ITU-T Study Group 2 - Operational aspects of service provision and telecommunications management
Study Group 2 is home to Recommendation ITU-T E.164, the numbering standard which has played a central role in shaping the telecom networks of today. ITU-T E.164 provides the structure and functionality of telephone numbers, and without it we would not be able to communicate internationally. In recent years SG2 has worked on ENUM, an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) protocol for entering E.164 numbers into the Internet domain name system (DNS).
An equally important product of SG2 is Recommendation ITU-T E.212 which describes a system to identify mobile devices as they move from network to network. International mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) is a critical part of the modern mobile telecoms system, allowing the identification of a roaming mobile terminal in a foreign network and subsequently the querying of the home network for subscription and billing information.
As the world’s foremost authority on international numbering, SG2 is responsible for the maintenance of ITU’s International Numbering Resource (INR) database. The INR database includes repositories of the various numbers and codes overseen by ITU; a mechanism for the exchange of administrative and operational information among administrations and private-sector players; and a channel through which ITU members can report the possible misuse of ITU-T E.164 numbers.
A recent addition to the INR database is an online database of mobile country codes (MCCs) and mobile network codes (MNCs) assigned in compliance with ITU-T E.212. MCCs and MNCs are key building blocks to IMSI, used in combination to allocate unique identities to countries’ mobile telephony installations and network operators.
Study Group 2 is also responsible for standards on the management of telecom services, networks and equipment. Telecom management systems are a crucial part of the business processes at the heart of service providers' operations. Standards focus on fault, configuration, accounting, performance and security management (FCAPS) interfaces. FCAPS interfaces sit between network elements and management systems and also between two management systems.
As service offerings and networks have grown in complexity, interoperable management solutions have become essential tools to reduce operating costs. Standards aim to enable quick, simple and cost-effective integration of management solutions in the operating environment.
SG 2 is also home to a group made up of network operators. The service and network operations group (SNOg) aims to ensure that the needs of operations staff are taken into account in the development of standards.
As next generation networks (NGN) take hold, SG2 is playing a key role in defining the operational aspects of interworking between traditional circuit-switched telecommunications networks and evolving NGN or packet-switched networks.
SG2 also leads ITU’s work on standards in support of telecommunications for disaster relief/early warning, network resilience and recovery. Recommendation ITU-T E.106, International Emergency Preference Scheme for disaster relief operations (IEPS), specifies means of prioritizing calls in a disaster situation so that telecoms networks can be cleared of non-urgent calls.
SG2 works closely with other standards development organizations, forums and consortia on the harmonization of telecommunications management specifications. An important part of this cooperation is to determine if consensus can be reached on the convergence of independent solutions; progressing them towards formalization as international standards (ITU-T Recommendations).