Monday, October 25, 2004


The World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) has drawn to a close with a plan for future global standards-setting and a clear statement about the direction of the future work of ITU-T. Internet-related issues and next generation networks emerged as key areas. 475 delegates from 75 countries participated.

The WTSA Special gives a good overview on the issues dealt with:

Assembly outlines future global standards-setting
New Study Group on next generation networks
Internet related issues
Technology watch
Greater involvement of developing countries in standardization activities
Working methods
Structure of the sector and priorities of the work programme
Gender mainstreaming
Upcoming Events
Information Links

Related to VoIP and ENUM, the following topics are of prime interest:

New Study Group on next generation networks

Next generation networks represent the future evolution of current fixed and mobile networks. The fundamental difference between NGN and today’s network is the switch from current ‘circuit-switched’ networks to ‘packet-based’ systems such as those using Internet Protocol (IP). NGN is expected to give fixed-line and mobile users completely seamless communication and to offer unrestricted access by users to different service providers in a multi-service, multi-protocol, multi-vendor environment. The need for global standards for NGN is therefore critical as most operators expect to move to an IP infrastructure.

Against this background, WTSA decided to create a new study group for NGN. In addition to taking over the tasks foreseen for the former Study Group 13, the new study group will deal with all questions relating to architecture and frameworks for NGN. It will also decide on the future of the Focus Group that had been established prior to WTSA-04. Focus groups are set up to augment the study group work programme by providing an alternative working environment for the quick development of specifications in their chosen areas.

The signalling requirements for NGN will be developed by the new study group in conjunction with Study Group 11 (signalling). Coordination of all NGN-related activities in other study groups will also be the responsibility of the new NGN study group. To this end, other study groups will develop detailed Recommendations based on the requirements expressed by the NGN study group. The new study group will be assisted in its work by a joint coordination mechanism set up to coordinate core NGN studies in the area of mobility, signalling, naming, numbering, addressing and routing.

The first meeting of the new Study Group (13) will take place from 7 to 17 December this year.

Naming, numbering, addressing, routing and identification resources

The rapidly increasing use of mobile networks and the proliferation of services beyond traditional voice telephony require a separation of user identity from terminal identity and from geographic location, while not compromising global interconnectivity. With the anticipated development of new networks — or next generation networks — and their associated capabilities, it will be necessary to address new telecommunication services which will require unique numbering, naming and addressing capabilities. These capabilities have the potential to be significantly different from those applicable to currently deployed (legacy) networks, yet it is essential that they interwork fully with this legacy environment in order to allow any user to identify and reach any other user wherever they are in the world.

To this end, the work programme of Study Group 2, responsible for the operational aspects of service provision, networks and performance, will also examine naming, numbering, addressing and routing (NNAR) for NGN.

In addition, the Assembly revised a resolution on the allocation of international telecommunication numbering, naming, addressing and identification codes such as country codes, signalling area and network codes, data country codes, mobile country codes, etc. Based on the recognition that it is in the best interests of ITU members to build and maintain confidence in the use of telecom services, the text reaffirms the responsibility of ITU in this area and underlines the general principles governing the assignment, reassignment or reclamation of such international resources. It also asks study groups to provide advice and guidance on such issues, particularly in cases of complaints about misuses of an international numbering resource.


Considering the work carried out by ITU-T on electronic numbering (ENUM) and remaining unresolved issues, WTSA tasked Study Group 2 to examine how ITU could have administrative control over changes relating to international telecommunication resources including naming, numbering, addressing and routing used for ENUM.

ENUM is an Internet telephone number mapping protocol. Under the proposed ENUM protocol, and subject to national authorities and end-user approval, it will be possible for consumers to use a single number to access many types of terminals and services, such as phone, fax, e-mail, pager, mobile phones, websites or any other services available through an Internet addressing scheme, at home, at work or while roaming.

Country Code Top Level Domain Names

Given that there are still issues that need to be addressed relating to the delegation of country code top level domains (ccTLD) to entities designated by national authorities, a new resolution was adopted, instructing ITU-T Study Group 2 to work with governments and industry to review Member States’ ccTLD experiences.

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