data Dictionary (GTDD) (ITU-T Recommendations M.1401-10), the data definitions use an approach that is different from current conceptual approaches to define data communication interfaces. The GTDD approach will be more intuitive for end-users, in this case the operations staff in telcos.

The data definitions given in the GTDD may be used to develop XML schemas for exchange of data about telecoms networks and services between network operators. The GTDD defines data for end user interfaces and supports data communication to/from management applications.

Experts said that much of the data needed by NGN is defined not only for management but also for the execution of services. Definition of service management is critical for NGN, because it deals with interfaces that will be used by service platforms like IMS. Another use for GTDD is inventory management experts said.
Monday, March 19, 2007 12:23:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Link here

Monday, March 19, 2007 10:56:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The first meeting of the Regional Group of Study Group 2 in the Arab region will take place 26th March 2007, Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

The objective of the Regional Group is to facilitate the involvement of developing countries (DC) in SG2 standardization activities, reflection of DC needs and requirements in SG2 questions, promote the implementation of SG2 Recommendations, and increase awareness of DC with SG2 standardization areas.

Study Group 2 is the Lead Study Group on Service definition, Numbering and Routing.

Among the methodologies to achieve these goals are: Convening regional meetings, use of electronic means and collaboration of experts from the developed countries - as flagship Ggroup leaders - with DC experts.

An e-Forum is now active for discussions and questions about NNA (naming, numbering and addressing) issues. Post your questions to the forum on the here.

Regional Group of Study Group 2 in the ARAB Region Home 

Monday, March 19, 2007 10:53:21 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, March 09, 2007

The Fully Networked Car workshop held during the Geneva Motor Show has closed today, Friday 9 March, with participants and speakers declaring the event a great success. 191 people participated in the event according to the organizers. 

Malcolm Johnson, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, underlined his commitment to working with other standards bodies at the opening of the recent Fully Networked Car event in Geneva. "We are now placing great emphasis on bringing together the various standards bodies to avoid duplication of effort and to address convergence in areas such as the one addressed in this workshop,” he said. “That is why I am so pleased to have had the cooperation of ISO and IEC in the organization of this workshop."

The workshop (accompanied by an exhibition on 6-10 March) was the latest initiative organized by the three partner organizations of the World Standards Cooperation (WSC): IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), ITU (International Telecommunication Union), and ISO (International Organization for Standardization).

ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden remarked: “Following the previous workshops that we have organized with IEC and ITU on health technologies and the digital home, this workshop on the fully networked car is another example of the initiatives we have taken in the area of converging technologies."

The workshop addressed the market for information and communication technologies (ICT) in motor vehicles, which represents an ever-increasing share of innovation and added value in the automotive sector. The “fully networked car", taking full advantage of ICT for vehicles and road transport systems, is expected to offer a range of benefits including improved safety, reduced traffic congestion and pollution, and a smoother driving experience.

The WSC event provided a forum for the key specialists in the field, from top decision makers to engineers, designers, planners, government officials, regulators, standards experts and others. It helped to identify how and which standards can speed the development of the fully networked car and its introduction into the market.

Participants at the Fully Networked Car Event.

Friday, March 09, 2007 5:14:54 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 05, 2007
The first steps towards a globally harmonized approach to identity management (IdM) have been taken during a meeting bringing together, for the first time, the world’s key players in the IdM space.

IdM promises to reduce the need for multiple user names and passwords for each service used, while maintaining privacy of personal information. A global IdM solution will help diminish identity theft and fraud. Further, IdM is one of the key enablers for a simplified and secure interaction between customers and services such as e-commerce.

Experts at the meeting concurred that interoperability between existing IdM solutions will provide significant benefits such as increased trust by users of on-line services as well as cybersecurity, reduction of SPAM and seamless “nomadic” roaming between services worldwide.

Abbie Barbir, chairman of the Focus Group on Identity Management (FG IdM): “Our main focus is on how to achieve the common goals of the telecommunication and IdM communities. Nobody can go it alone in this space, an IdM system must have global acceptance. There was a very positive feeling at the meeting that we can achieve this and crucially we saw a great level of participation from all key players.”

The meeting of the FG IdM brought together developers, software vendors, standards forums, manufacturers, telcos, solutions providers and academia from around the world to share their knowledge and coordinate their IdM efforts. Interoperability among solutions so far has been minimal. One conclusion of attendees is that cooperation is crucial and that players cannot exist in isolation. The spirit of the meeting was that everyone will gain by providing an open mechanism that will allow different IdM solutions to communicate even as each IdM solution continues to evolve. Such a “trust metric” does not exist today experts say.

Work will continue online and during Focus Group meetings in April, May, and July. An analysis of what IdM is used for will be followed by a gap analysis between existing IdM frameworks now being developed by industry fora and consortiums. These gaps should be addressed before the interworking and interoperability between the various solutions can be achieved. The aim is to provide the basis for a framework which can then be conveyed to the relevant standard bodies including ITU-T Study Groups. The document will include details on the requirements for the additional functionality needed within next generation networks (NGN).

ITU-T has a long history of innovation in this field, with key work on trusted, interoperable identity framework standards including Recommendation X.509 that today serves as the primary “public key” technical mechanism for communications security across all telecom and internet infrastructures.
Monday, March 05, 2007 11:16:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Simon Jones, Vice Chairman of ITU-T's Focus Group on IPTV will present The importance of ITU-T’s activities in IPTV Standardization at the IPTV World Forum, 5-7 March, Olympia, London, UK.

The event comprises a free to attend exhibition, and tech demo zone area in which Jones is presenting. Additionally a conference will feature over 30 telcos and ISPs from around the world discussing IPTV service deployment issues

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 1:13:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 19, 2007
The Fully Networked Car will review and examine the implications of the latest developments in the fast-moving market for information and communication technologies (ICT) in motor vehicles.

To guarantee a pass for the event to be held 7-10 March, at the Geneva Motor Show, register now. Entry to the event is without charge.

The workshop programme is now available featuring speakers from some of the biggest names in information and communication technologies (ICT) and the motor industry, including: Bosch, BMW, Cisco, Ford, France Telecom, Freescale Semiconductor, Head Acoustics, Hitachi, Intel, Motorola, On-Star, Orange, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Q-Free, T-Systems, Telecom Italia, Telecordia, Toyota, Vodafone and Ygomi. In addition to the packed programme an exhibition will allow visitors to see close-up some of the technologies being discussed.
Monday, February 19, 2007 11:31:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Study Group 2 has recommended the allocation of the international dialing code 888 to the UN for use in disaster relief situations.

It means that in cases where the telecoms infrastructure is down, UN teams can quickly get a communications system up and running for use in coordination. The recommendation was made following a request from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The Director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) will study the recommendation from Study Group 2 to allocate the code.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 5:49:18 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Study Group 2’s February meeting saw work continue on harmonizing numbering resources for child helplines.

SG 2 is looking at the issue following a request from Child Helpline International (CHI). CHI is a global network of telephone helplines and outreach services for children and young people.

Specifically SG 2 is looking at the logistics of providing a global number. It previously conducted a survey which discovered that a wide range of numbers are in use globally and that there is support in many countries for studying a more harmonized solution.

A review process will be an initial assessment of all of the various options for introducing childrens’ helplines. The fundamental question is whether a single number can be deployed worldwide. Other issues include how regulators will handle migration from existing services and who pays for the services.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007 11:02:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Standards that will ease the wide spread rollout of video over IP networks took a step forward in January.

IPTV architecture and requirements, two fundamentally important areas in standards work were progressed at a recent meeting of the ITU-T Focus Group on IPTV. There was general consensus in the meeting that FG IPTV will successfully develop documents which will accelerate introduction of IPTV to the global market. Setting the architecture and requirements in stone allows the rest of the work to continue with greater ease.

Meeting at the Microsoft conference center, Mountain View California, at the invitation of the Alliance for Telecom Industry Standards (ATIS) the group saw a record number of contributions and experts worked often late to keep up with the workload. Nearly 90 documents were dealt with in the fields of architecture and requirements alone.

Malcolm Johnson, newly elected Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau said in a message he sent to the event: “The excellent cooperation between ITU-T and ATIS is an example of the spirit of cooperation that I believe now pervades in the standards world... From what I have seen there is a great deal to be satisfied by in terms of the progress that FG IPTV has achieved so far.”

In opening comments, ATIS President & CEO Susan Miller shared with the 200 meeting attendees that IPTV is serving as a “change agent” for the industry, and “as both the business case and principal driver for accelerating deployment of the next generation network.” Miller noted that for North American service providers in particular, “IPTV is a critical ingredient to bundled service offerings that encompass television services, mobile services, Internet access, and much more. We have seen in the last decade, enormous investments in broadband, and fiber deployments to the home and to the premise,” said Miller.

Also important a document outlining terms and definitions in the field was created. While seemingly mundane this work is crucially important in ensuring consistency of comprehension in an area where many standards outlining different aspects of IPTV will co-exist.

Further discussion is expected on whether and how to treat the issue of redistribution of content to a point past an IPTV terminal device, and, in particular, how content protection and content management functions can or should apply in a home network environment.

Other issues examined and progressed were accessibility issues for people with disabilities, AV codecs and content format requirements. Output (and other) documents can be seen here.

The next meeting of FG IPTV will be held from 7 to 11 May 2007 in Bled, Slovenia.

 

 

Tuesday, February 06, 2007 9:14:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 05, 2007

ITU and the IEEE will hold a workshop on carrier-class Ethernet, 31 May- 1 June.

Much work has been done in both organisations to progress Ethernet, developed as an enterprise technology, into a carrier service. The event will focus on opportunities for further collaboration.

Long-recognized as the 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.

Ethernet services are becoming popular because they allow carriers to offer considerably improved flexibility to customers through a much simpler and lower cost interface. Ethernet allows users to specify exactly how much bandwidth they want between the 10Mbit/s and 1Gbit/s range currently offered. Further, Ethernet provides reduced operation complexity and improved scalability for carriers. And as operators look to NGN and the use of the Internet Protocol (IP), Ethernet is seen as the best fit, especially given the rise of such services as IP VPNs, VLANs and dedicated Internet access.

The event will start with an overview of the standards work from ITU-T and IEEE and will then drill down into detail with sessions focusing on: Ethernet based and Ethernet capable access networks; Ethernet network transport; Ethernet Bridging architecture; Ethernet OAM and management; Ethernet QoS, timing and synchronization. A closing session will bring together reports from all of the session chairs in order to identify the direction of future work.

Monday, February 05, 2007 1:02:41 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, January 31, 2007
A new Recommendation from SG12 acts as a performance planning tool for videophone applications taking into account the effects of video as well as voice quality. The computational model described is for point-to-point interactive videophone applications including dedicated videophone terminals, desktop or laptop PCs, PDAs and mobile phones over IP networks.

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

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 4:35:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Study Group 12 consented a new Recommendation that provides a way to give consistency to performance measurements in high layer protocols such as FTP, HTTP etc.

The Recommendation, ITU-T Recommendation Y.1562, may be used by service providers in the planning, development, and assessment of IP service to check that it meets user performance needs; by equipment manufacturers to give performance information that will affect equipment design; and by end users in evaluating higher layer protocol service performance.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 4:34:10 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A Recommendation that ensures that sound levels between various devices are harmonized in order that listening quality is not degraded was amended at Study Group 12’s January meeting.

The amendment takes into account the transmission characteristics for headsets and hands free terminals. The original Recommendation – P.313 - provides audio performance requirements for portable digital cordless and mobile handsets, headset and loudspeaker terminals.

Specifications for car mounted hands free terminals will be treated in a new Recommendation in progress and also under study in the Focus Group - From/In/To Cars Communication.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 4:33:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
A revised workplan for some of the Questions in Study Group 12 will include specific mention of IPTV Quality of Experience (QoE) and Quality of Service (QoS).

The latest meeting of Study Group 12, Geneva, January, also saw agreement on a definition for QoE. This, experts said, is particularly important given the inclusion of QoE in the definition of IPTV agreed by the ITU-T IPTV Focus Group. (See previous story).

Quality of Experience (QoE)

The overall acceptability of an application or service, as perceived subjectively by the end-user.

NOTES

1     Quality of Experience includes the complete end-to-end system effects (client, terminal, network, services infrastructure, etc).

2     Overall acceptability may be influenced by user expectations and context.


Study Group 12 Vice Chair, Chuck Dvorak, said that he expects that IPTV and other multimedia QoS and QoE issues will see increasing attention in SG12 moving forward.

Dvorak also said that he expects that the non-transport aspects of networks and services, for example call processing performance, will also receive more attention. Additionally he says that he expects SG12 will take a closer look at how to better address the needs of developing countries in terms of QoS.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 3:32:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Representatives of the car industry joined with more traditional ITU-T members at the first meeting of the Focus Group From/In/To Car Communication.

The Focus Group meeting in Geneva, January, worked on specifications that will enhance communications in vehicles. Using as a starting point a specification developed by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) the Focus Group is looking to improve a draft Recommendation – P.Carhft – under development by ITU-T’s Study Group 12. The Focus Group concept allows for non-members, in this case the auto industry to participate.

A first priority is to deal with speakerphone audio quality, aiming to provide a specification that will help to improve the speech- and sound - quality between different devices. Second priority is requirements for headsets including wireless. Chairman of the group, Hans Gierlich of Head Acoustics noted also that a major problem for the car industry is car-to-car communications.

While first concentrating on narrowband speech (3.4kHz), the group will eventually move into better quality - wideband (8kHz). Input is also required in the area of testing for interaction between the network and hands-free terminals. In addition speech recognition will be addressed.

Participating companies included Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, DaimlerChrysler, France Telecom, Harman/Becker, Head Acoustics, Mitsubushi, Nortel and Volkswagen.

A second FG meeting hosted by HARMAN/BECKER Automotive Systems is planned for March 15 in Ulm, Germany following the ITU, ISO and IEC event, The Fully Networked Car, Information and Communication Technologies in Motor Vehicles. The event taking place at the Geneva Motor Show will review and examine the implications of the latest developments in this fast-moving market. A significant value-add will be an exhibition showcasing the latest technologies in the field.

 

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 5:30:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 25, 2007

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

See Lightwave’s story here.

See ITU-T Newslog entry here.

 

Thursday, January 25, 2007 3:59:46 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 23, 2007

At Study Group 9’s last meeting: Tokyo, 2-6 October, 2006, Mayumi Matsumoto, Rapporteur for Q.5/9 made a short video giving an excellent introduction to the Study Group’s work.

The movie contains footage of a demonstration of technologies for emerging broadband services in the home including interviews with some of the exhibitors.

It’s a unique insight into a Study Group meeting and the events surrounding it. Watch it here.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007 4:53:31 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 09, 2007

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

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

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

ITU-T Recommendations are available here.

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

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

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

Monday, January 08, 2007 10:13:03 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
Following ITU-T’s Workshop on Digital Identity for NGN Geneva, 5 December 2006 a decision has been made to set up a Focus Group on Identity Management (IdM) under the parentage of Study Group 17.

Digital identity refers to the online representation of a user’s or network element’s identity and the identity of those that the user or network element interacts with. It does not mean the positive validation of a person. Information regarding device identities is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity, and as a consequence, its protection and management are vital to a healthy and inclusive digital world.

There are different approaches for representing identities and different identity management frameworks. The lack of a common view on digital identity and its management has so far resulted in incompatible applications.

The Focus Group will explore mechanisms that allow different frameworks to interoperate together. Experts said there is a need to identify current gaps in proposed solutions. For example, IdM solutions that involve the telecom network level and in general lower layers have not been addressed sufficiently, they said. The Focus Group will act as a platform for an exchange of information in order to bring about necessary harmonisation.

All standards organizations and developer forums involved in identity management worldwide, including institutes, forums, companies, experts and individuals regardless of whether ITU members or not are encouraged to participate.

The first meeting of the FG IdM is scheduled to take place at ITU Headquarters, in Geneva, from 13 to 16 February 2007.

Monday, January 08, 2007 10:11:55 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |