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ITU-T e-FLASH - Issue No. 4


Telecommunication Standardization Sector

Issue No. 4 May 2004

Ethernet Breaks Free Of The Office
A productive meeting of Study Group 15 - the ITU-T group responsible for access technology - saw a raft of new Recommendations extending the reach of the local area network (LAN). The standards outline a way for Ethernet – the LAN technology of choice - to be provided as a service to link any number of endpoints in a wide area network (WAN), or simply as a service delivery mechanism. This significantly reduces the cost and complexity of access technology for both end-users and service providers.

The news marks Ethernet’s progress from a LAN connectivity technology to a carrier class service delivery technology.

Being able to offer Ethernet services means that carriers will be able to give considerably improved flexibility to customers. In theory it will now be possible for carriers using the new specifications to be able to offer bandwidth from 10Mbit/s to 1Gbit/s. As well as increased flexibility, the standards give customers a much simpler and lower cost interface. Further, the standards provide reduced operation complexity and improved scalability for carriers. More.
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Next Generation DSL Brings Operators Closer To ‘Triple Play’
Also at Geneva's recent Study Group 15 meeting, agreement was reached on a new global standard that will allow operators to provide VDSL (Very high-speed Digital Subscriber Line) technology. VDSL gives multi-megabit/s network access via ordinary telephone subscriber lines allowing operators to reach the holy grail of 'triple play' - multiple high-quality digital video streams, high-speed Internet access and voice services.

The standard - ITU-T Recommendation G.993.1 - specifies the application of the two main technologies used for encoding signals for DSL - Discrete MultiTone (DMT) technology and Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) - to VDSL.

VDSL permits the transmission of asymmetric and symmetric data rates up to tens of Mbit/s. This will allow network operators to offer fully integrated voice, video and high-speed Internet access to residential customers. More.
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New Standard Lights Up More Fibre
Further extending its lead in the field of Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing (CWDM) Study Group 15 agreed on a new Recommendation that will make it easier for network operators to deploy bandwidth maximising technology in core networks.

The new standard – ITU-T Recommendation G.656 – will allow the easier deployment of CWDM in metropolitan areas, and increase the capacity of fibre in Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM) systems. WDM itself increases the data carrying capacity of an optical fibre by allowing simultaneous operation at more than one wavelength. The development of standards in this area is important if network operators are to reduce costs and provide next generation services to customers. 

G.656 allows operators using CWDM to deploy systems without the need to compensate for chromatic dispersion, a phenomenon which at low levels counteracts distortion, but at high-levels can make a signal unusable. It’s a complicated area, but the management of chromatic dispersion is crucial as the number of wavelengths used in WDM systems increases. ITU has a history of providing the specifications that allow operators to most efficiently handle this. More.
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Event Targets Cybersecurity
Alongside the upcoming World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly 2004 (WTSA-04) - ITU will host a one day Cybersecurity Symposium, 4 October, to address global concern on this important topic. 

The event will provide a high-level overview of the subject using practical experiences to illustrate how specific threats can be dealt with and what lessons can be learnt from previous scenarios. 

The exact programme for the event is under development, however it is expected to attract some key names in the ICT world as speakers and attendees.

Sessions will highlight threats, responses, experiences, standards, policy, regulatory and legal aspects. A final panel discussion will aim to outline some good practice guidelines and areas of future work.

Further information will be posted on the WTSA-04 page. 
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QoS Work Updated For Multimedia Applications
ITU-T is spearheading new work on QoS in multimedia. Following an initiative by Study Group 9, the Joint Rapporteur Group on Multimedia Assessment (JRG-MMA) has been created. Study Group 12 - ITU-T's QoS specialists, recently hosted the first in a series of meetings bringing together speech/audio and video quality experts. The aim of the meetings is to update quality assessment models for multimedia. The work is particularly relevant to broadcasters and service providers who are seeking specifications that define assurance and maintenance of an acceptable service quality for multimedia services (including streaming audiovisual communications) in new digital networks. The group will work closely with the Video Quality Experts Group (VQEG).
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VoIP QoS Addressed With New Standards
Study Group 12's recent meeting also saw agreement on several new standards or amendments to standards that relate to the planning and deployment of IP-based networks. An appendix to Recommendation G.108 specifies how to deal with the delay occurring in packet-based networks in conjunction with VoIP terminals and gateways.

QoS is seen as a key area to address for VoIP, where the perception has often been poor. According to industry analysts IDC, 10 per cent of voice traffic is currently carried over IP. And, this figure is rising rapidly, as more and more carriers announce plans to use VoIP.

Another of the Recommendations agreed by Study Group 12 – P.880 - outlines a way of subjectively measuring speech quality caused by time fluctuations in VoIP. The Recommendation details a two-part evaluation method using a sliding scale for live judgment of a recorded speech segment, followed by an overall judgment at the end of the sequence. 

Additionally SG12 agreed on Recommendations that address voice transmission objectives and performance parameters for VoIP terminals and gateways.
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Mobile Beyond 3G 
The ITU-T group responsible for International Mobile Telecommunications 2000 (IMT-2000) and beyond - SSG - has produced a Recommendation (Q.1703) that builds on the experience of 3G mobile networks to provide a definition of the service and network capability framework for next generation mobile networks. The new Recommendation builds on earlier work, internal and external to ITU-T, defining switching and signalling requirements and protocols, and addresses the high-level end-user needs outlined in the ITU long-term vision for Systems Beyond IMT 2000, specified in ITU-T Recommendations Q.1701 and Q.1702 and ITU-R Recommendation M.1645. ITU envisages the systems defined in these specifications will be in place by about the year 2010.
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Position Vacant
ITU-T's secretariat - the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau - is looking for an individual to coordinate its workshop programme. The successful applicant will be based in Geneva. The role will involve the design, planning, organization, management and implementation of ITU-T's worldwide workshop and seminar programme. Workshops are seen as an important strategic mechanism to drive the work of the sector. Thus applicants will need to have their finger on the pulse of the telecommunication industry, be familiar with standardization work, and most importantly be able to identify new subjects for study and innovative ways of driving interest and participation. In collaboration with a steering committee and other ITU staff the successful applicant will be responsible for the technical accuracy and coherence of workshop themes and presentations, as well as identifying and attracting a prestigious line-up for each event. A telecommunication background is mandatory (minimum seven years), as are effective organizing skills and the ability to draft coherent texts, reports and speeches. Full details
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Products and Services - Jargon Buster
As part of the benefits of membership, ITU-T provides a number of databases. Some such as SANCHO are also available to non-members. 

ITU-T Sector Abbreviations and defiNitions for a teleCommunications tHesaurus Oriented database (SANCHO) displays terminology alongside its various definitions and occurrences in ITU-T publications. The database consolidates all of the terms and definitions clauses in ITU-T Recommendations and other publications, and presents them in a searchable format. A search - for instance - on the term 'frame' provides the definitions of this concept according to the different standardization fields, infrastructure, open document architecture (ODA), structure of data flows, etc.

It is believed to be the only database offering a trilingual vision of official global standardization terminology used in ITU-T texts.

SANCHO is a tool for engineers implementing or drafting Recommendations, but may also be useful - for example - in drafting procurement documents. In drafting a Recommendation, an engineer might consult SANCHO to discover the incidences of a term or abbreviation in previous Recommendations and decide if any of those uses fits his specific needs. In implementing a Recommendation an engineer may use SANCHO to check on the meaning of a particular phrase - as used in that Recommendation. 
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