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ITU-T e-FLASH - Issue No. 7


Telecommunication Standardization Sector

Issue No. 7 August 2004


 NGN Focus Group starts Release 1
The Focus Group on NGN is gaining momentum. Only three weeks after its inaugural meeting at the end of June 2004, the Focus Group held its second meeting in Geneva, 19-23 July 2004 with more than 60 contributions and 70 participants.

At this meeting the "Release" concept was agreed and work was started on the "Release 1" service and capability sets. The release concept has started towards initial draft texts such as functional requirements and architecture, QoS, and evolution to NGN. The structure of the Focus Group was completed by appointing the leaders of the working group "Control and signalling capability" at their first meeting.

The third meeting will be held in Ottawa, Canada, 27 September - 1 October 2004. [more...]

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 Joint ICANN/ITU ccTLD Workshop
ICANN and ITU-T held a joint workshop on ccTLDs in Kuala Lumpur on 24 July 2004. Mr. Zhao, Director of TSB and Mr. Twomey, President of ICANN, provided the opening remarks. The purpose of this joint ICANN/ITU-T open workshop was to focus on the operation of the ccTLD and to give an opportunity for ccTLD operators and Member States to share their experiences. This workshop complemented the ITU-T Workshop on Member States' Experiences with ccTLD, March 2003.

The workshop was attended by over 150 participants and the presentations can be found here.

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 Video Codec's March Continues
Following the news that H.264/AVC (Advanced Video Coding) has been adopted for use in next generation high definition DVDs, the codec's popularity seems to be growing daily. Recent reports have shown a raft of companies announcing deployment plans and demos at industry events.

The video compression standard (full name H.264 or MPEG-4 pt.10/ AVC) jointly developed by ITU-T and the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) is now being deployed in products from companies including Apple, Sony, BT, France Telecom, Intel, Motorola, Nokia, Polycom, Samsung, Tandberg and Toshiba.

"Apple is firmly behind H.264 because it delivers superb quality digital video and is based on open standards that no single company controls," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing in a company press release.

Apple’s website describes H.264: "This ultra-efficient, fully scalable video technology produces higher quality video at lower data rates for everything from 3G to HD."

Reports from the recent National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas say that there were dozens of announcements and demonstrations of H.264.

H.264/AVC is the first truly scalable video codec, delivering excellent quality across the entire bandwidth spectrum - from high definition television to videoconferencing and 3G mobile multimedia. The dramatically increased compression performance of H.264 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 that were previously impractical because of economics or technology.

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 OCAF Focus Group Announces Board of Directors, Scope and Operational Structure
At their meeting of 29 July 2004, the Open Communication Architecture Forum (OCAF), a Focus Group of ITU-T, announced its Board of Directors. The newly elected OCAF leadership team includes:
  • Doug Dreyer (Chairman), IBM
  • Subhash Patel (Vice Chairman), Nortel Networks
In addition, each founding member organization has a position on the board of directors.

The OCAF Focus Group work is organized under two Working Groups:
  • the Solution Working Group (co-chaired by Marcus Dormanns, Deutsche Telekom and Laurent Hue, France Telecom); and
  • the Carrier Grade Open Environment Working Group (CGOE, co-chaired by Max Bornschlegl , Siemens and Ed Bailey, IBM).
The Solutions Working Group will review service scenarios, service descriptors and use case descriptors from other standards organizations as a starting point and will develop a component/product solution map. The process will identify functional requirements (AAA, Logging, Signaling etc) non-functional requirements (such as scalability, availability, security and legal) and technical and OA&M requirements in creating this mapping. To help start the exercise and converge on a process, the group has been developing solution and product maps for push-to-talk and IP Centrex.

The Carrier Grade Open Environment Working Group will develop a reference model using open industry standards and external interfaces to assist identification, classification, and interoperation of Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) components that satisfy the requirements of NGN services defined by the OCAF Solutions Working Group. CGOE will use the reference model to encourage other standards groups on gaps in their standards and interfaces and to stimulate creation of comprehensive eco-system of COTS components that satisfy the CGOE. [more...]

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 Sprint Exec Highlights Operations Challenges
Kathy Walker Executive Vice President of Sprint Communications highlighted four key challenges for service and network operations at the latest meeting of ITU-T's service and network operations group (SNOg).

Walker speaking as a key note at the meeting in Missouri, identified the end-to-end measure of service management; the gaining of operational efficiencies to compete with outsourcing; the mapping of operational metrics to customer experience; and sharing knowledge and learning, as key to ensuring smooth service and network operations.

SNOg is linked to ITU-T's Study Group 2 and was previously known as the Network Management Development Group (NMDG). In February, 2005 the group will celebrate its silver anniversary, having formed in 1980.

The group was renamed according to SNOg's Chairman, Morris Flory, in order to emphasise a focus on service providers' operations.

Flory says that 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.

Other topics covered at the meeting included service level management, security management, voice quality measurement and disaster preparedness.

Speaking of SNOg, Sprint's Walker said: "SNOg provides significant benefits to Sprint, other telecom providers and vendors. It's a great opportunity for open communication, shared learnings, and the development of best practices that will bring our customers the quality products and services they want and deserve. With the world, the business environment and telecom changing at breakneck speed, it's refreshing to have candid dialogue and planning with colleagues."

To learn more about SNOg please contact the Chairman at

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 ITU-T Penned Articles Underline VPN Work
ITU-T experts are frequent contributors to specialist publications in the ICT field. Recent examples concentrate on the topic of virtual private networks (VPN). The articles were published in the standardization section of the June 2004 edition of IEEE Communications, for which Yoichi Maeda, Chairman of Working Party 3 in ITU-T Study Group 13 acted as guest editor.

The articles recognise the key role that ITU-T, and SG 13 in particular, has played in the launch and promotion of VPN standardisation activity.

Marco Carugi, who is an ITU-T Rapporteur in the SG 13 working party looking at Mechanisms to Allow IP-Based Services Using MPLS to Operate in Public Networks says: "I believe this constitutes an important acknowledgement of Study Group 13 efforts in this area. IEEE Communications is considered one of the leading publications in this field. And, VPNs are one of the most important data networking topics of today. The articles are probably the first attempt to represent an overview of the most recent standardization achievements in the VPN area."

The first article is titled, Virtual Private Networks Services: Scenarios, Requirements and Architectural Constructs from a Standardization Perspective. The authors describe scenarios, general requirements, and architectural constructs for VPN services. The key technical approaches in the service provider solution space and VPN related standardization efforts are introduced.

The second article presents the main developments in the emerging domain of Layer 1 VPNs inside ITU-T SG 13. Carugi says this work presents an interesting service opportunity for carriers' future optical network deployments. The article is titled, Virtual Private Networks: Service Concepts, Architecture Requirements, and Related Advances in Standardization. In it the authors describe service concepts, service requirements, and high-level network architecture requirements for layer 1 virtual private network service. It also considers progress achieved in standardization, much of which has taken place in Study Group 13.

Finally, a third article focuses on L2 and L3 VPN solutions. It's titled, Layer 2 and 3 Virtual Private Networks: Taxonomy, Technology, and Standardization Efforts. The piece looks at the way in which VPN services are often classified by the OSI layer at which the VPN service provider's systems interchange VPN reachability information with customer sites. Layer 2 and 3 VPN services are currently being designed and deployed, even as the related standards are being developed.

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 ITU-T approves new Recommendation P.1010 on Fundamental Voice Transmission Objectives for VoIP Terminals and Gateways
With this first Recommendation in the new P.1000 series, which provides requirements for the fundamental parameters impacting 3.1 KHz telephony voice quality in VoIP terminals and gateways including loudness, delay and echo path loss, the ITU-T answers the industry's demand for voice transmission requirements of VoIP end-points which fulfill the needs of all key deployment scenarios. A key point is compatibility between terminal and network performance requirements to achieve satisfactory voice quality in end-to-end VoIP networks.

Further Recommendations in this new P.1000 series are planned to include requirements for wideband audio over IP and more detailed test set-up descriptions and test methodologies.

The final text of P.1010 has already been pre-published.

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