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 Thursday, 06 May 2010
ITU-T and IEEE will hold a joint workshop - The Future of Ethernet Transport - in Geneva, 28 May 2010. The workshop is the fifth in partnership with IEEE and follows two Kaleidoscope events and two workshops in the field of access and transport technologies.

Much work has been done in both organisations to progress Ethernet, developed as an enterprise technology, into a network provider technology or 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 technology. 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 emerging 100Gbit/s range currently offered. Further, as a transport technology 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.

This event will review the work areas within ITU-T and IEEE 802.1/802.3 Working Groups on the development of Ethernet and related transport standards. The relevant standards groups are ITU-T Study Group 15 (Questions 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14) on optical transport systems including protection switching and synchronization, and IEEE P802.1Qbf Task Force on protection switching, P802.1AS and P802.3bf Task Forces on Ethernet synchronization, and P802.3ba and P802.3bg Task Forces on 40/100 Gb/s Ethernet.

ITU-T and IEEE work’s work on Ethernet technology is complementary in areas such as such as ultra high speed transport, network architecture, services, operation and maintenance, protection switching and synchronization.  In general ITU-T develops requirements from a network operators’ viewpoint as well as functional level specifications, while IEEE develops detailed design specifications to allow implementation.

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Thursday, 06 May 2010 14:13:44 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, 27 April 2010
The recent meeting of ITU’s Council saw a report from Malcolm Johnson the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) on progress made in implementing work on conformity and interoperability testing as requested by Resolution 76 in 2008 (WTSA-08).

In introducing the work Johnson said: “Currently all successful standards development organizations (SDOs) dealing with standards on interoperability have, in addition to the production of paper standards, three additional components: testing specifications; conformance testing to determine compliant products; and interoperability testing amongst various manufacturers’ products implementing the standard(s).

“ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), which is the pre-eminent global telecommunication standards body dealing specifically with global interoperability currently lacks these three additional elements to develop the full range of interoperable standards.

“This prompted a plea for help from developing countries, expressed in WTSA Resolution 76, to redress this problem as an important element of assistance to them in achievement of their desired level of conformity and interoperability nationally and internationally in telecommunications.

“Successful implementation of this programme is therefore crucially important to ITU-T maintaining its status as the pre-eminent global standards development organization in the face of increasing competition from other SDOs, forums and consortia.

“Defining more interfaces where interoperability can be tested increases competition and reduces the chances of being locked in to a single product.”

Johnson went on to define various actions, starting with a pilot version of a conformity database which is under development in line with a proposal put to Council-09 and taking account of advice provided by the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) and ITU-T’s Joint Coordination Activity on Conformance and Interoperability Testing (JCA-CIT). He said that the database would only record information provided by companies on conformity of their products to ITU-T Recommendations. Companies input the data into the database themselves. Following the advice of TSAG, access to the database is password protected (TIES) during the development phase.

The second action detailed by Johnson is the establishment of a calendar of “informal” interoperability events, some in partnership with interested SDOs/forums/consortia. The first such interoperability event is to take place on 20-23 July 2010, in Geneva to test ITU-T’s standards for IPTV.

The third action, Johnson said will be the implementation of human resources capacity building events. He said that ITU-T’s secretariat, the TSB and the secretariat of ITU-D, the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) are preparing a programme of such events. Events are planned for  Quito (Ecuador) and Nairobi (Kenya). Both Bureaux, he added, looked forward to receiving advice in this regard from the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-10), to be held in Hyderabad, India, from 24 May to 4 June 2010.

TSB and BDT are also working together to assist in the establishment of test facilities in developing countries. Discussions with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) have already begun and a pilot project has been conducted in Tanzania.

TSB has begun work on the framework of a business plan for the long term implementation of the actions and which will provide the environmental background; the pros and cons of acting on Resolution 76; a road map for the implementation of the actions; a budget; legal aspects; study group actions; and partnerships for taking the work forward.
Following various questions and comments from the floor Johnson emphasized that Resolution 76 addresses both conformity and interoperability. Conformity does not imply interoperability, he said, but the chances of interoperability are definitely higher if equipment has been shown to conform to a standard.

The demand for a conformity database was simple he said: people want a database on the ITU website where they can see what products had been successfully tested to ITU-T Recommendations. To ensure the credibility of the database, tests will be carried out in an accredited laboratory: first, second or third party; or be accepted by an accredited certification body. Companies will voluntarily input the data directly into the database, but the information will only be made publicly available after TSB has received a supplier’s declaration.

Johnson emphasized that TSB is committed to working in consultation with all members and in collaboration with other SDOs, forums and consortia. For example, just within the last couple of weeks TSB had visited ATIS, TIA, ITI and several Sector Members in the USA to discuss Resolution 76. TSB had also visited the Interoperability Testing Lab of the University of New Hampshire, a not-for profit organization that has a formidable reputation in the testing field and which has been invited to the ITU-T Study Group 15 meeting in June.

Johnson concluded by confirming that TSB is committed to consulting and collaborating with all ITU-T membership to ensure the successful implementation of Resolution 76. It is a long and winding road but there is no turning back, he said. The Director of BDT, Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, also expressed appreciation for the positive tone in the Council on this subject and emphasized that TSB and BDT are working closely together on this issue.

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Tuesday, 27 April 2010 09:53:34 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, 26 April 2010

The International signalling point codes (ISPCs) and signalling area/network codes (SANCs) that facilitate all telephone calls are now available to members in an online database.

Previously up-to-date information was only available to subscribers to ITU-T’s freely available Operational Bulletin.

The database provides easier access to the information and also presents it in a machine-readable form.

An ISPC is used in association with signaling system seven (SS7), and acts in a similar way to an IP address in an IP network. It is a unique address for a node to identify the destination of a message.

The action was taken following a request by ITU-T Study Group 11.

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Monday, 26 April 2010 07:52:48 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, 22 April 2010
April’s meeting of ITU-T’s cybersecurity group (SG 17) saw a presentation on progress on the six months of work on the Cybersecurity Information Exchange Framework (CYBEX).

CYBEX imports more than twenty best of breed standards for platforms developed over the past several years by government agencies and industry to enhance cybersecurity.  These platforms capture and exchange information about the security "state" of systems and devices, about vulnerabilities, about incidents such as cyber attacks, and related knowledge "heuristics." The Framework pulls these platforms together in a coherent way to provide for 1) “locking down” on-line systems to minimize vulnerabilities, 2) capturing incident information for analysis when network harmful incidents occur, and 3) facilitating evidence for enforcement action if necessary.

The presentation noted a close collaborative relationship with the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) - a global organization for coordination and cooperation among Computer Emergency Response Teams.  

A wiki-based initial compilation of discovered CIRTs and related agencies and bodies to the SG17 website at:

See previous newslog entry for more information on CYBEX.

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Thursday, 22 April 2010 15:16:43 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
ITU-T’s Study Group 17 will hold a workshop Addressing security challenges on a global scale in Geneva, 6 (afternoon)-7 December 2010.  The event will focus on how ITU and other standards developing organizations (SDOs) address the main challenges of information and communication security.

A call for abstracts with a deadline for 15 June 2010 has been issued with suggested topics including:
•    Emerging applications of PKI
•    Collaboration for ICT security standardization
•    Developing countries challenges
•    Cloud computing: Threat or opportunity
•    The cloud in the telecom space
•    Identity in the cloud
•    Smart grid security
•    Assurance, making cybersecurity measurable
•    Identity management (IdM)
•    CIRTs, sharing of information
•    Security awareness
•    IPv6 Security
•    Telebiometrics standardization
•    Meeting regulatory obligations
The workshop is also expected to provide a good opportunity to overview new areas of security studies including Smart Grid and Cloud Computing.

SG 17 aims to hold a similar workshop on annual basis from now on.

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Thursday, 22 April 2010 15:13:19 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
The recent meeting of ITU-T’s, Study Group 17, saw record attendance with a much increased number of delegates from developing countries. The group’s work programme contains more than sixty work items on topics as diverse as identity management (IdM), IPTV security, object identifiers (OID), formal languages and cybersecurity.

Among the work areas that achieved significant progress at the April meeting were directory services, IdM, and IPTV security.

The heavily deployed directory assistance protocol Recommendation ITU-T E.115 was revised at this meeting. E.115 is used for directory assistance information exchange among service providers. E.115 also gives a description of the principles and procedures to be followed in interconnecting different national computerized directory assistance services.

A key standard (ITU-T Recommendation) on IdM was approved. The Baseline IdM Terms and Definitions is considered one of the basic texts for IdM and provides a solid basis for ensuring interoperability between various emerging IdM solutions.

Other work in the IdM field continues apace with new work items proposed on an open identity trust framework; discovery of identity management information; baseline capabilities and mechanisms of identity management for mobile applications and environment and an identity management roadmap.

Also in the field, EVCert, an important tool in the fight against spam is considered likely for first stage approval (consent/determination) at the next meeting of SG 17. EVCert is a product of the CA Browser Forum and is a digital certificate based specification combined with an array of processes and protocols for significantly enhanced organization/provider trust and related transport layer encryption. Approval as an ITU standard (ITU-T Recommendation) will push EVCert forward as the principal global specification for organization/provider trust. EVcert enables special features in web browsers or other compliant programs.

In IPTV security, work progressed in several areas including a key management framework for secure IPTV services; an algorithm selection scheme for service and content protection (SCP) descrambling and a service and content protection (SCP) interoperability scheme.
New work is considered in several new areas:
•    Work will start to develop a new standard outlining the basic rules necessary to build national revenue assurance protection systems. The proposal to start the work notes that last year fraud in telecommunication networks decreased revenue of telecommunication companies by 12-15 per cent.
•    A new work item on reducing spam in mobile networks focusing on SMS/MMS was proposed and agreed.
•    In the area of cloud computing work will progress in two new areas. Firstly the collection of security requirements and a proposed framework outlining the cloud based telecom environment. In addition security guidelines for cloud computing will be developed to help service providers deploy cloud computing.

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Thursday, 22 April 2010 15:06:11 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, 16 April 2010

The United Nations magazine "UN Special" ran two articles in its April 2010 issue on the recent ITU/WIPO workshop on how to improve the accessibility on the web.

See also the ITU-T Newslog report here.

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Friday, 16 April 2010 13:42:38 (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |