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ITU-T e-FLASH - Issue No. 6


Telecommunication Standardization Sector

Issue No. 6 July 2004

ITU asked to Coordinate Standards Effort
A recent ITU-T workshop saw the CTO of a major worldwide telco ask ITU-T to take on the role of global coordinator of the various standards bodies involved in the development of NGN. Speaking at the 'All-Star Network Access' event, in Geneva, Mick Reeve BT Group's Technology Officer highlighted global standards coordination as a necessary step to ensure continued interoperation with other worldwide carriers. "21st Century Networks (NGN) will only succeed based on globally standardized components," he said. He also made it clear that his company is keen to focus on fewer standards development organizations and thus reduce its standardization expenditure, and avoid the development of conflicting standards.

Participants at the All Star event highlighted Internet protocol (IP) as the preferred layer of convergence, with Ethernet often mentioned as the 'natural language of IP'. It was concluded that - since so many different bodies are involved in the development of standards in the Ethernet domain - ITU-T should continue its attempts to facilitate better coordination of this work.

The event attracted 154 attendees from 23 different countries. An exhibition of access related kit and a demonstration of interoperability between broadband passive optical network (B-PON) equipment proved successful enough for ITU to consider including this type of feature more often at its workshops.
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ITU Group Gives Unbundling Advice
A recent meeting of Study Group 6 - the ITU-T group responsible for standardization of outside plant - saw agreement on a new Recommendation that provides guidelines for the complex task of 'unbundling'. Many incumbent operators around the world have been made to 'unbundle' or share their networks with other operators to create a more competitive environment. But it's not just a simple case of handing over a certain amount of capacity, or the keys to an exchange. To ensure the fair treatment of all players, there is a complex legal and regulatory framework to be adhered to. The new ITU-T Recommendation - L.62 - outlines a smooth path to unbundling, ensuring network integrity, ease of use of equipment, security and transparency to the end-user. The Recommendation relates to the technical aspects of copper local loop unbundling, and also provides some guidelines for co-location. 
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New Specs Pave Way for Fibre in the Home
ITU-T Study Group 6 has recently defined specifications relating to optical fibre cables for indoor application. As fibre to the home (FTTH) becomes a reality for many, there has been demand for standards that will make it easier for network operators to select and deploy the new technology. FTTH allows subscribers to enjoy unprecedented bandwidth and services. The Recommendation - L.59 - deals with the mechanical and environmental characteristics of the optical cables concerned. There are a number of operators now offering FTTH throughout the world. It is suggested that part of the reason for this is the reduction in cost of delivering FTTH, and this could be, in part, a result of standardization of different elements of the technology. Delivering services over fibre optic cable offers significant advantages in terms of bandwidth - many see the technology as providing the most obvious path to the 'triple play' of voice, video and data, that operators are vying to deliver to service hungry customers. 
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Regional Group Aims to Keep Call Revenue in Africa
A recent meeting of ITU-T’s Tariff Group for Africa (TAF) has agreed on a set of rules designed to keep the revenue from inter-African telephone calls within the continent. Transit rules typically mean that the last carrier of a call or ‘transit center’ receives a portion of the revenue of that call. Often, however, this has meant that - even if the call is between African countries - a carrier outside of Africa is the main beneficiary. The regional ITU-T Recommendation will encourage the use of transit mechanisms within Africa, to ensure that revenue benefits operators there. 

During the same period the Tariff Group for Latin America and the Caribbean (TAL) finalised details that define how accounting rates are applied in the region. The ‘cost methodologies’ agreed will be reflected in COSITU - ITU software that automates the calculation of costs, taxes, interconnection rates and tariffs for international services. 

Study Group 3's regional tariff groups form an interesting case study for encouraging the involvement of developing nations in the standardization activity of ITU-T. It is often difficult for members from the developing nations to justify attending study group meetings that involve much travel. The regional tariff groups provide a valuable way for developing nations to contribute to the standards making process.
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ITU-T Formal Languages Workshop
ITU is to hold a workshop on the use of ITU-T Formal Languages. The event to be held in Geneva will cover topics including the use of ITU-T formal languages in other standards organizations and in the development of next generation networks (NGN). ITU-T formal languages include ASN.1, UML, SDL and MSC. They are used by a wide community of people in the development of product and standards specifications. Recent years have seen ITU-T formal languages' domain expand from telecoms into areas as diverse as aeronautics and vehicle manufacture. The workshop will provide useful examples of languages at work as well as drive forward the use of languages in new areas.
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Productive First Meeting of NGN Focus Group
The recently announced next generation network (NGN) Focus Group met for the first time in June, Geneva. Technical work started following quick agreement on working procedures and the appointment of management. The technical areas earmarked for study are; service requirement; functional architecture, mobility; quality of service; security; control and signalling capability; evolution from existing networks, and future packet based bearer networks. Two draft texts have already been produced covering evolution to NGN. One draft recommends a phased approach to evolution from the existing, public switched telephone network (PSTN). The 100 participants also held discussions on how to relate their work to existing ITU and other SDO work. The next meeting of the group will take place July 19-23, also in Geneva.
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Cybersecurity Symposium - Details Finalised
The final details for ITU's previously announced Cybersecurity Symposium, Florianópolis, Brazil, 4 October have been confirmed. The one-day event will take place prior to the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) and will provide a high-level overview of this important topic.

High profile keynote speakers confirmed for the event include Frank Quick, Senior Vice President of Technology Corporate Research and Development, Qualcomm and Charles Brookson, Head of Technology and Standards, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), UK speaking at a session entitled 'Cybersecurity Threats - What are the Issues'.

Other sessions see Arkadi Kremer, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Russian Association of Networks and Services speak on 'Experiences and Responses to Cybersecurity Threats', and Mr Alex Webling, Special Adviser, National Information Infrastructure Protection, Information and Security Law Branch as well as Walter Fumy, Vice-President, Security Technology, Siemens addressing the topic 'Standards, Policy, Regulatory and Legal Aspects'.

More details can be found here.
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Products and Services - Technical highlights
ITU-T has produced a number of flyers that introduce specific areas of the the standard making group’s work. Produced in collaboration with Study Group experts they provide a brief overview of the technical aspects of work in that area, often with a schematic to provide a graphical representation and a map to show how standards families are linked. Topics covered so far are; ASN.1 (abstract syntax notation one); ASON (automatically switched optical network); B-PON (broadband passive optical network); CWDM (coarse wavelength division multiplexing); DSL (digital subscriber line); G-PON (gigabit-capable passive optical network); H.350, directory services for multimedia; IMT-2000, next generation mobile solutions; multimedia communications; optical fibres and cables; OTN (optical transport network); OTS (optical transmission systems); QoS; Security. In the pipeline are flyers covering next generation networks (NGN) and numbering naming and addressing. They can all be found here (under the heading technical highlights), or send requests for paper versions to
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