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 Friday, 20 May 2005
  • Commonwealth of Australia -  30 000 AUD
    Purpose: Recruitment of an expert to act as Technical Liaison Group representative to the ICANN Board for the year 2005
  • AULM SA - 5 500 CHF
    Purpose: Finalization of the telebiometrics database, SG 17


Friday, 20 May 2005 15:16:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 17 May 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See the tool here.

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

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

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

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

All interested parties are free to attend.

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

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

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

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

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

The draft definition can be seen here.

Tuesday, 17 May 2005 10:40:23 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Lighthouse launched on World Telecommunication Day, 17 May 2005, offers a user-friendly and alternative view of ITU-T.

Offering dynamic content, news, features and FAQs, the Lighthouse will shed light on ITU-T`s activities, past, present and future.


Tuesday, 17 May 2005 09:34:14 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 16 May 2005

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, 16 May 2005 16:36:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The joint ITU-T/Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) workshop on next generation networks (NGN), 1 - 2 May, 2005, Geneva, reported in last month's e-Flash has attracted sponsorship from global networking company, Cisco Systems. 

Cisco has agreed - using ITU's voluntary contribution mechanism for donating funds beyond membership fees - to contribute to NGN activities in general, including this and a future workshop.

Jeff Spagnola, VP Worldwide Service Provider Marketing will deliver an address to the workshop outlining the Cisco vision for NGN. Ahead of the event he said: "Cisco is pleased to provide support for this important event, as well as ongoing NGN activity simply because we believe strongly in the value of standardization for NGN and the emerging definitions that will put us on the road to a truly converged ICT world. Cisco has been very active so far in NGN technology, and Cisco will continue to play a key role in this work as we move forward."

Monday, 16 May 2005 15:45:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

Monday, 16 May 2005 15:42:28 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) will host an interoperability demonstration at June's Supercomm event in Chicago, USA showing how a suite of ITU-T standards will enable data stream services like Ethernet to be effectively transported over existing SONET/SDH and ASON enabled carrier networks.

Additionally the demo will show how Ethernet can be used to link any number of endpoints in a wide area network (WAN), or simply as a service delivery mechanism (see press release).

The event will include testing of data plane interoperability of next generation transport network functions such as generic framing procedure (GFP), virtual concatenation (VCAT) and link capacity adjustment scheme (LCAS), all supporting technologies to SONET/SDH (and all defined in ITU-T G-series Recommendations).

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


Monday, 16 May 2005 15:35:25 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

Monday, 16 May 2005 15:31:51 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

Monday, 16 May 2005 15:23:56 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

Monday, 16 May 2005 15:20:36 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

Monday, 16 May 2005 15:15:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 13 May 2005

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

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

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

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

Friday, 13 May 2005 16:13:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 13 May 2005 16:07:40 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

For those who missed the recent ITU-T workshop The Fully Networked Car - a Workshop on ICT in Motor Vehicles, all sessions and conclusions are now available on the web. ITU's Internet Broadcasting Service (IBS) is hosting an audio-archive of the event, that took place during the Geneva Motor Show, 2 - 4 March.

The workshop brought together more than 100 experts from the ICT and car industries. During nine sessions, topics such as the need for consensus between the public and private sectors and business models for interlinking the car and telecom businesses were discussed. Technically oriented sessions examined topics such as telematics and diagnostics, safety, the integration of in-vehicle systems with existing and future telecommunications infrastructures, and seamless communications on the move.

Paul Najarian, Director of Telecommunication and Standards, for the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) stressed the need for more standardization in the field of ICT in vehicles: “The workshop has shown that both the automotive and the telecommunication industry clearly benefit from standardization initiatives. The fully networked car can only be achieved by fostering collaborative efforts on the international level.”

A lengthier feature-story on the car-workshop will be linked to in the next e-Flash.

Friday, 13 May 2005 16:01:37 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), ITU-T will lend its support to a session on the advances and applications in H.264/AVC Video Coding. The session will take place during the SPIE meeting in San Diego, USA, (31 July - 4 August 2005).

H.264/AVC is the leading video codec developed jointly by the Joint Video Team of ITU-T Q.6/SG16 VCEG and ISO/IEC MPEG. It incorporates a dramatically increased compression performance that will enable existing applications like videoconferencing, streaming video over the Internet, and digital television on satellite and cable to offer better quality video at lower cost. It will also allow new video applications such as High-Definition TV on DVD, video on mobile phones, and videoconferencing over low bandwidth connections.

Friday, 13 May 2005 15:57:07 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 13 May 2005 15:52:57 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

New versions of the two publications that detail the basic guiding principles for the work of ITU-T for the next four years are available.

Yellow Book 1 - available now - contains all the resolutions of the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) held in Florianópolis, Brazil (5 - 14 October 2004). Resolutions are essentially the guiding principles by which the study groups operate. In 2004 there were new resolutions on topics including bridging the standardization gap between developing and developed countries, cybersecurity and combating spam.

Book 1 also contains ITU-T A-Series Recommendations. A-Series Recommendations detail the organization of the work of ITU-T. For example working methods for the study groups and focus groups are included, as are the communications processes between ITU-T and industry forums and consortia. Additionally Book 1 details the work topics, or Questions that study groups will work on in the period 2005-2008.

Book 2 provides a record of the discussions that took place during WTSA, with all decisions made shown in the various reports that make up a substantial part of the publication. In addition Book 2 contains a report on the activities of the previous study period including statistics, a list of participants and the list of documents made available.

Yellow books 1 and 2 can be purchased at the ITU bookshop in Geneva and online. Both books will be available in six languages (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian and Chinese) as soon as translation is completed.

Friday, 13 May 2005 15:39:03 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

Friday, 13 May 2005 15:30:08 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T will hold a workshop on NGN together with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), 1 - 2 May, 2005, Geneva. The workshop will also serve as an important meeting point for ITU-T and IETF management.

The overall objectives of the workshop are to explore specific NGN issues that impact both the ITU-T and the IETF to better understand the work underway in the two organizations and to identify areas where actions could be taken between the ITU-T and IETF to further coordinate their work.

Six sessions will each be co-chaired by an ITU representative and a representative from IETF. Topics will include requirements and functional architecture; nomadicity and mobility; QoS, control and signalling capabilities; network management; security capabilities and evolution.

The workshop, the second on NGN in 2005, is an example of the way in which ITU-T is seeking to engage all interested parties in work towards the development of worldwide standards for NGN. In this way, industry demands for the efficient and swift completion of the specifications that will define the way that NGNs work will be met.

Friday, 13 May 2005 15:26:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 12 May 2005

A recent meeting of Study Group 12 saw progress in the development of QoS-related standards for IP-based networks and services.

QoS is seen as a key area to address in IP-based networks, especially as more carriers announce plans to carry voice traffic using the protocol.

Progress was made on the revision of Recommendation G.1020 which gives performance parameter definitions for quality of speech and other voiceband applications utilising IP networks. The updates will specify voice quality measurements associated with the use of the VoIP management protocol, RTP Control Protocol Extended Reports (RTCP XR). RTCP XR defines a set of metrics that contain information for assessing VoIP call quality and diagnosing problems.

And Y.1541 which gives network performance objectives for IP-based services, is also actively under revision to include new QoS classes with more stringent packet loss performance, needed for example for commercial video applications and certain TCP formats.

Also during its meeting - the first of the new study period - SG12 consented a revision of Recommendation G.107 (the E-model, see previous e-Flash story, to include an improved treatment of bursty packet loss.

Thursday, 12 May 2005 19:26:22 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

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

For further information on SNOg please contact Morris Flory.

Thursday, 12 May 2005 19:24:18 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

An impressive line-up of speakers has been confirmed for the upcoming ITU-T event - The Fully Networked Car - A Workshop on ICT in Vehicles, to be held at the Geneva Motor Show, 2-4 March. Global experts who will frame the major issues and engage the audience in discussion on this important topic include high-level representatives from BMW, Cisco, Magna Electronics, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Motorola, Bosch, France Telecom, Volvo, Nissan and Swisscom.

Topics to be discussed include, the introduction of extra-vehicle communication systems that allow communication with nearby vehicles, for example to communicate that a car is hydroplaning and advise appropriate action to nearby cars. Another session will focus on a pan-European in-vehicle emergency call. Experts will discuss how automatically generated in-vehicle emergency calls (eCalls) can speed-up the response of the emergency services and potentially reduce the number of fatalities, severity of injuries and stress in post-crash situations.

Thursday, 12 May 2005 19:21:42 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T is to hold an NGN Technical Workshop, 14 - 15 March 2005 at the Lotte Hotel, Jeju Island, Korea, at the kind invitation of the Korean Government. The workshop will serve as a useful review point on the road towards NGN, and precedes a meeting of the Focus Group on NGN (FGNGN).

In May of 2004 study on NGN standards found a home at ITU, with the formation of the FGNGN. Since that time intense work has taken place in this group and across many of ITU-T’s other study groups, towards the development of standards that will define services, network and systems architecture in IP enabled next generation communication systems. Indeed NGN has become a key area of study for ITU-T’s study groups. Study groups 2, 11, 13 and 19 for example have a significant NGN focus (Study Group 13 is the lead Study Group for NGN).

The convergence between internet protocol (IP), public switched telephone network (PSTN), digital subscriber line (DSL), cable television (CATV), wireless local area network (WLAN) and mobile technologies is a task that many believe is impossible without the development of global standards. NGN will offer a richer set of applications to the end user. The work of FGNGN and other ITU-T groups will build on existing fixed/mobile convergence architecture (e.g. 3GPP/3GPP2 IP multimedia subsystem (IMS)) to provide transparency between fixed and mobile networks.

Among many recent achievements in the NGN field are an output relating to IP-QoS signalling for inclusion in the first set of specifications (Release 1), the foundation of a 'joint coordination activity' (NGN-JCA) aiming to see that standards are developed in the most appropriate place and that no duplication of effort occurs and the development of a project management tool that will give a unique overview of the NGN work going on across the standardization world.

Thursday, 12 May 2005 19:18:06 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU-T is to host a Workshop on Home Networking Systems, 13-14 October 2005 in Geneva.

Home Networking is the linking of all types of electronic devices for applications such as entertainment, telecommunication, home automation systems and telemetry (remote control and monitoring systems). And given the wide range of previously unrelated technologies involved, standards that allow for interoperability are seen as key to the successful marketing of the concept.

The event will be jointly organized by Study Groups 9 and 12, in cooperation with several other ITU Study Groups and organizations outside of ITU. It follows the Workshop on Home Networking and Home Services held 17-18 June 2004, Tokyo.

Study Group 9 has been working on standardization in home networking systems for more than four years. It has already approved three Recommendations in the field. A current focus is a new Recommendation that will specify ways to bridge conditional access systems (that ensure payment in pay TV for example) to digital rights management (DRM) systems, an important step toward smooth operation of fully integrated home networking.

Thursday, 12 May 2005 19:10:49 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 12 May 2005 19:01:58 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

Thursday, 12 May 2005 18:56:09 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

ITU recently lent its expertise in the field of disaster recovery and mitigation to a high-level global gathering looking to develop an early warning system for tsunamis.

A delegation headed by Houlin Zhao, director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) and representatives of the radiocommunication and development bureaux attended The Ministerial Meeting on Regional Cooperation on Tsunami Early Warning Arrangements, Phuket, Thailand, 28-29 January.

Envoys from 43 countries and 13 international organizations attended the event hosted by the Thai foreign ministry, to discuss arrangements for an early warning system that could help to reduce the scale of devastation following any future tsunami.

Ahead of the event Zhao said: “I believe that ITU has much to offer in the development of an early warning system for tsunamis. This tragedy has, once again, underscored the fact that information and communication technologies are a vital component in disaster relief and prevention. We have a proven track record in the field of disaster management, and I hope that we can offer some valuable advice here. The dissemination of information using these technologies is a crucial part of all disaster relief strategies. It is impossible to imagine disaster relief today without radios, fixed-line telephony and mobile phones. And now the Internet has also proved that it has an important role to play, supporting the more traditional media of radio and television.

“It is very unfortunate that it took a disaster on this scale to wake the world up to the need for an early warning system in this area. But, this meeting should serve to spearhead and coordinate in the most efficient manner the very necessary work towards a system that will reduce the devastating effects of such an event in the future.”


Thursday, 12 May 2005 18:50:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

Since the work towards standards for NGN is taking place across a number of different ITU-T study groups and other standards development organizations (SDOs) the ability to coordinate and view all NGN work in one place will be invaluable to the swift and efficient publication of the first set of NGN specifications (Release 1).

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

Thursday, 12 May 2005 18:43:33 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

Thursday, 12 May 2005 18:41:30 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

Thursday, 12 May 2005 18:39:20 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

Thursday, 12 May 2005 18:34:00 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

Thursday, 12 May 2005 18:31:53 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 12 May 2005 18:28:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 12 May 2005 18:26:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

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

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

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

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