Thursday, June 30, 2005

Gizmo - Another me-too Skype - or more? 

Just before I have to check-out from the hotel here in Miami I received e-mail from Michael Robertson (sipphone) announcing the launch of the Gizmo Project. Gizmo is a try to replace closed and propriatory Skype walled-garden NGN with an open SIP product. I had no time to check it out yet, but anybody can do so on his own.

I will report back on this later.

BTW, Gizmo is NOT ENUM enabled ;-) Yet?

Cable sharing, Port Blocking and E911 

Tom Keating has an interesting point regarding the discussion on port blocking and E911:
According to a Forbes article, the recent Supreme Court Ruling against a small Internet service provider called Brand X Internet will open the door to VoIP blocking. The Supreme Court ruled that cable operators don't need to share their broadband access lines with other businesses. Thus, the Forbes article "theorizes" that this will lead to VoIP port blocking by the cable broadband providers by stating, "That's good news for big cable companies but could be trouble for voice-over-Internet Protocol providers like Vonage, which sell digital phone service."
According to Tom this may not happen because:
All it takes is one 911 call to fail due to cable companies performing port blocking and the million dollar lawsuit that will ensue will keep the cable companies in line. The liability is just to great. The FCC will step in and prevent this from happening. If not the FCC then certainly Congress will step in if rampant port blocking were to occur.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

E911 Clock is ticking 

Jeff reports that the FCC's "E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers" Order was published in the Federal Register today. He also gives the timeline, ending on:

28.11.2005 -- 120 day deadline for compliance

Jeff is also making those not offering what would currently satisfy the definition of an "Interconnected VoIP Service," to be aware that the Notice attached to the Order asking whether the FCC should extend E911 obligations to providers of other VoIP services that are not covered by the rules adopted in the current Order:

For instance, the FCC asks what E911 obligations, if any, should apply to VoIP services that are not fully interconnected to the PSTN? Specifically, should E911 obligations apply to VoIP services that enable users to terminate calls to the PSTN but do not permit users to receive calls that originate on the PSTN? Should E911 obligations apply to the converse situation in which a VoIP service enables users to receive calls from the PSTN but does not permit the user to make calls terminating to the PSTN? The FCC tentatively concluded that "a provider of a VoIP service offering that permits users generally to receive calls that originate on the PSTN and separately makes available a different offering that permits users generally to terminate calls to the PSTN should be subject to the E911 obligations if a user can combine those separate offerings or can use them simultaneously or in immediate succession." Comments are due August 15 and Reply Comments are due September 12.

As I already stated is the final goal to make emergency services finally available from any device connected to the Internet. So the discussion if the availability of a connection to the PSTN is provided (in or out or up and down, by whom and if you have a phone number) is useless, because it distracts only from the basic issue.

Regulators tend also to think nationally and do not care about foreigners visiting a country or own citizens visiting other countries, but here a global solution is necessary.

There are three high priority issues:

1. IETF WG ECRIT should be supported by any means to provide a global solution as soon as possible.

2. PSAPs should start now to provide access from the Internet.

3. In the meantime every country should start immediately to think about providing Emergency Service Routing Proxies (ESRP) accessible by any VoIP provider to accept emergency calls and feed them via gateways into the national PSTN network and route these calls either to default PSAPs or do the proper mapping if a location is provided. The ESRP should also provide pseudo-CLI to give the PSAPs access to the location data and also enable callback to VoIP providers not using E.164 numbers. PSAPs offering access from the Internet will already be accessed directly, either via the ESRP or via a global mapping database (e.g. LUMP).

VoIP providers would have in such a way easy access to emergency services globally and would have no excuse not to provide such an access. Within one year at least access to a national or state default PSAP could be provided in any country from any VoIP enabled device, except from VPN-users and they could be made aware of the problem and would be required to enter their location manually as now required.

Putting the efforts in these activities would be much more productive then discussing what an "interconnected" VoIP provider is.

Mango is connected 

Mango is of course connected with WiFi Posted by Hello


Shin seems to be very distracted Posted by Hello


Tim and Shin Posted by Hello


A really nice place Posted by Hello

Mango at South Beach 

A Nice Place Posted by Hello

Mango Tropical Cafe 

After Dinner Mango Posted by Hello

Dinner at South Beach 

Tim, Jay, Michael and ScottPosted by Hello

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

IQPC ENUM Summit 2005 in Miami, FL 

Todays morning session featured approx. 100 partizipants Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Shocking - ETSI under Investigation 

Due to my blog back-log, I discovered this post a bit late - David Isenberg is shocked and I am too ;-) He is pointing to Forbes, reporting the following:

EU confirms investigation into telecom standards body

BRUSSELS (AFX) - The European Commission has confirmed a story in the Financial Times, saying it is investigating the EU's main telecoms standards body to determine if it is favouring particular companies' technology.

The commission fears that the European Telecommunications Standards Institute is setting industry-wide rules that force companies to use technology provided by one company.

In practice, this means that companies operating in the sector that are close to ETSI could be pushing their technologies forward as a standard, giving themselves an unfair leading edge in the market.

Jonathan Todd, spokesman for competition at the commission, said: 'The commission is investigating with a view to ensuring that standards are set in a transparent manner without favouring any one particular company.'

Tony Rutkowski comments:

ETSI's processes are among the most open and transparent in the works, with very large numbers of participants. The referenced "investigation" appears to be little more than a hypothetical double-check. One wonders what would be found if other telecom standards bodies were subject to the same level of scrutiny.

I can only agree here: considering e.g. the IETF also is a telecommunication standards body and some times I have the impression the works are not so transparent and open ....

Sunrise in Miami 

Good Morning, Miami Posted by Hello

Carrier ENUM, SIP URIs and the DNS - Part2 

In my last post I mentioned the problem of "Public User Identifiers" that are not or only partially public. This is the general problem of the NGNs to use IETF protocols and also part of the Internet Infrastructure on one side, but basically do not want to be connected really.

So what we have is:
- SIP Proxy not allowing you to connect
- SIP proxy filtering addresses
- Domain names reserved but not resolving (e.g.
- "Public" IP addresses not reachable from the Internet and finally
- "Public" User Identifiers" valid only within certain networks:

I strongly recommend to read the publicly available GSMA document IR.65 IMS Roaming and Interworking Guidelines, especially section 8, to understand the problem they have first and then continue reading the text I posted this week on the TISPAN WG4 mailing list (and received no answer yet). Other GSMA PRDs may be downloaded from here.


Dear all,

Coming back from Stockholm, I re-read the public GSM-A document IR.65 "IMS Roaming & Interworking Guidelines" and here especially Section 8 "Addressing and Routing"

So I would like to get some questions answered from GSMA and also how TISPAN is dealing with these issues?

In Section 8.1 "User addressing" is clearly stated:

In addition to private used identity, every IMS user has one or more public user identities. The public user identity is used in e.g. user-to-user communication. For example, it might be included on a business card."

If I can include a PUI on my business card, I expect it to stand there alone and not with a footnote stating:
*) to be used only in A1/Vodafone/mobile IMS/TISPAN NGN/etc.
I expect it to be usable in PUBLIC like an e-mail address.

Q1, This implies that access from the Internet TO IMS is needed, how is this achieved?

Q2. How is the public DNS accessed from within an IMS network?

This two questions should be added to the issues in WG4TD18.

Public user identities can be used to identify the user's information within the HSS. Format of public user identity is either SIP URI (RFC 3261 & RFC 2396) or the "tel:"-URI format (RFC 2806), for example or tel: +358405344455."

From the example given and other text one may come to the conclusion that IMS networks may host two types of Public User Identities:

A non-portable PUI in the form
A portable PUI in the form

The latter option is very interesting because it requires a hosting of a user provided domain name with the operator. This could be achieved by providing SRV records in the users domain pointing to a X-CSCF? On the public Internet.

There is only a BIG problem here, not only for type PUI, but even for type PUI as stated later in Section 8.4 "Interworking Specific Issues":

IMS interworking needs additional support regarding used domains, since recipient belonging to another operator is addressed with user-friendly public user identity such as instead of Originating operator needs to be able to route INVITE SIP request towards >recipient's I-CSCF based on only this domain.

Therefore there has to some method mapping domain and the corresponding
I-CSCF IP address. Logically this method would be DNS, but this is a bit problematic.

A BIT problematic? Is it? Now it comes:

Public DNS likely cannot be used in this, since I-CSCF IP addresses should not be available in public Internet. GRX DNS can neither be used, since GRX DNS should not be used to resolve public domains such as

Again a Catch 22 ;-)

So if this even does not work for, how can one expect this to work for You cannot use public DNS, and you cannot use GRX either.

The proposed ways out of this problem are problematic even for, they are impossible for

There are some ways to solve this DNS usage issue; all of these require the originating operator maintaining some kind of system by itself to support IMS interworking.

Back to de-centralized management of all domain names?

This kind of distributed functionality is needed, since GRX DNS itself should not handle .com type of domain names.

Logically, because this would just shift the problem of maintaining a separate complete DNS system

Main issue is to route all IMS inter-operator related queries to stay within the operator community (i.e. use only inter-operator DNS hierarchy), thus Internet DNS should be queried only in the case of traffic destined to external networks.

Ok, that means a split horizon in GRX for all's, and nice to hear that THERE IS a way to query the Internet DNS. The question is only how this is done, because above this is excluded.

Three ways to solve this issue:
* Use operator's internal DNS (or other database) to store statically configured information mapping domain to I-CSCF IP address (not recommended due to amount of manual labour needed in configuring this static information)

Good that this is not recommended.

* Better solution would be to use a dynamic query, where each operator would deploy a "private operator DNS server", that replies with correct I-CSCF IP address when another "private operator DNS server" queries it. Addresses of these operator DNS servers itself would be stored in e.g. IR.21 database.
Implementing this does not necessarily require additional equipment, for example the existing operator DNS server that is needed anyway due to e.g. GPRS roaming, can be reused for this purpose. Benefit of using this is reducing the number of static mappings to just one thus reducing management efforts and also handling of domain names becomes easier

I do not understand this, can anybody please explain. I only have the impression that this does not solve the problem either

* Third possible solution uses domain name rewriting by adding "mncXXX.mccYYY.gprs" to the domains that need to be resolved (e.g. =>, therefore making these public domains resolvable for the GRX DNS. Rewriting can be done by the CSCF using internal rewrite lists mapping used public domain name and the corresponding MNC & MCC. But a better solution is to utilize NAPTR (Naming Authority Pointer Resource Record of DNS, RFC 3401-4) domain rewrite rules in the local operator DNS,
If DNS solution is used, then CSCF sends a query for DNS concerning the public domain to be resolved. DNS reply contains the rewritten domain name, fetched from the domain specific NAPTR field. Supporting this kind of functionality means that each operator would maintain a list of its IMS partners in its local DNS
Note: The operator should register the domain used in public user identity in order to prevent any problems. Also, it might be beneficial if operators could agree on the used domain model for IMS public user addressing, e.g. However, various different domains can be handled, as long as everybody is aware of which domain belongs to which operator. For example, these domains could be listed in IR.21 database.

I also do not understand this proposal in detail, but it also works only for known operator names such as and not for

Since type of domains can exist also in public Internet, care is needed with domain queries in order to avoid mixing these two separate issues. For example it might be possible for IMS user to connect also to fixed line SIP clients, therefore this fixed line recipient (such as needs to be discovered by utilizing normal public internet DNS queries. One solution could be to first check every outgoing domain with internal mapping mechanism and if no I-CSCF is found, then query this domain from public internet DNS and route it there.

Now this is an interesting one, because here at least outbound calls to other "operator domains" such as "" are mentioned, so

1. Again you need to access the public Internet DNS and
2. you also need to interconnect with the public Internet outbound.

This raises the minor question how to "call back" into the IMS?
And this loops back to my first question raised:
This implies that access from the Internet TO IMS is needed, how is this achieved?

Carrier ENUM, SIP URIs and the DNS - Part1 

On the IETF enum-wg mailing list there is a discussion going on for some time on if and how carrier ENUM should be implemented. The discussion was triggered by the recently submitted draft-pfautz-lind-enum-carrier-user-00 and also by a related contribution submitted to the US ENUM Forum.

The discussion centers currenty around the issue if Carrier ENUM should be implemented in

1. ENUM trees not visible to the public Internet

2. in a separate tree on the public Internet,
2a. in parallel to (e.g. or
2b. below (e.g.
2c. Below the cc-delegations (e.g.
in all these cases user ENUM as it is now would not be influenced.

3. Within Tier 1 of Here again to oprions exists:
3a. using non-terminal NAPTRs, as proposed in the draft
3b. using terminal NAPTRs to avaoid some of the problens caused by non-terminals
in these case user ENUM in would be influenced, because ENUM clients need
to be aware of these new architecture and NAPTRs and also additional DNS queries are

One part of he discussion circled around the question if the pointers contained in Carrier ENUM would be visible and resolvable in public DNS.

So the basic question is NOT Carrier ENUM, it is the publc availability of the SIP URI.

I made some entries regarding to this problem to the list, which I copy here:

The discussion regarding User vs Carrier ENUM and where to place is circling around the central point of the problem, which is the future usability and purpose of a sip: URI

SIP was originally modelled along the lines of the e-mail architecture and in every presentation from Henry and Alan at the VON SIP Tutorial you see the famous SIP trapeziod:

A user is sending an invite to a proxy, containing and Address-of-Record (AoR) in the form of a SIP URI The proxy is querying the DNS the domain for SRV-records (=MX) and forwarding the invite to the proxy serving the The proxy has either the "user" registered" already and know where in the world the user is attached to the Internet, or the proxy knows what to do with the call, e.g. connects to a voice-box.


No need for E.164 numbers.

User ENUM now started with the basic idea that if a user has such a SIP URI, and he has also an E.164 number, he may hint that somebody trying to establish a call in the Internet and knowing only the E.164 number that he has also a SIP URI to be reached also there.

User ENUM without SIP URIs is useless.

Now lets look at Carriers. Originally the carriers had only E.164 numbers and where only on the PSTN. Carrier ENUM could have been useful there as IN-SCP replacement for NP, holding tel: records with routing numbers Nice idea, but nobody was interested.

Then the carrier moved on also to VoIP. After some experiements, e.g with H.323 they finally settled on using SIP (the same arguments are BTW also valid for H323). For using SIP you basically need a sip URI as AoR. The best example is the 3GPP IMS model. 3GPP is using two types of SIP URIs: the private User Identity, basically derived by some algorith from the IMSI and used with registration to find the home network and the Public User Identity. The Public User Identity is a SIP URI which should be known also by the User, because it is basically the means to establish a call: e.g., or even

Now the queston comes up, how public is public. Naive netheads would assume you just put an SRV record in to point to the whatever-CSCF Not so, this is bad for a number of reasons I do not want elaborate further here, but there may some 3GPP and TISPAN experts out there willing to explain.

So if even this is bad, you are not giving anything about which user belongs to you and how many away with this, only eventually the IP address of you SBC. But since they do not want to be reached from the Internet anyway,because they do not get termination charges, this is
a minor problem (how public is public?)

Now we come to the real problem: every has also a E.164 number attached to him, for compatibility with the PSTN and also users on 3G may want to continue to use E.164 for various reasons also stated many times by Rich Shockey.

Since they want to interconnect via IP and not via the PSTN (really), they need a mapping from E.164 numbers to the Public User IDs (SIP URIs) to route the calls properly. You do not need the mapping of you own E.164 number, this is done at the SIP proxy, you need the mapping of all other numbers. This is done best with all call query via a global NP database, giving you the E.164 to provider mapping. If you get as an additioanl bonus the routing information (the IP address of the proxy, One possible solution for this problem is a Carrier ENUM tree. Done..Fine

One would think.

The problem is: they do not want their compet... partners
1. to know how many users they have
2. who these users are - the partner may just make call and alienate him

So even putting the ENUM tree in an extranet only accessible by partners does not help to solve this problem, because the partners are not really partners.

And in addition there are still "partners" and others, so you cannot peer with them; they have their own tree, this creating the ENUM forest.

Even if all decide to use the same global tree, and regardless if this tree is public ( or or somewhere else, it does not solve the basic problem, because this is a Catch 22.

Ideas to have a ENUM tree where my entries can only be seen by some others I decide to do so, is the perverting the whole idea, and proves the fact that these operators do care about everything, but not about their customers.

Can you imagine an announcement on the PSTN like this:

"the user you are calling is hosted with a provider we have no interconnect agreement with, so we are sorry that we cannot complete your call. Tell your friend to move over to a provider we have an agreement with, but be aware, we may change our interconnect agreements at any time without prior notice, so tell you friend to move quickly, because in one month this may have changed already."

So either the carriers get their whatever together and introduce an ACQ in public space (because of the Public User Identities) or they forget the whole issue.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Skyping from Lufthansa 

Today I was travelling from Frankfurt to Miami on my way to the ENUM Summit on a Lufthansa Boing 747 equipped with Wireless LAN and an Internet Connexion. Since some of the co-bloggers already bragged about Skype in the Air, I had to try it out immediately, first calling my wife on her mobile and then chatting and talking with some of my Skype buddies. Everybody confirmed that the quality was excellent, even if I was not using a headset and considering the background noise in the plane. The price of the Internet connection for the whole 10h flight was $29, which i quite reasonalble compared with mobile date roaming charges.

Weather in Miami is hot and humid, and aircondition at the airport needs an overhaul, especially at the passport control. Travelling to the US is getting more and more a pain in the a**. Although over 30 positions where open, it took me 1h to pass. Since Miami seems to be the only airport in the US where you have separate queues on each position, I again made the usual mistake to take the shortest queue, which of course was the slowest.

I basically have no idea why I still need to fill out this green form, having my passport scanned in Vienna and Frankfurt and they have me on record since years. Taking the picture and scanning the fingerprints is the least problem, it is all this paperwork and stamping and correcting the addess in the US and ...

Again I reccommend to do future meetings in Canada or the US is giving me a Visa which allows me to go through a fast lane.

I also again propose that any US citizen has to fill out a similar form with the same silly questions and has to queue up separate. The form has to be checked extensively to be filled out correctly and then they may throw it in the wastebasket.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

UK and French EU Contribution - Nebbich 

The EU Summit failed and everybody is blaming everybody (except the new members - they where the only ones which wanted to compromise, and Junckers blushed shamefully). But what was all this about: each UK citizen has to pay netto 69 Euro and the French only 32 Euro per year. Is this worthwhile to let the whole EU construct fall apart?

From a Vienna citizen's point of view I can only say: Nebbich.

I already stated here that the Vienna goverment alone has more civil servants then the whole EU. Today there was an article in a Vienna Newpaper that each Vienna citizen has to pay 21 Euro ONLY for the public relations expenses of the Vienna politicians. I really do not want to know what we pay for the whole Vienna government, not to mention the Austrian government. What we have to pay for the EU is compared to this below any threshold of perception.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

FT planning to take-over C&W 

According to the "Sunday Telegraph" France Telecom is working on a take-over of Cable & Wireless for 4 Bio GPB, also to achieve synergy with Orange. The rumors are coming from sources near Michel Combes, CFO of FT.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Quod licet Mobi, not licet VoIPi - or Vodafone alone @home 

I currently have a serious blog block, because I am at the moment too busy e.g. trying to fix some minor problems TISPAN did not think about in the last year within one week at the TISPAN WG4 meeting here in Stockholm, e.g. how set up a call between TISPAN network A and TISPAN network B via IP, not to mention roaming (this is not an issue at all, because it is not in Release 1). Before one jumps in and posts the comment: what is the problem here, if you use the Internet? This is exactly the problem, they do not want to use the Internet because it is pfui gack. (Which translates to the public to no QoS, unreliable, full of spammers, spimmers, spitters and DoS-attackers, in private to: NO CHARGES can be collected). BTW, since approx. three days I get very interesting SMS out of nowhere e.g .ac, shouldn't this be now .xxx?)

During this meeting a colleague from Vodafone Germany proudly presented the latest Vodafone service to me: Vodafone (alone)@home or "Vodafone Zuhause". (Vodafone allein Zuhause ;-)

If you subscribe to this service, you get an additional SIMcard AND a new geographic number and you can use the SIMcard in any mobile phone within a radius of approx. 2km from your registered home address. If you leave the 2km radius, the phone stops working. In- and OutCalls are tariffed according to fixed tariffs and not like mobile tariffs (this makes a big difference in Europe).

Now this service raises some interesting questions related to the current discussions on availability of geographic numbers for nomadic VoIP services and also regarding access to emergency services for VoIP.

E.g. in Austria according to the current regulation a geographic number can only be provided if a fixed network termination exists at the given address and the address is within the geographic area indicated by the geographic number. This definition has already be stretched by mobile operators to the maximum possible with "Mobile Centrex", providing geographic numbers with DDI to reach also mobile phones. In the extreme implementation all extensions are mobile, except the switchboard, which may also be connected wireless i.e a mobile phone, but has to be nailed to the wall to provide a fixed network termination point. I am not making this up, for details see here (German only).

Since emergency service call takers assume that calls from geographic numbers are originating from the fixed location given, how does this comply with the rulemaking proposed for VoIP?

The Vodafone@home solution is explicetely marketed as replacement of your fixed line phone, potentially running out of battery and dropping dead if you leave the 2km radius. Ok, in Germany you may still use the mobile phone for emergency calls, because in Germany (and Austria) you still may place emergency calls without a SIM-cards and without being registered with your provider, but this may change soon. The reason is that emergency call takers getting fed-up being used as test-number by people in mobile-phone second-hand-shops and at flea-markets checking out if the mobile phone is working. This is BTW the only way to do so, because nobody thought about implementing a real test-number.

Is now a sticker required also on each such mobile phone with a geographic number stating that using this mobile phone may cause serious harm to your health and that of your children? I suggest to re-cycle for this purpose the same warnings placed now on cigarette-packs, e.g." if you are pregnant you may not reach the hospital in time."

Interestingly is not (yet?) offering to port your existing geographic number to the mobile phone, you get a new number. One reason could be that they do not want to blow Deutsche Telekom out of the water in one step, but in small doses. It will also be interesting to watch how T-Mobile will (be allowed to) react to this.

Summary: It is one thing to place strict rules against underdogs and another against a powerful lobby or as the old Romans already knew: Quod licet Jovi, not licet bovi.

Friday, June 10, 2005

EU logging spam 

Steve from Eurorotechnews points to a Net4Nowt :: News Story about a new directive from the Commision which is forcing the ISPs to keep a log containing basically the data how many spam messages one receives. VoIP providers now need to keep track that Detlev32 has called RingoStar4711 and when. Of course on their own expense as usual.

Another stupid act of some European politicians, but not all:

The European Parliament's efforts to stop the contentious Framework Decision on Data Retention have failed. Under it, ISPs and telcos will now be compelled to collect data on their users.

Unfortunately, despite the measures the European Parliament committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) believe "Individuals involved in organised crime and terrorism will easily find a way to prevent their data from being traced," "Possible ways of doing so include using 'front men' to buy telephone cards or switching between mobile phones from foreign providers, using public telephones, changing the IP or e-mail address when using an e-mail service or simply using Internet service providers outside Europe not subject to data retention obligations. If all the traffic data covered by the proposal did indeed have to be stored, the network of a large Internet provider would, even at today's traffic levels, accumulate a data volume of 20 - 40 000 terabytes.

The act requires phone companies and ISPs to retain customer data such as the time, date and location of sent and received emails and phone calls for 12 to 36 months. The content of the communications, however, will not be retained.”

How nice.

Skype Fisher Price Communication 

Martin wrote about a gadget he wants (I think basically for himself to play with) - a Skype toy-phone with five coloured buttons and Patrizia was shocked ;-)

She did not want young children already to be the same pain in the a** than older kids up to the age of 80 I experience everyday in the commuter train being forced to listen to completely useless hot air communications, such as: "I am now in the S-Bahn at station such-and-such (we all see) and soon will be whocares, where are you? (luckily we do not hear the response), yesterday I was there and tomorrow I will be there, it is starting raining, ... Only very rarely the whole car is involved in really interesting things e.g. in a life divorce by phone and similar soaps.

The old "kids" are definitely the worst because they think if they have hearing problems the other side must be deaf too and are shouting like mad. I always tell them if they would open the window they could save the phone charges. You are not even save in the underground because it is connected also.

Sometimes I start making comments to the conversation in front of me, and if I am lucky, I get a response like: "This is none of your business!", so I can reply: "That's exactly my point!" I am afraid of the day when mobile phones will be allowed on planes.

Patriza, stay calm, relax, this will not happen, gadget freaks like Martin are not a big enough market and you cannot sell this to kids. Why?

Some mobile phone companies tried to launch exactly the same gadget - a five button cell phone with pre-set numbers - approx. 3 years ago, and similar concerns where raised, but it did not fly anyway. Kids simply did not want it, because it is not cool. Even in kindergarten if one shows up with such a phone the other kids (featuring sleek Samsung phones) are ROTFL about this whimp. No way!

On the other hand, being obviously the same generation as Patriza, I often ask myself how to deal regarding the kids with communications and the Internet.

Basically kids are always doing things parents do not like them to do. Parents like their kids to do useful things, and kids want to do interesting things and things other kids do or deem interesting. Also the understanding of "useful" may vary extremely, also over time.

My grandparents told my parents not to ruin their eyes with reading books, they should go out and play with other kids on the street (at this time you could do this, even in a city), my parents told me not to watch movies but to read a "good" book, and I tell my kids not to play these stupid computer games, but to watch a "good" movie.

Also the understanding of "good" books or movies vary. To make it short, what parents consider "good" is considered "boring" by kids. It took myself nearly 50 years until I was able to read and enjoy Musils "Mann ohne Eigenschaften".

Having 4 kids with quite a spread of age I have learned some basic things:
  1. All my kids got the same education, but they all are very different. If we assume (not to get in to this discussion) that 50% is genetics and gender, and 50% environmental influence, consisting of parents, friends, school and general environment, the parental influence is about 40% at age 3 and reduced below 10 % at age 15. So do not expect too much anyway.
  2. Do not waste your time arguing about things they will do anyway, because ALL the friends are doing it.
  3. It is not a waste of time telling your kids what you think they should do, even if at the moment you have the impression your words are entering one ear and leaving the other without even touching a single brain cell. On the contrary, you recognize this at least when the older kids start to educate the younger ones. They remember every word you said. BTW, this saves you a lot of hazzle, you just have to go in between sometimes because they tend to be more strict then you would be (e.g. "I cannot stand this any longer, you are eating like a swine").
  4. All hypes go away sooner or later.
Computer games is one thing, but using the Internet? Especially my younger kids have grown up using electronic devices, PC and being always on, which is my fault. My younger daughter is able to use any electronic device without ever reading a manual. (BTW, my wife on the contrary has the capability to break any device within 5 minutes and get stuck, sometimes beyond repair. I do not know why, she is doing nothing special, devices just stop working. She does even need to touch them, e.g if I wnat to show her something on my laptop, and she is just looking over my shoulder, things break.

So my kids use the Internet and the PC daily, for gaming, chatting, talking (all "useless" things), but also for writing school work (teachers love this, because they can finally read what the kids are writing) and investigations of all sorts (useful and useless). So basically in the long run they use the Internet how it should be used, a tool to entertain, to investigate, to work and to relax.

Sex, crime and other nonsense? Ok, if you overhear kids talking with each other in the bus, or watch TV (at any time), I prefer them to be on the Internet.

And I always keep in mind a presentation I heard some years ago when sociologist talked to product managers:
If you want to know which products will fly in three or five years, watch what the kids with 15 are doing.
So my kids are also kind of a testbed for me.

I always have a blue fit if I hear a product manager especially from an incumbent telco saying:
I do not need this and I would never use this.
Neither do I, but this was not the question. Could you imagine a senior incumbent telco manager using a location-based dating service or a real-time game involving a smart-mob clique roaming around the city?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

United Soviet of America? 

Seen on the MARC commuter train (between Baltimore and DC) today, this picture pretty much sums up the new "National Security"

Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Can the EU be saved? 

The French and Dutch referendums have dashed hopes of political union in Europe. As criticism of the euro grows louder, there are fears that monetary union, too, might be in peril ...

more at

ENUM +87810 and +43780 

Last month I posted about the ENUM-enabled number range +43780 that went into operation in Austria. I also posted some FAQs.

Approximately at the same time Telcordia and BearingPoint teamed to deliver ENUM services for the number range +87810 with VoIP providers worldwide via

Basically +87810 and +43780 work in the same way as decribed in the FAQs. Calls from the PSTN are routed to a gateway which queries ENUM to route the call further on the Internet. Since both solutions use ENUM as defined in RFC3761, the same gateway could be used for both (and also any equivalent) number ranges.

A bit of history:

The number range was allocated by ITU-T in 2001 to VISIONng:
First Mobile Phones, Now Mobile Numbers - ITU allocates code for Universal Personal Telecommunications Number

and delegated by RIPE NCC to Infonova (BearingPoint) on behalf of VISIONng with the approval from ITU-T for trial purposes in May 2002. The trial was operated in parallel with the Austrian ENUM Trial and was first demonstrated at the Fall VON 2002, and again at Spring VON 2003.

The first production service was opened in June 2004 by Sentiro.

I just wonder what happened to VISIONng , the domain name holder, VISIONng is not even mentioned in the press release from telcoria and BearingPoint?

The two number ranges are basically equivalent technically, so what is the difference?

On the Internet there is no difference at all: if you are able to query ENUM in, you will be able to find the destination.

For the user it is a matter of taste if he wants to have a global number or a national number.

The real difference is the behaviour on the PSTN. The number range +43780 is (theoretically) reachable from any country in the world, because the call may by default be routed to Austria and there it will be terminated by the default gateway operated by Telekom Austria.

Why theoretically? Because the routing on the PSTN is a big mess. On the Internet, if a new domain name is created, the web-site is immediatley globally reachable. Not so on the super-reliable PSTN network. The communication between operators on existing number ranges is basically done via e-mail and manually via an ITU-T web-page and it may take years to get a new number range routed globally. It took Liechtenstein two years to get their new country code routed globally.

With +87810 the situation is even worse, because there is no default "country". In countries having also gateways to own ENUM number ranges, the routing is easy, as stated above. In all other countries you need to implement a routing (per operator) to a country which has a gateway. In the US the implementation will be a night-mare.

Just a minor remark to the press release:

There is one statement:
On the other hand, existing (public) ENUM implementations are typically based on national telephone numbers and do not allow the usage of telephone numbers from other national numbering plans.
... which I do not parse.

Of course national numbering plans do not allow the usage of other national numbering plans. You simple cannot get a +43 number from the UK regulator managing +44 numbers, typical or not.

The UK Optimizers and the EU Rebate 

In a previous post about the Art of Being Against I finished with complaining about our optimizing kids:
They want to have everything, do not give back anything and complain fiercely.
So regarding Europe the Brits seem to be somewhat infantile.


Lightreading is reporting on the ETSI ENUM Plugtests™ which took place last week in Sophia Antipolis, France:

The ETSI Plugtests™ interoperability event for Telephone Number Mapping (ENUM) has successfully provided a neutral setting for engineers to carry out testing against the ENUM standard. ENUM allows users to put phone numbers on the Internet and use them to receive Email, voice calls, and everything that a phone and the web can provide.


Ronan Lupton, Head of Regulatory Affairs & EMEA Interconnect Policy, MCI International Affairs said:

“The ETSI ENUM Plugtests event provided an expert meeting of corporations and minds dedicated to communications convergence and efficient global network architectures.”

The following organisations attended this ENUM Interoperability event, which was hosted by ETSI Plugtests & supported by the eEurope initiative of the European Commission:

AG Projects, Atlas Internet, DNS-MODA,, Etisalat, MCI Inc., NASK, Nominet UK, Nominum, Inc., Roke Manor Research Ltd., SIEMENS AG, T-Systems International GmbH, SSC ENPS Berlin and VeriSign Inc.

The 120 Days of the FCC 

Anonymous commented on my last post on the FCC ruling that the 120 days are tough. I agree, but I dis not comment on this originally, because these dates are purely political. If politicials (especially if they are under fire by the press) want to show that they are acting, the first thin they do is settting tough dates - to others (especially if the other also have to pay for it).

One just may wonder why they did not set such tough dates regarding wireless E911, and we also will see how they will react in this case if the deadlines are missed. By shifting dates as in case of wireless E911 done more than once?

I said it already many times:

Quod licet Jove, not licet bovi.

Monday, June 06, 2005

My first 2c worth on the FCC 911 proposed rulemaking 

Now having read the whole document (puh), my first take is the following:

This is a ruling with a very light touch. It basically requires:
  1. access to the selective router
  2. as a minum access to the default PSAP of the state.
  3. subscriber selfprovisioning of location
  4. training of subscribers (E911 for Dummies)
Access to the selective router seems the most controversial issue, but the FCC states all over the place that they will monitor this closely.

Since I have the opinion that any VoIP provider and finally any device attached to the Internet (ECRIT) should provide the capability to access emergency services, I was at first sight disappointed that the ruling was only for "interconnected" VoIP providers, but the further reading showed that this is considered only as first step, and the document clearly proposed this as future aim.

Really disappointing from an European view is the somewhat autistic approach: abroad means in the US basically still in the US. But this autistic view is in this case not typical US, as one may assume, it is more typical for national regulators.

Nowhere is mentioned (also not in future approaches) what happens if an US citizen (away from home) is leaving the country or an alien is using his VoIP service in the US and which rules should apply in this case (ok, maybe I missed it).

Does a VoIP provider needs to provide 911 access:
  • for US citizens only?
  • for US residents (US home address)?
  • for anybody having a US IN-number?
  • for anybody beeing temporarily in the US?
Questions over questions.

The most informative part of the document is the section IV Notice on Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), because the tons of questions raised here show the issues still open and also answer some questions I had reading "Annex B - Final Rules" first.

I and obviously others too had a problem with the following definition: An interconnected Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) service is a service that: (1) enables real-time, two-way voice communications; ...

Is two-way meant in the sense of a "full-duplex" conversation (in contrast to push-to-talk) or is it the possibility of having both originating and terminating calls?

The NPRM section 58 makes it clear: it is the latter, because the following questions are raised:
58. We also seek comment on issues raised by our decision today to impose E911 service obligations on providers of interconnected VoIP services. The scope of today’s Order is limited to providers of interconnected VoIP services. We seek comment on whether the Commission should extend these obligations, or similar obligations, to providers of other VoIP services that are not covered by the rules adopted today. For instance, what E911 obligations, if any, should apply to VoIP services that are not fully interconnected to the PSTN? Specifically, should E911 obligations apply to VoIP services that enable users to terminate calls to the PSTN but do not permit users to receive calls that originate on the PSTN? Should E911 obligations apply to the converse situation in which a VoIP service enables users to receive calls from the PSTN but does not permit the user to make calls terminating to the PSTN?
Good questions, but:
We tentatively conclude that a provider of a VoIP service offering that permits users generally to receive calls that originate on the PSTN and separately makes available a different offering that permits users generally to terminate calls to the PSTN should be subject to the rules we adopt in today’s Order if a user can combine those separate offerings or can use them simultaneously or in immediate succession.
Immediate succession? 5 seconds? 5 minutes?

So what if I use the Pulver communicator to receive calls from and immediately (whatever that means) use Skypeout afterwards. Does Skype now need to provide me a 911 access? Skype has no idea that I use the Pulver Communicator with (BTW, this is possible now, get the key from here),
Are there any other services upon which the Commission should impose E911 obligations, including any IP-based voice services that do not require a broadband connection?
Now this is a cute one. What is a non-broadband connection? Bsically a dial-up via POTS or ISDN. So you have 911 built in. But how does Skype know you are connected via dialup only.

I fear these discussions will go on until finally all VoIP services and each IP connection has to provide access to emergency services.

Just a last point: why not demanding that in each state there has to be a default emergency service routing proxy providing p-ANIs, and with access to the selective router and at least to the state default PSAP. In this case any VoIP provider (and not only "interconnected" could immediately provide access to 911 easily.


Considering that Access to Emergency Services is important, this ruling is not so bad as a first tentative take, it set the lines other regulators will follow. This is important, because it may help VoIP providers in other countries if their regulators want to overdo it.

But is also shows clearly that there are still many open issues and that there is still a lot of work required to be done. I also appreciate the work NENA is doing both in direction I2 and I3.

Off Topic: Generation '68: Voting against Globalisation 

The generation '68 in Europe is very intellectual, but had some blind spots. Studies such as journalism, political and social science, etc, where very popular, whereas technical studies (they where too cumbersome) and especially economics where less popular. This causes over the years the falling behind of Europe in technical and economic know-how.

The technical backlog has somewhat improved now by the new eastern countries having excellent trained technicians, but in these countries there is also by history a backlog in economics.

This leads to the fact that e.g. the proponents and ideas of the famous "Austrian School of Economics" (Mises, Hayek) and others are better known in the US than at the University of Economics in Vienna. BTW, Schumpeter is missing on the "others" page in the Wiki.

The lack of knowledge on basic economical facts and how markets work leads to the impression, that politics and here especially local politics may have a large impact on the economy of a country.

Note: in reality politicians have no or only little influence on the markets. This has also some benefits: if they cannot improve much, they also cannot f*ck up too much.

The politicians in opposition foster these ideas by always blaming the current government for not reacting properly and telling the people that IF they will be in charge, everything will improve.

Note: A typical example was Germany, when the socialist opposition blamed the conservative government being responsible for 3,5 Mio unemployments, and promised that they will immediately lower this figure if they where elected.

People trusted once and the figures went up to 4 Mio. I basically have no idea why the Germans trusted them again. Now the figure is well above 5 Mio.

This in turn leads to two wrong assumptions:
  1. people (and even worse the politicians themselves) start to believe that you can influence global economic markets with local decrees, and
  2. because the politicians never deliver, people get the impression that politicians of all directions are morons, idiots or corrupt.
The best example was Lisbon 2001: The European politicians recognized that Europe was lagging behind the US and Asia economically and solved the problem by declaring that Europe will overtake these two economies within ten years by declaring Europe the most competitive region in the world. Done. Problem solved. Everybody was happy.

Last year somebody must have recognized that here something is going slightly wrong by saying: "Eh, excuse me, have you looked at the recent economic figures?"

The politicians reacted immediately by installing a commitee led by Wim Kok, with gave some trivial recommendations that something has to be done. Problem solved.

They only result if such activities is that people start to believe the problems of globalization can be solved by decree. And they also started to believe that
Europe could be the most competitive region of the world and at the same time keeping up all benefits of a social welfare state.
In election campaigns you have to use simple arguments, so the opponents did not discuss the articles of the constitution, they reduced the discussion to: If you do not want (the bad effects of) globalization: vote NO. That they will loose the good effects also, they where not told.

There is only one problem or benefit (depending how you see it): globalizations does not care about votes, globalization does not step down, globalization (shift) happens.
You can only vote on issues you can influence. This is like making a referendum if next month the weather should be better.
The German phrase for this is: "Dumm gelaufen", in Austria we say: "Eigfoan".

And I promise: the next post will be about FCC and E911 (I have finally read it)

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Off Topic: The Art of Being Against 

This post is a free translation (with some additions) of a column in Die Presse from Matthias Horx: Die Kunst des Dagegenseins.

We (my generation and younger) should not protest too much against the politicians @home and in Brussels. We should not forget that these politicians are exactly the prototypes of our generation, and the prototype of these prototypes is Joschka Fischer, but there are others: e.g. Gerhard Schröder in Germany or Alfred Gusenbauer (head of the socialist party in Austria, who in the '60s touched ground in Moskow kissing the soil like the pope).

We want freedom, liberty, democracy, open borders and a secure job.

When I was young, say in 1968, we where against everything: capitalism (without "turbo" yet), the government, the parents, the teachers and primarily against the bourgeois. In addition we where also against the pressure to perform, authoritarian behaviour and especially against uniforms (everybody had to wear jeans). We had no idea yet about globalisation, (there was still the Cold War going on), but of course we where against imperialism and showing solitarity with Vietnam and Nicaragua.

At the same time we where not choosy regarding the goodies of life, in addition to "better red than dead" we chanted "better red wine that dead" (Lieber Rotwein als tod sein). Sex, Drugs and Rock'n Roll rolled over (Western) Europe. We had parties, cinema, coffeehouses, arts, scholarship and cars for everybody.

The older we got, the more we liked to be against and to protest, because it was very profitable. Because you could in the name of protest occupy establishment posts and launch easily political (sic!) and academic carriers. And go out for dinner at night. So we got anarchical civil servants, antipedagogic teachers, radical gourmets and system critical connaisseurs.

Today pursuing a radical and critical lifestyle is not the priviledge of a minority. In most letters to the editor of any newspaper you read the words "system", "exploitation", "manipulation" and and always verbal suspicions against the ones "up there". The same you hear on all regulars' tables across Europe, from Rovaniemi down to Gibraltar and from Lisbon to Vienna. Now this rants will be extended also to the bazars in Istanbul.

The globalisation allows us to have mobile phones nearly for free and affordable flat-screen TV-sets. We have cheap food from all over the world and fashion in real-time. We make vacations in the US, on the Sychelles, Bali and participate in the ultra-marathon in Mongolia.

But we are also political very correct: we demand that "somebody" must help the poor, fast AND of course environmentally acceptable, the "somebodys" being most suitable the capitalists, these locusts, they shall do something, e.g. drop the loans.

We have sorted out the world in a comfortable and an evil part. The comfortable part we want to keep exclusively for ourselves. The other part we push away, castigate it as "neo-liberal". That our prosperity is based on the fact that we lived for 50 years on the sunny side of the street of globalisation, being able to export cars like world-champions, had peace - who cares?

That people in Bosnia or Rumania long for to have an EU-prosperity perspective also - not so important.

We want freedom, liberaty, democracy, open borders,but also a secure job plus an account in Switzerland or Liechtenstein.

The French celebrated the "Being Against" drinking frenetically red wine. Then the Dutch, getting suddenly uncanny with ther super-liberalism, cheered.

Quote (assigned to nearly any politician starting with Bismarck)
Anyone who is not a revolutionary with 20 has no heart,
anyone who is still a revolutionary with 40 has no brains.
And with 60?

Just one example: Austria is currently celebrating the 60-year anniversary of the 2nd republic, and so are also the political parties, founded in the last days of the 2nd World War in Europe in March 1945. Austrian TV of course reports on these events e.g. the celebration of the socialist party. What was shown first were some video clips from these days, showing a completely destroyed city of Vienna, the burned out St. Stephens cathedral and the opera house, deranged people rambling between the ruins and climbing over the remains of the destroyed bridges to reach the city. Cut. The next scene showed the aforementioned Alfred Gusenbauer, head of the party in the middle of his speech, ranting how bad the situation is currently in Austria (mainly because the socialist party is at the moment not partizipating in the government). He did not mention the huge success of the socialist government in Germany ;-)

At some time in the past, we must have decided not to get more clever and to use our brains, we decided to get better in optimzing.

Any hope our kids will do better?

Even if one does not believe it, our kids are watching us intensely, learning and finally will get better then we are - in optimizing.

They want to have everything, do not give back anything and complain fiercely.

They are of course our kids.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Europe: The Situation is Hopeless, but Not Serious 

Patrizia says that the NO in Europe in reality meant:
We want a better life, you promised that Europe would bring us just nice things and look what we had: .... (listing 5 points).
Oh No, Patrizia, fulfilling these wishes would not help, people will still get more and more unhappy.

To understand why, I can only recommend everybody to read the book from Paul Watzlawick: The Situation is Hopeless, but Not Serious (The Pursuit of Unhappiness). For German speakers I would strongly recommend the German original: Anleitung zum Unglücklichsein - How to be Unhappy for Dummies.

BTW, Paul Watzlawick could also be considered as the Saint of the Bloggers, because his first famous axiom on communication is:

One Cannot Not Communicate

(from Pragmatics of Communication)


Off Topic: For the avoidance of doubt - YES to Europe 

From some feedback I received on my post on NON or NEE, it may not be completely clear: I would have voted YES to the European Constitution, for two reasons:

1. As born Austrian you get educated over the time that if you feel oblidged to partizipate in democratic elections, you never have the choice to vote for the best choice, only for the least worse. In this case it was the choice between the less flawed draft constitution and the seriously flawed Nice treaty.

2. I do not want to be seen anywhere near the camps of the core opponents, being a weird and dangerous melange of far-right (xenophobists) and far-left (antiglobalists), the unions and the useful idiots. Both left and right wings are known to be anti-democratic by history.

I wonder why the left wing still chants the Socialist International. Nowadays it would be more feasible if they would drop the "Inter" part and rename the hymne to Socialist-National, going back to the roots: "Die Fahne Hoch" aka "The Horst-Wessel-Lied", to be chanted together in the common demonstrations.

Friday, June 03, 2005

FCC Releases Order on E911 Requirements for IP-Enabled Service Providers 

Jeff just reported that the FCC just released the first order and proposed rulemaking on E911 Requirements for IP-enabled Service Providers. (FCC-05-116A1).

I had of course no time to digest the proposed rulemaking in detail, but what I have seen sofar in Annex B, the rulemaking is not very heavy, basically a minimum requirement.

But I am sure, the experts will soon respond ;-)

On-topic: The French say also NON to BLOGS 

I have to copy here the complete post for your amusement:

Here come Les Blocs

According to C|Net, France's Commission generale de terminologie et de neologie ("the monkeys of surrender with the new words") has decided that the term "blog" is an affront to the long noses of the French people [I told you no more Babelfish -- ed.] and will henceforth be replaced in French class with the more pleasing bloc-notes.

It will be permissable, at least in France, to use the short form "bloc." And so France will soon have blocs and presumably bloceurs and bloceuses. At presstime it was not possible to determine whether bloc is a 'le' or a 'la,' which is the same problem we have always had with all French words.

The Germans, meanwhile, are expected to go the other way. They always do. Instead of coining an entirely new — and consequently short — word, they are expected to follow their usual practice and deem these entities komputerdailynotesgelisters.

Nick made this up: the official word is Zwischennetztagebuchaufzeichnung

In Brussels, the EU Ministry of Technologie reacted with alarm to this proliferation of 'blog' terms unique to each country, especially after they learned that the Poles intended to call them gzybrgrlz. The EU has consequently appointed a commission to draft a plan to hold a meeting to prepare an agenda. Officials are hopeful that a single, Europe-wide standard term can be introduced in time for the 2104 Olympics.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Off Topic: NON and NEE to the European "Constitution" 

The French and the Dutch said NO to the European Draft "Constitution". Of course they did not say NO to the Draft "Constitution", they said NO to both their local politicians AND to the EU politicians, because they are fed-up by these morons.

Normal citizens basically cannot have a position on the draft, because I doubt that even 1% have read it. Why? Because it is unreadable. I have downloaded the draft from here, opened the 265(!) page pdf at random on page 97 in Article III-86 and the first I saw was the following paragraph about the Economic and Financial Committee:
2. The Committee shall have the following tasks:
(c) without prejudice to Article III-247, to contribute to the preparation of the work of the Council of Ministers referred to in Article III-48, Article III-71(2), (3), (4) and (6), Articles III-72, III-74, III-75 and III-76, Article III-77(6), Article III-78(2), Article III-79(5) and (6), Articles III-83 and III-90, Article III-92(2) and (3), Article III-95, Article III-96(2) and (3) and Articles III-224 and III-228, and to carry out other advisory and preparatory tasks assigned to it by the Council of Ministers;
No comment.

I do not want to discuss the content of the draft, because this was not the issue anyway, the real problem is the procedure for ratification.

Every normal citizen having his five senses together could have told these idiots in advance that this procedure will never work out and in addition, these idiots do not even have an EXIT strategy!

Every parent having a child at school and attending a parents meeting with say 25 participants could have told them that if one makes in such a meeting the most straigtforward proposal or statement, say for example 2+2=4, at least one or two participants will object, e.g. by saying: NO, 1+3=4. Trust me, I have 4 kids.

So if you ask 25 countries, you MUST assume even if they really judge only the issue at hand that at least one or two countries will say NO, although it is irrational. It was irrational also in this case because the real question posed was: do you want to continue with the severly flawed Nice treaty or do you want the lesser flawed draft constitution?

In addition every politician should know from elections at home that never only the issues at hand influence the outcome of an election or referendum.

So why are there curently such morons in charge at the same time both nationally and on the EU level?

The reason is twofold: a long-term bad strategy and a short-term glitch, both coming together at the same moment. Of course both failures are caused by the national governments:

The long term bad strategy was that ALL European governments used since years the EU as waste disposal of third level politicians unwanted or unneeded within their countries, both for the commission and also for the parliament (exceptions prove the rule, especially for the unwanted). In addition, all national governments use the EU (keyword Brussel) as excuse in elections for their own short-comings, and the weaker they are, the more they do finger-pointing.

National governments have their cyclic up and downs. At this moment most national governments, and ALL of the important ones have their downs (Chirac, Schroeder/Fischer, Blair, ...), to continue with countries thinking they are important (Berlusconi, ...), etc.

A process where ALL 25 MUST agree can only work out if either
  • all countries ratify the draft within their national parliaments within a VERY SHORT period of time, assuming that the same governments negotiating the draft still have the majority in the national parliaments
  • let the European parliament decide
  • or make an EU-wide referendum on the same day.
I know that all of these options are not possible legally at the moment, so it would have been the main task of the politicians to enable one of these options beforehand.

Is there a way-forward possible in Europe? - I have also no idea, but there always is. And in the meantime the European citizens will have to live with the severly flawed Nice treaty and I only can hope that some of the citizens dancing on the street this week enjoying the defeat of the morons will not have to pay dearly for this outcome soon.

And I also hope that the politicians have their lessons learnt - but I doubt that politicians are adaptive.

The only positive aspect I see is that sometimes citizens have a better feeling on long-term developments than politicians. 20 or so years ago we had a referendum in Austria on the introduction of nuclear power. This is basically a valid question, but if it is done 2 weeks before the first nuclear power plant should go into operation, one may get the slight feeling of being black-mailed. In addition the Austrian chancellor Bruno Kreisky made a serious mistake by offering his demission in case of NO.

To make a long story short: Austria is the only country in the world featuring a fully operational 1:1 scale model of a nuclear power plant.

Of course there was a big howl and up-roar afterwards: one cannot ask "naive" citizens about such complicated matters, what a waste of money, the referendum was not about nuclear power, it was about Bruno Kreisky, etc.

Looking backwards today this was a very wise decision.

This gives me some hope that the "naive" citizens again have the feeling that something is currently going badly wrong in Europe, and we will say in another twenty years that this was a wise decision because it forced the EU to get on track again.

ECTA, NGN and the Floriani Principle 

A native saint in Austria is Saint Florian, martyrium in 304 AD in Lauriacum, patron of Upper Austria, Poland and also of fire brigades (no, this entry is not about E911) and helper against fire and drought. The German Wiki is here.

The Floriani Principle is named after a (somewhat cynic) prayer "O heiliger St. Florian verschon mein Haus, zünd andre an" which means "Dear Saint Florian, spare my house, cindle others".

The term Floriani Principle is used in discussions on where to built highways or waste disposal sites (normal, chemical, nuclear, ...) etc. The answer is always: This is very important and necessary, but not HERE.

What has this to do with telecommunications?

James Enck pointed to a recent position paper on NGN from my special friends from ECTA which reminds me of the Floriani Principle: "Dear Saint Regulator, do not regulate me, but all others".

Whos is ECTA?
  • ECTA is NOT the European Communities Trade Mark Assoc.,
  • it is also NOT the European Clinical Trial Associates (as some may suspect),
  • it is the European Competitive Telecommunications Asssoc. or in Washington DC speak the Brussel lobby of the non-incumbents.
Why special friends?

I already had a discussion with ECTA members at a Telecoms Regulation & Competition Law Conference in October last year in Brussels (Martin is correct: good food and no laptops - I had a deja vu reading his entries on this conference ;-) e.g. with the chair of the ECTA broadband group ranting all two days that there have to be much more remedies on incumbents e.g incumbents should not be allowed to offer triple-play (guess his real affiliation: Time Warner Cable).

He was supported by a representative from Austria from Hutchinson 3G, ranting about the plans of the commission and also the Austrian regulator to reduce the terminating fees to mobile operators by regulating the prices by declaring that every operator has (logically) significant market power (SMP) for calls terminating in his network.

The basic philosophy of ECTA is: We want to gain new subscibers by offering them cheaper tariffs than the incumbent. Since there is a danger to go bankrupt, because somebody finally has to pay, the best way to prevent this is to find a way (with the help of the regulator posing remedies on the incumbent) that the remaining idiots - ah subscribers of the incumbent are subsidizing the low tariffs I offer to my clever subscribers. Since we cannot say this in public, we have to find another argument: we are so small and poor and need help to compete against the evil incumbents on the dark side.

This leads to situations that a big company on European scale (e.g. Tele2) is considered small and not having SMP compared with a "big" company such as Telekom Austria. You should also hear the Cable Operator in Vienna squeak (reaching 70% of the households and having twice as much broadband connections in Vienna than Telekom Austria) if somebody even raises the question why the cable operators have NOT the obligation to provide bit-stream unbundling?

Representatives from the EU at the above mentioned meeting of course denied any plans by the commission to follow these request, but as one has seen recently in Canada, the devil is never sleeping. I think some members of ECTA (especially the cable operators) got an orgasmus when they heard about the Canadian decision to put remedies on incumbents if they provide VoIP..

See Mark Evans on the the presenation of Darren Entwistle, Telus CEO, at the Canadian Telecom Summit, where Darren Entwistle stated (better than I could, but he is a CEO and I am not):
Calling the decision "disappointing" he questioned the regulator's belief it needs to protect cablecos from ILECs given they have well-established infrastructures and brands, as well as millions of customers. "Are the cable operators really the Davids who need regulatory protection from the telco giants? The answer is no," he said during a keynote speech at the Canadian Telecom Summit. Perhaps the line of the conference was Entwistle's contention the cablecos are deserving of a "theatrical award" for their work in positioning themselves as the underdog.
I like the "theatrical award", because I know now what the chair of the Austrian leg of ECTA (the VAT) Dr. Achim Kasper for some of his statements deserves. Members of the VAT are basically little start-ups in need of protection such as T-moble, T-systems, Hutchinson, Colt, Tele2, MCI (ok - at least they may need protection) against Darth Telekom Austria.

I think I am getting carried away: So what is the newest position from ECTA about?

One would not believe it, it is about the NGN. Although nobody knows what an NGN is and if THE NGN and especially IMS will ever fly (there are some serious doubts - including myself), ECTA is already seeing a danger if incumbents are going to implement NGN (this is of course mainly against BT and its 21stCN) without a remedy to give the underdogs again a free ride.

BTW, NGN and IMS was also a big issue at the VON, an excellent summary is given by Guy Kewney at

Back to the ECTA position - Executive Summary:
The move to NGNs represents the next, logical and evolutionary step in technological progress under which existing telecom networks are upgraded with more modern and efficient technology.

If consumers are to enjoy the benefits of NGN-based services - such as genuine choice, lower prices, higher quality and more innovative services - real and effective competition will have to be ensured. Failure to act will enable incumbent operators to build networks that foreclose competition reducing choice and innovation for consumers and businesses for years to come.

Incumbents have argued that NGN investment is risky and that regulation would deter them from making this investment. However, the real risk is that, if incumbents can escape regulation by upgrading their core networks to reflect efficient modern technology already used by many other operators, competition will be irreparably damaged and, as a result, future investment by both incumbents and market entrants will be jeopardised.
Emphasis by ECTA so that the dumbest regulator gets it.

The rest of the document is a bit confusing to read so I do not completely get what they really want, but from my experience with ECTA this parses to:

There is a danger that incumbents may be clever enough not to built an NGN if they are regulated. We parasites are of course not so stupid to built one by ourselves. But we parasites will need something to suck blood on, so we need somebody stupid enough to build the NGN, not only for voice but also as IP backbone and core network. So please Saint Regulator, first force the incumbent to build an NGN if he does not want to build one and then force him to give us a free ride ah - introduce remedies on the incumbent. Incumbent is defined as the little local (national) operator in competition with global acting "small" startups regardless of size.

Of course they do not want a horizontal regulatory model split in access, transport, services and applications, because in this case they would have real competition and would have to pay like anybody else.

Nicy try, or?

BTW, has anybody out there an idea why France and the Netherlands said NON and NEE to the European constitution?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

VON Europe 2005 - ENUM Update - Part 3 - XConnect or Catch 22 

Now to the last presentation of the ENUM Update session from Baruch Sterman on XConnect

So what is the problem of the VoIP providers in XConnect?

1. I want to peer with other providers. To do so, I have finally to publish somewhere the information which E.164 numbers I host and also to publish the information how my SIP server - ahh - my ingress gateways, session border controllers and other evil devices can be reached. A SIP AoR (no - one can derive my identity from this) or at least an IP-address (IP address - that's good)

2. BUT, I do not want to publish this information because the world is evil and the worst enemies are the other VoIP providers. First they should not know how many customers I have - I do not want them ROTFL that I have only 200. And if they know this 200, they first thing they will do is to take them away from me.

This is called a typical Catch 22.

So I cannot use ENUM and DNS as is, because with ENUM and DNS the data is hosted within my Tier 2 or uploaded to a Tier 1 hostig the NAPTRs providing the SIP URIs. SIP URIs will disclose which numbers I host and also can be harvested.

Therefor the data need to be anonymized. I have to trust of course XConnect. XConnect is not giving back the URI, only the IP address. This cannot be harvested? I do not want to answer this question.

In addition I have a performance problem (have I?). I do not want to make an all call query to the XConnect database all the time, only if it really provides me with usefull answer.

I want to have a local copy of the database, but of course the other do not want me to harvest their data either, so the only information left in the local database (called Local Intelligent Caching Server - LICS) is:
  • Proxy sends ENUM query to LICS
  • LICS checks its cache, if so it returns the IP address or void/tel:
  • If not, it sends out an ENUM query to central authority
  • CA returns either IP address or void/tel:
  • LICS passes on the response and caches the data
Seriously, I am not making this up. The information contained in this complicated structure is basically 1 (one) bit (number in XConnect or not), but to improve performance the bit is of couse cached.

This in turn causes of course a Time-To-Live (TTL) problem:
  • Persistence TTL (expiration from cache)
  • Update TTL (refresh rate)
  • Data can be “touched” without real-time constraints
  • Data refreshing is important
  • Port from a previously called number on PSTN
  • Port from one ITSP to another
I agree, data refreshing is important.

Nominum is announcing on their webpage a full ENUM database hosting 200 Mio records and performing up to 45000 queries per second and this VoIP providers have already performance problem with a 1 bit ENUM?

I have BTW no idea why they are calling this ENUM at all.

How paranoid one can get?

And these VoIP providers will NEVER issue a SIP URI to a customer. Imagine an evil competitor starts harvesting user ENUM for the numbers the other VoIP provider has in his 1-bit ENUM.

Interlude: User ENUM vs. Carrier ENUM 

(User) ENUM in is designed according to IETF principles (see the ITU-T/IETF NGN workshop):
.. the end-to-end principle is perhaps the most fundamental and least
understood of the Internet’s architectural principles…:
  • Nothing should be done in the network that can be efficiently done in an end-system.
  • A function that must be performed at a higher layer should not also be performed at a lower layer (without a good reason)
This implies ENUM is to be used by end-users or proxies on behalf of theend-users.

But end-users are (technology-wise) stupid and how can one expect end-users to understand a technical solution most "experts" still do not understand? The best examples is that even enterprises still do not get the benefits.

Since ENUM is only an add-on working behind the the scenes, it basically requires a SIP URI to work,and it should be hidden within an application or a product. What is required is somebody selling these applications or products to the end-users (including enterprises).

End-users (including most companies) do not configure SMTP and POP3 protocols and set-up their MX records, this is hidden in applications and product.

Ok, User ENUM has some problems and the benefits are not so transparent: e.g. why should an end-user pay for the benefit of another end-user?

We have talked about this short-coming and how to potentially solve them

But there is another possibility for ENUM technology: Carrier or Infrastructure ENUM

Carrier ENUM is not about linking end-user together, it is also not about linking small VoIP islands (enterprises) togeher, it is about linking large IP-islands of VoIP providers (and even PSTN networks) together.

With Carrier ENUM telephony service providers in general could link (peer) their networks together using IP-technology and save a lot of money by doing so.

Carrier ENUM allows any originating network to immediatly identify the destination network currently hosting the E.164 number globally, which renders transit networks - for call setup - not for transport - useless.

Compared with the (broken) method currently used on the PSTN, the benefits are manyfold:
  • Since the data is maintained by the destination network only, one can assume the data is as correct as it can get.
  • The destination networks have to maintain their data anyway, so they have no additional adminstrative effort in maintaining the ENUM data.
  • All other operators have NO EFFORT AT ALL to maintain any routing data. Not for national calls and not for international calls. If one compares this with the OPEX (and CAPEX) currently required for operating NP databases and the efforts to keep international routing data up-to-date (see the 720 and 780 disaster)
  • Any tree can be used, there is no cumbersome user opt-in getting in the way and even more there is no cumbersome national regulator opt-in.
There is only one minor problem - there is no common tree defined, so any tree will do, but which one?

In addition Carrier ENUM involves more complicated scenarios and ETSI TR 102 055 tries to give an overwiew framework on the options.

The first to recognize the potential of ENUM where the mobile operators, because they desperately needed a solution for the MMS routing problem. Also cable operators are planning to use ENUM to peer among themselves.

The first implementation between VoIP providers was launched by Thilo Salmon in

This implemenation was basically very straightforward, a tree on the public Internet with an option for paranoid providers to peer the information only with selected other providers or to use an anonymizer proxy.

Why would one with the intention to peer want to hide the information required to peer?

I wondered, but if I had known what else will come up soon ...

The next I talked to were the mobile GSM operators grouped in GSM-A. Main reason was that ETSI TISPAN is considering either to set up a similar system or join GSM-A for interconnecting the Fixed IMS NGN. GSM-A wants to implement a Carrier ENUM within a tree for IMS not reachable from the Internet for security, availability and privacy reasons - ok, I can at least follow the arguments, even if not all are valid or other solutions are also possible. And they want to implement ENUM very straightforward, not deviating from the basic rules in RFC3671 (too much). But also here very soon some idea about potential information hiding crept up.

The next discussion started in the LCC TAC. The operators in the US wanted to use both for user ENUM and for Carrier ENUM. Basically not a bad idea, but finally came out that this does not work out. I never got the message what the problem with a separate tree was.

The interesting side-effect of this discussion was that they did not want a URI in ENUM, only a service provider ID (SPID). They real peering information will be somewhere else.

Why? Again the arguments of not anybody should see the URU or IP address of the ingress gateway (because of attacks) and also peering should only be possible if there is a peering agreement. How to interwork with providers where no peering or interconnect agreement exists? Via the PSTN.

So they are planning a system which is not self-sufficient, but needs a metasystem to work. And What if there is no PSTN anymore, only all IP?

Side remark: during the discussion on the SPID I had a deja-vu. What they needed was the old TRC database from TIPHON designed to allow peering of +87810 providers in pre-ENUM days.

This was a very simple protocol: number in - SPID out. With the SPID, the provider looked up a table giveing him the Gatekeeper addresses of the othe prrovider. Telcordia must have somewhere a copy of the software ;-)

But I still had problems to understand the real issue and also thought the paranoia could not get worse.

This was before I talked to Baruch and Eli Katz and saw the presentation from Baruch on XConnect.

This sets the scene for ENUM Update Part 3 - soon to come.

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