Friday, March 31, 2006

EU Roaming Charges (2) 

If you want to get more information on how roaming works and about the tariffs charged by your operator in the different countries, the European Commission has set-up a web-page (since October 2005):

Roaming: using my mobile abroad: are prices dropping?

According to Viviane Reding: No, they are not.

Prices for 4 minutes: 3-6 Euro to call home, and 2-4 Euro to be called from home (for YOU).

20-30 Eurocents per SMS is also nice (for the operators) - No, you are not allowed to park afterwards on the spot reserved for handicapped persons - this is only for physically handicapped - not for mentally handicapped. If you bring this forward as an argument, you may loose your drivers licence.

What I am missing is data tariffs when roaming: from my own experience I know that they are around 10 Euro per MB. So this is more then 100 times the price I pay in my mobile home network.

So if for example you get the crazy idea to watch a video on your mobile phone abroad, you are better off just entering the next shop, buy yourself a TV-set, a VCR and the movie. Some people also stupid enough (most only once in their lifetime) to take some pictures on the beach with their mobile phone and send them home via MMS, only to find out that they are busted if they receive the bill next month.

What I also consider a very typical example for the customer service of mobile operators is one of the footnotes to the tables as reason if no prices are given:
Roaming rates were not publicly available on the operator's website at the time of data collection
Ha, trust me, they are available, but very well hidden - I know from experience.

What are the lessons learned? - You can earn a lot of money simply with the laziness and ease of humans.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

EU Roaming Charges 

After a day or two in shock the European mobile operators seem to recover. Of course Vodafone's Sarin objects, but a bit lame, according to

Vodafone, which operates in 17 EU and non-EU countries, said the EU proposal to scrap the fee to receive a call did not recognize that companies must pay connection costs.

Interestingly T-Mobile says that in theory, it is in favor of lower call charges, but believes competition will bring prices down.

Really? When?

Viviane Reding is still on her task:

She explained that mobile phone users on the continent are slammed with high phone bills simply for crossing a border inside the union. "Today it is only when using your mobile phone abroad you realize that there are still borders in Europe."

It's a lucrative business too: One U.K. newspaper estimated that mobile phone firms make up to 15% of their income from roaming charges.

Reding said the companies generate "pure profit" by charging travelers for receiving a call when they are away, and had paid no heed to warnings they should trim costs.

"Mobile operators seem to have some difficulty understanding my message."

Hear, hear.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sir Tim Berners-Lee the Father of the Internet? 

Impact.lab has an interview with Tim Berners-Lee, naming him the father of the Internet. I always had the opinion that this is Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. Anyway, Tim is also conceding some mistakes, he would have skipped the double slash and put the domain names in reverse order


This was Tim? Interesting, I would have blamed Paul Mockapetris.

Anyway, Google fixed all these problems.

And if you really want to know who was the God of Internet, and get some interesting background info, read Reporting to God (via ITU-T blog).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What do you think about IMS? 

Wow, I got mentioned in one line with Henning Schulzrinne and Brough Turner by Steve. That's an honor ;-)

How? Ok, it is about IMS. Steve is pointing to my Rome presentation (so it is obvoius what I think about IMS - he may also have pointed to my VON presentation).

He is also asking Henning and Brough what they think about IMS. Ok, I could have told Steve beforehand: Never ask Henning a simple question, you always get a complicated answer. You have to ask Henning complicated questions to get a simple answer.

I like the answer from Brough:

Me: Brough, I’ve got a question for you?
Brough: What is it?
Me: IMS ?!?!?!
Brough: [laughs]
Brough: I look at it like this. We had the IN [Intelligent Network] for 20 years, and it created 3 services [CallerID, CallWaiting, CallForwarding]. It will take 10 years to build the NGN [IMS] network, and maybe a few services will come out of that too. And in the meantime, the carriers and TEMS are going to need to buy a ton of hardware and software, and NMS is in the business of selling those things.

Ok, to be honest, there is also NP and 800, but basically Brough is at the point. So much about the famous IMS services.

And if you believe it or not, they even trying to sell the carriers boxes to link to the existing IN systems (IM-SSF).

Who needs Microsoft and Cisco? 

Two weeks ago I posted about Cisco finally adopting SIP and that Microsoft is joining forces with CISCO

to integrate its Office Communicator 2005 and Office Live Communications with Cisco's Unified Communications System.

Who needs MS and Cisco? As Klaus Darilion from is pointing out: SIP Outlook Integation is already there. SIP TAPI

So they are definitely latecomers ;-)

Jeff about Son of a BITS III 

See Jeffs post on:

As Congress now embarks on major efforts to rewrite the laws governing the future of communications and the Internet, I ask you all to consider joining the VON Coalition at this critical moment. This is the year that the policy debate will rage and shape how we communicate and what we might do to evolve the Internet.

I can only support this statement.

Breaking News? - Skype and Kazaa named in Streamcast Lawsuit 

ZDNet UK is announcing this today as breaking story. James Enck is fuming about this in "On my Bristols", correctly, because as every decent blogger in the scene knows, Andy posted about this already two days ago on Sunday.

I also "hate it when mainstream news organisations rip off content from bloggers without any attempt at attribution".

UPDATE: is a bit late, but at least referencing Andy

Friday, March 24, 2006

ENUM In Austria - another important step forward 

The commercial ENUM deployment in Austria started already in December 2004 with opening nearly all number ranges (geographic, mobile, corporate, non-geographic VoIP (720) and 800), with the exception premium rate numbers. In April 2005 the special ENUM-based number range 780 went into service. For more information see here. This number-range is directly linked to the corresponding ENUM entries and can be reached from the PSTN via any ENUM-enabled gateway (e.g. the one from Telekom Austria)

After an (to be expected) slow up-take now already 12 registrars are giving out numbers, see the wepage.

This week yesss, the discount daughter company of one (an Austrian mobile operator), already selling a pre-paid virtual mobile service, started offering a VoIP webfone service, based on ENUM, 780 numbers and SIP. And, as I always said, you cannot sell ENUM to an end-user, without even mentioning ENUM - you also do not explain how TCAP, INAP, SS7 and Query-on-Release works to somebody porting his number.

Nevertheless, the service is a VoIP service on the public Internet, you get an ENUM entry in, a SIP URI and you can be reached by anybody else querying ENUM or using the SIP URI. Of course yesss is also querying ENUM and delivering the call via VoIP and SIP if an entry is found for free.

As UA either a Soft-client may be downloaded via yesss, but you may use any other SIP SW or HW phone of your choice.

The only drawback of the 780 number range is that still some (other mobile) operators charge a fortune to terminate on this number range, others already charge normal local or national rates. It was basically a lapse from the regulator not to define a cap on the tariffs to these numbers, as some others do (e.g. Ireland) or are planning to do. And the Skype idiots are still not delivering calls to 780 (and also not to 720).

Considering that some other companies in Austria (e.g. Silver Server) are providing VoIP services on fixed lines together with xDSL access by porting geo-graphic numbers to VoIP, put them in ENUM and also query ENUM outbound, I really ask myself, why do we need IMS and walled gardens, QoS, managed networks, SPEERMINT, etc. It is working fine already. The Internet, ENUM and SIP is sufficient.

The Perfect Airport 

USA Today has an artcicle today: Piecing together the perfect airport - 10 amenities every terminal should have. I consider this list interesting, because I agree and disagree:

Here the proposed amenties, in order:

1.Live Music
2.Rocking chairs
3.Wine bars
4.Art galleries
5.Napping pods
6.Free wireless Internet
7.Laptop chargers
8.Day spas
10.Convenience stores

Since I basically consider an airport as a place I want to leave as soon as possible and if I have to wait I want to have it as quiet and relaxing as possible, I do not need live music. Rocking chairs, napping pods, wine bars, art gallieries and day spas are nice to have, but I consider them not important. Instead of booties I would it consider better not to be required to put my shoes off at security, and have instead a baggie to put the metal items in (as some do).

I agree with free wireless Internet, of course and also power outlets. It is really funny to see women in business dress sit on the floor beside the men's toilet because there is the only power outlet of the terminal.

Convenience stores are very useful (Vienna Airport has one, although somewhat hidden under the arival hall and now moved somewhere else because the termial is rebuilt).

But what I consider top priority for an airport is no delays, no lost luggage and short (or fast) access to the gates, especially if you change planes. Especially large and new built airports have walking times up to and over 20 minutus from the central lounge to the gates. I have no problem walking this distances, particularly after a long flight, but if you have to change planes and a stopover of one hour, 40 minutes simple walking time is a problem, especially if you have a delay.

Here I come to another issue I have with changing planes: arrival time (and the stopover time calculated from this) is given by touch-down time. At least all pilot of all airlines brag about being on-time if they touchdown at arrival time. Given that they then taxi around on some airports for 10 to 20 minutes, then have eventually to wait for a gate, then another 10 minutes until the doors open and if you are at the end of the plane, you have to wait 10-15 minutes until your fellow passengers get their act together (depending on nationality), you may end up with 30 to 40 minutes until you are at your arrival gate after touch-down. Add now 30 minutes time finding your way on a foreign airport and walk, you will have a problem.

I therefore request airlines in future to define arrival time = my arrival time at the gate.

BTW, with railways the arrival time say in Vienna is also the stop at the main station and not crossing the city borders (although this is only 10 minutes and would improve timeliness of the Austrian Railway substantially)


Monday was basically not a good day at the IETF. After the morning session featuring the somewhat problematic ENUM WG (these problems have been solved in the meantime), in the afternoon the next WG session with serious problems took place. This was the first official SPEERMINT session after chartering the WG in quite a long BoF process, and as it seems, there are still many issues what these WG is about to do.

The discussion is still circling around the terms IP network, VoIP peering and Interconnect and proponents from all sides try to misunderstand each other. There are on one side the end-to-end (P2P?) Internet advocates raising the (valid) question what the whole WG is for and on the other extreme end the NGN, 3GPP and IMS walled garden advocates (bell-heads) trying to take over the IETF and make it a better ITU-T(?).

A typical proponent is my friend Sohel Khan with his presentation IP Service Peering Architecture, not even mentioning the Internet.

When I mentioned the ITU-T above, this was on purpose. At ITU-T in Geneva yesterday and today a workshop took place: What Rules for IP-NGN enabled NGNs?

Looking at some of the presentations I finally got the impression that I am in the wrong place, because some of the speakers there are taking the end-to-end principle and the separation of transport and services more seriously into account then some participants here.

I want to draw your attention especially to the presentations from Ernst Langmantel (RTR), John Horrocks (CEPT ECC TRIS/DTI), Wolfgang Reichl (OeFEG/ETP), but also Robert Frieden (Pennsylvania State University) on Net Neutrality, Patrick Xavier (Australia) on USO and of course the excellent presentation and the background paper from Scott Marcus on Interconnection in an IP-enabled NGN Environment(!). This does not imply that the others are not interesting, but I was not able to look at all of them (yet).

So I raised some questions on the SPEERMINT mailing list:

I have some questions for clarification regarding the SPEERMINT charter (or in ITU-T speak: Mr Chairman, I am confused)

"SPEERMINT focuses (on) architectures to identify, signal, and route delay-sensitive (real-time) communication sessions. These sessions use the SIP signaling protocol to enable peering between two or more administrative domains over IP networks. Where these domains peer,or meet, the establishment of trust, security, and a resistance to abuse and attack are all important considerations."

First question: the term IP networks seems to need clarification:

IP networks is a generic term valid for both the Internet and private (walled garden) IP networks, but

I had always the opinion that this is the INTERNET Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the PRIMARY goal is to define architectures to identify, signal and route ... sessions on the public INTERNET.

This does not prevent anybody to use these architectures and related protocols also on private IP networks, as it is done with other protocols and architectures (e.g. the DNS).

But is is NOT the task of the IETF to define such architectures and protocols PRIMARILY for the use in private IP networks.

So I understand that the primary goal of SPEERMINT is to enable peering between two or more administrative domains on the INTERNET and also to establich trust, security and resistance to abuse and attacks on the Internet.

I consider it therefore curious that some say the I-Ds draft-lendl-domain-policy-ddds-00 and draft-lendl-speermint-federation-00 are out of scope (presentation). If these drafts are out-of-scope then maybe somebody would be so nice to explain to me what is in scope of SPEERMINT.

I am also confused about the statement from Rohan Mahy that nobody will use this because no provider will make it public to which federation he belongs to.

Since this I-Ds are modelled along the quite sucessful model of BGP peering, I wonder.

Michael Haberler added to this more details:
I'd be very interested what people believe to be a viable alternative to runtime policy discovery - in particular visavis the fact that the draft-lendl-domain-policy-ddds-00 proposes to pubish a unique ID for a policy to enable runtime matching, but NOT requiring to publish what that policy ID actually stands for.

In BGP speak this amounts to: "Here is my AS number. You might find that AS number tacked to other domains if you scan a lot of them, but no, we are not publishing our peering and transit relations in an RIR database". As for the BT example, saying that the ingress point supports the BT IP interconnect policy, which is likely to be found on a BT website as their Reference Interconnect Offer in the first place. So much for the danger of "private parts exposure".

I have a hard time believing we are back to static local configuration as the "preferred" solution, be that bilateral setup or "everything goes to my peering shop".

Here's a paper exercise for you to tinker with alternatives:

With SIP capabilites as they stand today, please emulate the GSM association - that's 600+ operators with some 23.000 interconnect agreements.

In the first attempt, try to avoid the "big SIP hub" scenario for extra intellectual challenge.

After done with defining pathetic access lists and local routing tables, I assume you're motivated to think about alternatives. Then again, if one has gobs of staff managing interconnect relations, that staff could well eventually be retrained to edit access control lists and tables.

From a commercial point of view, there likely is a business case for the SIP hubs/peering providers. I think they have real value asSIP/RTP cleansing shops. I'm not sure that approach should be the IETF entropy solution to fabric discovery.

And, while lashing out at the unsuitability of draft-lendl-domain-policy-ddds-00 for current service provider mindsets, keep in mind it does not limit itself to "carriers" - it does address groups of users, and in fact the user-service provider interface policy discovery problems just as well.

Bonus value: it also includes "go to my peering shop" - besides keeping the end-to-end option open.

It is true that SPEERMINT is special (optional?) within the IETF, because to peer between SIP proxies on the Internet all you need is SIP AoRs and RFC 3263 NAPTR and SRV, and I also understand that the major problem of the VSP starts with the SIP URI giving away their identity (some peering fabrics make a living on this ;-)

Nobody seems to have a problem with this with e-mail.

Voice is really a special application, seemigly infecting anybody with bell-headism.

Lucent, Alcatel in Merger Talks 

USA Today has a short clip in Moneyline that Lucent Technologies and French equipment maker Alcatel SA are discussing a merger in what could start consolidation among the firms. The companies in a statement: "We can confrim that Lucent and Alcatel are engaged in dicussions about potential merger of equals that is intended to be priced at market. There can be no assurances that any agreement will be reached or that a transaction will be consummated."

Is this another mega-merger between different company cultures that will not work out finally?

An act of dispair?

Next on stage Siemens and Nortel?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Dallas Treaty on Infrastructure ENUM 

Carrier/Infrastructure ENUM Points of Agreement - 22 March 2006

1. There will be a long-term solution that does things "right" as well as an interim solution that can be used by individual countries to implement an interoperable carrier ENUM tree ASAP

2. In order to project a unified approach to the "right" long-term solution with other standards bodies and NRAs, there will be explicit statements in the affected I-Ds that make it clear that the interim solution will be deprecated upon achievement of the long-term solution.

3. There will be a new I-D documenting the carrier enum apex. This will be done in such a way that the location of the infrastructure designator shall not vary by country code; it will be the same for the entire domain and in every country code. The apex "" was suggested, but that is tentative only. Everyone felt .arpa was certainly the correct TLD. This process will begin asap.

4. There will be an interim solution that will move ahead as an ENUM working group item ASAP, following the BLR logic and wording of the Michael Haberler's current I-D on this subject. However, some of the content which relates to DNS RRs in that draft will be split out into a different, new draft.

5. This interim solution will state prominently in the I-D, that this is in fact an interim solution that will be deprecated upon approval (loosely timed) of the "right" long-term solution. This will be at or near the beginning of such an I-D in a special section so that it can easily be located and will be noticed by readers.

6. This interim solution will not use a TXT RR, but a new RR type that will be moved ahead in the ENUM WG, with review and consultation from the appropriate DNS WG.

7. In summary, three I-Ds, all in the ENUM WG: document the long-term solution in a carrier-enum I-D in the ENUM WG with specifics around the new apex and solution, interim solution I-D in ENUM WG, other BLR/RR-related I-D in the ENUM WG.

8. Timing on new apex carrier enum I-D: create -00 asap as a WG item. Jason Livingood volunteers as document editor along with Penn Pfautz and Richard Stastny as co-authors. It should be noted that this I-D does not necessarily describe carrier enum requirements per se; it describes how to implement it in a specific domain apex.

9. Penn Pfautz's requirements I-D, already in process, should continue as-is and move to WGLC soon.

10. Timing on interim-solution I-D: add changes in updated haberler-03 I-D, then adopt as WG item and restart as -00. Move to WGLC at or before IETF 67.

11. Timing on BLR/RR-related I-D and new apex I-D: create new I-D asap. Move to WGLC at or before IETF 67.

12. All parties to this agreement will support this in good faith, in its entirety.

Signed and Agreed,

Signed by: Richard Shockey, Alexander Mayrhofer, Jason Livingood, Penn Pfautz, Lawrence Conroy, Michael Haberler, Richard Stastny

Special thanks to Jason Livingood for putting together this agreement.


The IETF ENUM WG was the first session on Monday morning, and it went quite well (business-as-usual) until it flew apart in the last 10 minutes.

The agenda is available here and the presentations given may be downloaded via this page.

Co-chair Patrik Faltstrom is back again and announced that he will start work on I-D RFC3761bis. There have been some issues especially with non-terminals NAPTRs and the DDDS. Patrik will also set up a ticketing system for tracking issues with RFC3761.

Next on the agenda the ENUM Implementors Draft was discussed and is considered to be final. The Guide and Template for IANA Registration of Enumservices is moving forward.

Next some new Enumservices where discussed, such as CNAM, IAX, FOAF, IM and calendar services. There are still many issues. Basically with every new Enumservice proposed always somebody raises the privacy issue and then somebody else is approaching the microphone challenging the use of E.164 numbers: "Why do we need phone numbers and not SIP URIs?"

1. This is ENUM WG, NUM standing for number and E somehow relates to E.164
2. because no provider is giving SIP URIs to his customers.

IMHO it should be much easier to register Enumservices. If somebody or a group of implementers (say the foaf community) want to have their own Enumservice, why shouldn't they have it. I suggest a fast lane with only expert review similar to the planned easy registration of DNS RR as proposed in RFC2929bis. If this is possible for DNS RR, it must e possible also for Enumservices.

The proposal by Alexander Mayhofer to merge ENUM Registration (Validation) and Domainkeys as lightweight Distributed Identity Infrastructure raised many issues and controversy.

Having set all this aside, the ENUM WG finally moved on to Infrastrucure ENUM issues. The Infrastructure ENUM Requirements are finally done and will be up-issued for WGLC with two minor corrections after the blackout period.

So only Michael Haberler's and mine draft on Combined User and Carrier ENUM in the tree was left. I gave a short presentation and then the meeting flew apart.

It was basically our mistake that we mixed up again too many issues in one draft. I should have known better with my experience from the msg I-D (now finally RFC 4355) that the IETF is capable only to deal with one issue at a time. And you should not have options in an I-D and we had too many:

Option 1 to have a new tree beside via IESG, RIPE and ITU-T, Option 2 to have a split below the country code in or even in another tree, and finally the pursuing Option 1 and Option 2 in parallel, using Option 2 as interim solution until Option 1 is sorted out.

Option 2 had in addition a sub-option to use a "Branch Location Record" (BLR) giving the position, label and apex of the split in, which could optionally either be implemented as DNS TXT RR or as a new DNS RR.

So a confusing discussion started in the last 10 minutes of the meeting, jumping between policy issues with the ITU-T and why TXT records are bad.

We requested finally a hum if we should move forward with the I-D as WG item and here finally Richard Shockey (opposing the BLR and interim solution) wanted to over-hum the room.

This ended the meeting, Patrik Faltstrom ording the opponents that they MUST come to a common agreement regarding the way forward during this week at the IETF.

So I held off this post on the ENUM WG until this agreement was reached. The common agreement was reached Wednesday evening and I will post it soon in detail.

The agreement reached is basically that Option 1 and 2 are pursued in parallel, having each Option in a separate I-D. The BLR will also be in a separe I-D, featuring a BLR RR as equested by the DNS proponents, using the expert review fast lane as mentioned above.

The agreement sets out also a time frame that all I-Ds should be ready for WGLC before or at IETF67.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The AFNIC Finally Gets It 

Yesterday AFNIC released the following statement:

The AFNIC opens up the .fr domain name to individuals from 20 June 2006
2005 the number of Internet users in France increased from 23.7 million to 26.1 million, which represents 50.5% of the French population over 11 years of age. It is used not only professionally and for online shopping; personal use, an integral part of French daily life, is also increasing. Uses include research, sharing photos, blogs, chat, etc. Individuals are showing a growing desire to stamp THEIR mark on the Internet world.

The AFNIC is reacting to this expectation by allowing all adults with a postal address in France to register domain names ending in .fr. Until now, only professionals, associations or public bodies have been able to register.

From 20 June 2006, everyone can give free rein to their imagination and register the .fr domain name which suits them.

The AFNIC is pleased to be able to participate in and boost Internet use in France in this way and to position .fr as an area for expression and freedom.
Bla, bla ... It took AFNIC quite some time to get the message that also individuals want to have their domain and that they are missing a lot of business. Even the Austrian Registry NIC.AT has more domain names delegated then AFNIC, not to mention DENIC.

Irish-Austrian Consortium Provides ENUM Services in Ireland 

The Irish Commision for Communication Regulation (ComReg) announced today officially that an Irish-Austrian Consortium wins competition for the provision of ENUM services in Ireland.

see also the document:
The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has today
announced that the IENUM consortium has won the competition to provide Ireland
with a single Registry for the supply of ENUM services.

The IENUM consortium is comprised of Ireland’s internet domain registry
body (IEDR) and the Internet Foundation of Austria. IENUM will now be
charged with providing a full commercial offering of ENUM services in the coming

In addition to awarding IENUM the right to operate the ENUM Tier 1
Registry for Ireland, ComReg has set up an industry ENUM Policy Advisory Board
to ensure that ENUM moves from trial phase to full commercial launch.

ComReg looks forward to working closely with IENUM as it commences work
on the new Irish commercial ENUM infrastructure. ComReg believes this
service will prove highly beneficial in encouraging Irish consumers to adopt new
and converged services (such as VoIP, next generation networks (NGNs) and
Fixed-Mobile convergence) as these emerge and grow over the coming period.


The evolution of ENUM in Ireland was initiated by ComReg, with support
from the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.

Many countries are carrying out ENUM trials but Ireland is now only the
third EU country, after Austria and Germany, to move fully into commercial
operation. The UK will follow suit later this year and North America (i.e.
country code “1”) in 2007 following the latter’s 12-month ENUM trial which has
recently started .

My remark on UK and US: Seeing is Believing. But maybe IENUM cound provide some help also there ;-)
The new IENUM consortium consists of IEDR of Ireland and IPA of

IEDR is the “.ie” Domain Name Registry, which provides the service
underlying all Irish .ie domain names.

IPA is very experienced organisation in the operation of ENUM and it
provides the Austrian “.at” domain name service, as well as the world’s first
commercial ENUM service.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Internet Garden Gnomes 

No, this is not (yet) the report on today's IETF ENUM and SPEERMINT sessions.

Since some people here in Dallas did not believe what I posted about the VON panel: Is IMS Really Walled Garden? - that Torben Warming from Ericsson stated that also the Internet is a garden, here the slide:

So the left upper bubble shows the Internet Garden. It would be nice if one could populate this garden with some Internet garden gnomes. Plenty of them hanging around here in Dallas ;-)

Remark: I will report about today's ENUM and SPEERMINT sessions after I have recovered and slept over it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

CIRA.CA Pulled the Plug on ICANN 

Being on the road, frozen and flooded in the last days, I nearly missed that CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) pulled the plug on ICANN in an open letter to ICANN last Friday.

CIRA will as of this date (March 17th, 2006):
  • Suspend its voluntary contribution of funds to ICANN;
  • Hold in trust CIRA's voluntary contributions to ICANN;
  • Suspend consideration of any Accountability Framework;
  • Decline to host or be a major sponsor of any ICANN event; and
  • Cease chairing the ccNSO's IANA Working Group.
The normally very polite and British Canadians are using quite harsh words here (the full text):

CIRA is a respected and influential player in global Internet governance. This has been especially true when it comes to ICANN, where CIRA's involvement has included: participating actively in events leading to the creation of ICANN; helping create the Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO); chairing the ccNSO working group on IANA; voluntarily contributing funds to ICANN; hosting the ICANN Montreal meeting; supporting the ICANN Vancouver meeting in many ways including being its main sponsor; and generally promoting the value and benefits of ICANN to the world community.

CIRA remains committed to global Internet governance. Notwithstanding this commitment, CIRA, including its Board of Directors, has grown increasingly concerned with ICANN's departure from a number of its core values. The process by which ICANN renewed its dot-com agreement with VeriSign is illustrative of this departure.

It is in this context that CIRA, wishing to see ICANN succeed, and expecting ICANN to follow accountable, transparent and fair processes, makes the following recommendations to the ICANN Board:

1. Accountability

ICANN's accountability to its stakeholders, including to the global Internet community is critical because ICANN's legitimacy is premised on stakeholder trust. When ICANN is seen to be unaccountable it loses stakeholder trust and therefore its legitimacy.

ICANN must change its structures, formally and publicly (including its by-laws), to ensure that ICANN and its Board are accountable to stakeholders, and that Board decisions are subject to formal checks and balances. A veto of Board decisions by a super-majority of Supporting Organisations would be an acceptable change.

2. Transparency

Many important Board discussions are held and many decisions are made behind closed doors. There is little or no formal record kept of these meetings beyond publishing the agenda and reporting the decisions made.

We accept that the ICANN Board should be able to hold non-public meetings if necessary and should be able to meet in camera to discuss specific issues. However, the basis for any such action must be justified and that justification reported publicly.

More importantly when reporting significant matters, in minutes or otherwise, ICANN must provide sufficient information on the deliberations leading to a particular decision. This includes summarizing the discussions, the questions asked, the answers provided and the rationale for following a particular course of action. These reports must be publicly available in a timely manner.

3. Fair Processes

In order to build and maintain trust and legitimacy, ICANN must establish and follow publicly documented and formally approved processes. These processes must be created in consultation with its stakeholders, in an accountable and transparent manner. It is important that ICANN adhere to, and be seen to adhere to, these processes at all times.

While the ICANN Board considers these concerns, and until they are remedied, CIRA will as of this date:

  • Suspend its voluntary contribution of funds to ICANN;
  • Hold in trust CIRA's voluntary contributions to ICANN;
  • Suspend consideration of any Accountability Framework;
  • Decline to host or be a major sponsor of any ICANN event; and
  • Cease chairing the ccNSO's IANA Working Group.

We remain optimistic that ICANN can live up to the multi-stakeholder, bottom-up, principles on which it was established. We welcome ICANN's efforts to reform and will make ourselves available to assist ICANN in this regard.

Yours very truly,

Canadian Internet Registration Authority

Dallas - The Day After 

This is how I had expected it

Ed, Jason, Alexander, Bernie and Michael

adding Lawrence and Richard

after the ENUM Session: Richard Shockey single handed against the rest of the world.

Industry Perspective 

Seen in Richardson.

Dallas Land Unter 

Some of us spent the afternoon in a toy shop for adults (Fry's) and headed back about 5pm to join the IETF Welcome Reception. It was again raining cats and dogs. When we appoached the Anatole from North on the 35E, we recognized already here that there will be some trouble:

And so it was:

So we decided not to take the direct exit, but the next one to reach to the Anatole via the main entrance:

This was not a good idea:

So we finally ended up at some doable exit at a nice Texan Steakhouse, definitely a better choice then the IETF Welcome Reception;-). So you never know.

Peoples Republic of Texas 

The Land of the Free.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Global Warming 

After a very cold and snow-rich winter in Austria (since the beginning of January the temperatures where mostly below 0°C, sometimes even -20°C in Vienna at night). I was really looking forward to go to sunny California and then to warm, dry and sunny Texas.

Nada, in San Jose it was raining the whole week, quite cold (just above 0°C) and snow on the surrounding hills.

Yesterday I arrived in Dallas, TX and of course it was raining cats and dogs, stormy and cold weather (about 10°C). Everybody explained to me that this was long expected and necessary, but I would not have minded this to be one week earlier or later. The IETF could have stayed in Minneapolis as well. Or do they get sponsered by the state of TX to bring the rain and cold down from Minneapolis? I did not have so much troubles with the cold weather there, as long as you can make it over to the Brits Pub.

Some people explained also to me that this bad weather is caused by Global Warming. If so, I want to have back the warm and sunny days from the Ice Age.

VON Day 3 - Friday - Wrap up 

The Spring VON 2006 ended for me with the Blogger Speak Out, although in a bit different combination as advertised: moderator Andy, panelists Christine, David, Paul Kapustka and myself, Jeff Pulver was first row in the audience.

Andy wanted to be the session similar to blog posting, so everybody is making a post and gets comments, both from the other bloggers and from the audience.

The first round was a personal presentation of the panelists and also statement why the are blogging and why they are reading blogs. Because all for panelist had a different professional background, this was quite interesting.

The second round started as discussion on the favorite topics, but it ended with a kind of VON wrap-up and future directions of the VON.

I heard from many sides that a lot of people where somewhat disappointed by the exhibition, because there was more business-as-usual then groundbreaking new topics. One could interpret this also in a positive way that VoIP and related topics are now entering mainstream - therefor business-as-usual.

Since I am more in the sessions then in the exhibition floor: my impression here also was mixed. on one side I saw again excellent presentations, besically from the usual suspects, on the other hand there where als some sessions I definitely had problems with, as already posted. This is not against the composition of the topics by the Pulver people, on the contrary, it shows that everybody is allowed to present his position. This is also one of the benefits of the broad spectrum here that one gets more then one opinion.

And there are also some new topics emerging: Video, IPTV and TV over Internet and the related business models, community driven applications and also identity issues.

A was a bit disappointed with the policy and regulatory discussion in the US going in circles or even backwards. Jim Kohlenberger from the VON Coalition gave an excellent overview about the on-going battle in Washington and also with state legislation.

Of course the best presentation was as already stated the one from Lawrence Lessig on Tuesday morning. Jeff is giving a press and blog coverage here and I am also looking forward for the release of the recorded session.

The second hightlight for me was the SIP P2P session on Wednesday evening.

To summarize: a excellent opportunity to get a status-update and to do networking. I personally are really looking forward to the Spring VON Europe 2006 in Stockholm in May.

Friday, March 17, 2006

VON Day 3 - Friday - Blogger Speak Out Advertisement 

Please come to the Breakout Session Blogger Speak Out at 1:30pm PST today in room A1.

Andy Abramson is moderating on interesting panel featuring:
So I have the honour to share the panel with some uber-mega value bloggers (as uber-mega value friend James Enck likes to put it ;-).

I am looking forward to see you all.

VON Day 2 - Thursday - ENUM and Standards Update 

This day I changed one gear down and took it easy. In the morning I joined the ENUM panel "Connected Numbers that Work", because I had nothing else to do. The panel was moderated by Gary Richenaker (Telcordia and ITU-T SG2 Q.1 chair). The panel consisted of the well known suspects Paul Mockapetris (Nominum), Richard Shockey (Neustar), Eli Katz (XConnect and ITSPA) and Adrian Georguescu (AG-Projects). Since I have heard these presentations already (many times) and did not take any notes and also was not very attentive. Maybe I will come back and comment later if the slides will be available.

The rest of the morning I finalized my presentation for the afternoon panel and also watched the funny video "MS Ipod Parody" - a must see. It describes better than anything else the difference in company cultures. And it also shows that there are still some people with humor at MS, because it is confirmed by MS speaker Tom Pilla that the video was created in-house MS.

After having lunch with Henry Sinnreich, Alan Johnston and Michael Slavitch I went back to give my presentation at the Standards Update Panel. I started with my somewhat provocative presentation about the S4-Syndrome, IMS complexity and Walled Gardens (see various posts), and Who cares about the end-user? Maybe it was more provocative as I originally intended, but I was still a bit upset from yesterdays IMS Panel.

I was followed by Markus Isomaki (Nokia) who gave a bit more serious view on the IMS Standards, but also with some slight critcism.

Phil Zimmerman presented his Zfone, which is IMHO an excellent and easy-to-use solution for secure and encryptet communication. It works on top of standard and well-known SIP clients such as X-Lite, Gizmo and SJphone. Phil, Alan Johnston and Jon Callas submitted also in I-D to standardize ZRTP. It does not rely on any PKI Infrastructure. Zfone is available currently for Mac OS X and Linux, a Windows version is announced for mid-April. I am looking forward. I just wonder how this fits into the LI plans of the governments.

Orit Levin (Microsoft) changed jobs and is now responsible for IPTV. She gave a presentation how IPTV can be implemented in IMS, making it even more complex. The S4 Syndrome is speading.

Cullen Jennings (Cisco) summarized the current developments in IETF of security.

Update: Christine is also reporting about this panel

Then I called it a day, after a coffee and a chat with Espen Fjogstad (Telio) on his plans in the mobile arena I went back to the hotel, to have some rest and prepare for Jeff's All Conference Party today, basically to get my ear-plugs ;-)

Sorry for the delayed post, but Blogger is experiencing serious troubles

Thursday, March 16, 2006

VON Day 1 - Wednesday Evening - SIP P2P 

After the IMS desaster I went to the last session of the day: General session: Peer to Peer SIP, and I was back to normal. This panel was top-class, basically a peek-preview of next IETF week in Dallas (also in the audience): David Bryan, Henry Sinnreich, Henning Schulzrinne, Alan Johnston, Cullen Jennings and Willi Wimmreuter, basically the creme de la creme of P2P SIP, in the audience lurking Rohan Mahy, Brad Templeton, Karl Stahl and others. Also the presentations where well coordinated, godfather Henry setting the scene, Henning, Alan and David providing the details, Willi giving the view of a manufacturer providing already early products, and finally Cullen speaking about naming and identity problems to be solved.

The vision of P2P SIP is in principle to provide the end-user with an easy to use minimal, self-configuring system, killing most of the (optional) boxes such as proxies, servers, SBC, Softswitches, etc. (= IMS). So the IMS session before was basically done by zombies? Interesting Daves outlook to use P2P not only for communication, but also for configuring e.g. consumer devices at home.

They even want to obsolete the DNS, which I still doubt. Maybe for normal operation such as call set-up, but not for naming and identity. Users will like this, manufactures not (except consumer device manufacturers). Providers? depends what they want to provide. At least you still need broadband access. But services? No, they are built in the devices and you buy them at Walmart, Aldi or Hofer (depending where you live) on display beside the frozen peas (as James Enck put it in the morning).

VON Day 1 - Wednesday Afternoon - Is IMS Really a Walled Garden 

This panel was outraging - I am fuming. And for this b*llsh*t I skipped the Regulatory Update: International.

In the panel description it was stated: Many carriers are looking to federate their networks to support third party services, but few are paying attention to how the Internet has evolved for these services. Portals on the Internet have shown that the reverse may be the case and the federators maybe the application providers.

There where five panelists and a moderator (Kathleen Jarosinski, Verizon), all of them denying that IMS is a Walled Garden. Either they did not understand the question and the issue, or I did. Some said that IMS is an open standard, anybody can use it, some said that third party providers are free to provide their multi-provider services and applications (ha) and it is basically depending on the business model choosen. The only honest statement was from Dan Steingas (Intel) who said he did not care, it is not his business where IMS is put.

Ok, the title was wrong, it should have been: Will IMS be placed in a Walled Garden?

Coming back to the session description: the Internet was not mentioned at all in the presentations, except on one slide: Torben Warming (Ericcson) had a slide showing 4 (four) walled gardens: the mobile walled garden, the home walled garden, the business walled garden and the Internet Walled Garden. To call the Internet a Walled Garden is a premiere.

We must live on different planets. So I waited for the questions, but first Misses moderator asked the panelists some questions and when the first question out of the audience was taken by somebody else, it was answered by one panelist after the other. I threw the towel and left.

My take: of course the IMS needs not to be in a walled garden, but all implementations I know put the IMS in a walled garden. Because if you would not put it there, you would only need one third of the boxes in the IMS architecture.

And especially for Ericsson: the Internet is NOT a walled garden, it is the street passing the walled gardens.

VON Day 1 - Wednesday Morning Industry Perspectives 

Wednesday morning started early as usual with Jeff's presentation, setting the scene. Jon covered it already very extensively, so I can skip this. As everybody know is Jeff a video-fan, especially since he got his HDTV cam. He also outed that VON originally stood for Voice and Video on the Net, but this was too early at that time, but now the time is ripe. As readers from his blog know, Jeff also likes the Sling box, and is giving away one to eveybody visiting all sponsors. His last statement about the sling box I have still to reflect: "It takes non-nomadic services and makes it nomadic." This deserves some additional thoughts.

Next presentation was from Bert Notebaert (Chair and CEO from Quest). It was for my impression a bit to non-surprising, business as usual. What is interesting with all carriers speaking at the VON is that they unisono state: "We never blocked traffic, we do not block traffic now and we will never block traffic. We do not even think about it" (same as Dave Young from Verizon yesterday). On the other hand, Carriers not showing up at the VON do not think about anything else (see my post from yesterday). Only at the end the speech got interesting when he stated that of course IF application providers want to have better access to their customers, or even want to turbo their customers (and pay for it), if they access their site, Quest is open for negotioations. And this seems already to be the case, although he did not disclose any details (NDAs, NDAs, ...)

I missed the combined presentation from AOL and Weblogs, and came back to Brough Turner from NMS Communcations, excellent as usual. His talk was this time not about his passion of layer 0 competition, he talked about IM/presence meets mobile. I fully agree with Brough that POTSoIP is not the future and that IM and presence is very important. I also agree that not presence is important, but availability. I personally do not understand why mobile operators have not yet implemented presence and location based services (at least in the US and EU), because especially kids would like it. Brough pointed to Asia, where these services are already implemented.

Very interesting (and new for me) was the presentation from Jeremy Allaire (Chair and CEO Brightcove) on "The Internet and the Transformation of Television Distribution". He defined the difference of IPTV and Internet TV and showed the potential new business opportunities. What I had not yet fully realized was that the content owners has much more control over the distribution then via normal distribution channels. e.g. he knows exactly who is using his content.

The morning ended with two highlights, the first from Tim O'Reilly, who explained how to find out what the next generation customers will want: pay attention to the early adoptors and watch the geeks and hackers. O'Reilly is doing this since the beginning and this is why they detected new developments so early, and gave some examples, e.g. sceeen scraping predicted web services and the Internet as platform. He cited William Gibson: "The future is here, it is just not evenly distributed yet."

So we should look what the geeks are doing with VoIP and gave some examples: treating it as an extension of the internet, sound like darth vader, make cheap local and long-dsitance calls, run skype from an USB stick (ha, I do), create a premium class of service, log and record VoIP streams, connect Asterisk to Skype, etc. Of course one can get all this hints by O'Reilly: VoIP Hacks, Skype Hacks, Nokia smart phone hacks, Switching to VoIP, ...

He also made the statement that carrier with walled gardens are repeating the mistakes AOL made - what walled gardens? are there walled gardens? I will come back to this later.

He ended with an other citation: An invention has to make sense in the world where it is finished, not where it is started (Ray Kurzweil).

The second highlight (also as usual) was the presentation from my European co-blogger and financial expert James Enck. It was as always a firework of so many ideas that I cannot reproduce them here without having access to the slides. James as especially refreshing in US centric conferences after a day of concentrating on problems concerning Cleveland and Rapid Falls to hear about Europe, Asia and the rest of the world ;-)

After a short lunch I went to the exhibut, visiting with Henry Sinnreich some exhibitors and then to collect stamps to get my Sling Box. Done. I have one, although I cannot use it at home because it is NTSC. So I call for bids in Dallas.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

VON Day 0 - Charging for My Pipes Flu is Spreading 

Lawrence Lessig in his keynote mentioned the wierd idea of AT&T (Whitacre) and BellSouth to charge Google et al for using "their" pipes. The disease is spreading. Adrian Georgescu forwarded me a link that kKPN and DT is also thinkng about this idioticity to charge Google, MSN, Amazon(!) and Skype for using "their" pipes, see here.

Since the page is in Dutch, Adrian was so nice to translate it and I post it here in full for your late night amusement:

KPN contemplates charging for transport of Internet data

KPN looks at the possibility of having companies like Google, Yahoo and MSN pay for using its own network. A representative talks about this as "an interesting thought".

'It is logical to think about this possibility", says the KPN-representative. 'It is historically developed the idea that the consumer must pay for the network. It has been always assumed naturally that we have to build and maintaining the network others use to prosper.'

Internet companies pay today for connecting their websites to the Internet. But the transport is negotiated in closed exchanges. But KPN does not expect soon to be able to send invoices to big users because the competition between big networks is quite different.

The free transport of data is already a thorn in the eye of telecom companies. In the US, KPN colleagues as AT&T and BellSouth already made their anger public and demanded money for data traffic. Now senator Ron Wyden has a proposal to pass a bill 'to avoid the split of the Internet'. He is afraid of the splitting between fast paid services and free but slow services on the other hand. In his vision the 'Internet belongs to the end-users ' and not to the telecom companies.

The discussion is in the mean time brought to Europe. Topman Kai-Uwe Ricke of Deutsche Telekom advocated recently to force the big players to pay for the infrastructure they use. Big users like Amazon, and Skype are horrified about this plan of telecom companies. About 60 internet companies signed an open letter where they point out that 'there is a risk that the Internet is being highjacked and the communication freedom will be lost'. They call for political support 'to protect the freedom of Internet so that it remains a platform for future inovation and progress'.

Michiel Leenaars of the Dutch Internet Society calls the plans of telcos 'ridiculous'. 'This is an extra tax for transport, which in practice is unachievable. Based on this vision each packet should have a price tag attached to it, which is a typical telecom thinking'.

I can only agree with Michiel.

And I ask myself if e.g. Amazon is really "horrified"?

Imagine Amazon and Google are redirecting customers with IP addresses from KPN to a web-page stating:

Sorry, nothing personal, but we do not sell to customers connected via KPN, choose another provider.

VON Day 0 - Other Innovations - or so 

Day 0 at VON ended with three Industry Perspectives.

The first was from Sprint on Hosted IP Centrex (is the a non-hosted IP Centrex?). Christine was already reporting on it, so I save some time. She is a bit curious about this, and so am I. I am also wondering about the out-sourcing of this service by Sprint to NGT (hosting of hosting?) and also who will buy this service if no connectivity is provided to customer applications, such as Outlook.

The second was innovative again, it was about the Sling Box. This is of course a must have gadget for road warriors. Since Jeff is really a fan of it, he is giving away a box to everybody visiting all sponsors at the exhibition. The only drawback for us Europeans is that we heard at the presentation that it is currently only available for NTSC - no PAL. How come that such innovative guys make such a simple mistake not to provide both standards immediately? BTW, also here a post from Christine is available already - how is she doing this?

The last presentation was from Bell-South on EoN - Everything on the Net.

This presentation confirmed the impression I got at the Fall VON 2005 in Boston from Bell South - they are heading full speed in the wrong direction, although the speaker (Hank Kafka) denied: IMS, walled garden and a proprietory application platform. Telltale was that although the title of the presenation was Everything on the Net, the Internet did not show up on any slide.

After some Sushi's, some glasses of red wine and some chats with old and new friends I am done for the day, looking forward for the Industry Perspectives of tomorrow.

VON Day 0 - Innovation by Lawyers 

Not all sessions where equally interesting, so I checked my e-mails in the mean-time. BTW, this time the VON WiFi network is working like charm. Since my blog is also about ENUM, I have to report the following message received from the (US) ENUM Forum Adminstrator:

This is a Memorandum of Understanding by and between the Country Code 1 ENUM Limited Liability Company and entities wishing participate in a public trial of ENUM in the United States under the domain.
Of course I had immediatetely to peek at it.

In short: the US ENUM Trial will go nowhere (maybe on purpose). This is an innovation taken hostage by laywers. The ENUM LLC is now fiddling around since one year setting up a crippled trial, and reading the MoU it will take another year until a real trial is on its way. And afterwards there will still be unresolved privacy and reliabilty issues. I have no idea what should be trialed here? That the DNS works? Who cares that mega businesses worldwide run with the DNS since years. That ENUM works? Who cares about commercial ENUM services in developing countries such as Austria and Germany, not to mention the private ENUM applications such as XConnect. How to run a DNS registry? Ok, ask e.g. Verisign. How to deal with phone numbers and number portability. Ask Neustar and/or Telcordia.

If the Internet would have been done in the same way, we would still have the Arpanet with 15 hosts and eventually have a trial of an e-mail service. Ok, now I see: we would not have a spam problem. Not to mention pishing.

VON Day 0 - Innovation by Regulation 

I stayed the rest of the day in the Communications Policy Summit stream. The morning session featured a hugh panel discussion with representatiives from all kinds. Of course the discussion was mainly centered on US internal issues concerning net neutrality. My general impression here is that this dicussion is currently going in circles and leading nowhere. Everybody agrees that a way-out is necessary, but nobody seems to have a clue how.

Very interestimg was the afternoon session on The imposition on Regulation on e-Commerce, the Internet and Affected Businesses. In this session it was clearly stated that the old de-regulation in the 1980 and 1990 was basically very useful and that the current problems where mainly caused by leaving these principles.

Everybody seemed to be really concerned about the current mergers creating a Duopoly and it was stated from all sides that the Internet needs to be regulated to prevent these companies from taking over the Internet and to clearly separate again access and backbone.

So basically the regulator is needed to assure again "Equal Access" both for the consumers and also for the application and content providers, to foster innovation.

VON Day 0 - Innovation by Kids 

The Spring VON 2006 started fulminantly at 8:30pm with the keynote by Lawrence Lessig. It was really a pity that Lawrence had to leave immediately afterwards, because this presentation had deserved a larger audience. His speech was over one hour, so I am not able to reproduce it here. But Jeff recorded the presentation on Video, so I hope it will be available soon, because it is a must see.

The key message was that either the owner of the network controls the innovation or that in an unowned network the right to innovate is not controlled. This is valid for applications but also for content. He had also a nice example on discrimination: the power company could also demand more money if you use the power for a heart monitor and not just for heating, because this creates more value. Lawrence brought some interesting examples of applications and content innovation done by "kids and non -Americans", e.g. starting with Kahn/Cerf (kids at that time), the web (done by CERN), ICQ, Skype, etc. He showed also some really interesting and also funny examples how kids modify and innovate content on the net. IMHO (and also by Lawrence) the best example see at and look at Read My Lips. Lawrence said laywers have problems with this "because this is not funny". The audience in the room was ROTFL.

The essence of his speech was that end-to-end is more valuable for the economy than walled garden networks and he ended with the already famous statements from Whitacre.

Monday, March 13, 2006

IP based NGN TAX at Dhaka? or Internet Held Hostage? 

Yesterday I received a curious e-mail out of nowhere (from Optimum T&D?) with the above text in the reference and the following text (including typos):
Dear Sir,

It is our pleasure to take an opportunity to an International tender enquiry as noified by Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board for supply, installation, testing and commissioning of IP based NGN Tax at Dhaka, Khulna, Jessore, Barisal and Kushtia on turnkey basis. Bid submission is due on 26th April '2006. Please note that the project is financed by the Government of Bangldesh.

It would highly be appreciated if you kindly forward this enquriy to the specific person for our sake.

Thanks in advance for your kind support & cooperation in this instance.

Best regards. / K. M. Haque
First I already wanted to delete it as spam, but then I asked myself what a TAX is on a Turnkey basis is and why it requires installation, testing and commissioning.

Since curiously (especially for a spam) no links where provided, I googled for Bangladesh Telephone Board and found BTTB online, and there was on the bottom a link pointing to BTTB Tender Info and there it was:

Supply, Installation, Testing and Commissioning of a Common Platform for exchanging VoIP and Internet Traffic on turn-key basis" (Book-1 and Book-2).

So nothing about tax, it is a tender for a national IP and VoIP platform!

Book 1 contains mostly the legal and procedural stuff for the tender, Book 2 contains the proposed network architecture and the requirements.

From quick scanning the 150 pages I get the following impression: the Bangladesh Government wants to implement a state owned international gateway both for IP traffic and also for VoIP traffic. All national ISPs and also all ITSPs (Internet Telephony Service Providers) MUST connect to this platform:
The Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, represented by Bangladesh T&T Board (BTTB) intends to deliver huge bandwidth getting through SEA-ME-WE4 Submarine Cable to the subscribers’ like-households, corporate offices, international organizations, Internet service providers, government/semi-government/autonomous offices/ research organizations and educational institutes. As such it intends to procure all the required products and services for the work as mentioned subsequently in this Bidding Document in the name of "Supply, Installation, Testing and Commissioning of a Common Platform for exchanging VoIP and Internet Traffic on turn-key basis”.
Brief description of the Network:
Under this Procurement, Common Platform will consist of 4 Nodes. The Nodes will be installed at Dhaka, Chittagong, Bogra and Sylhet. The connectivity among MPLS enabled Routers of these sites is shown in Fig- 3.1. Chittagong Router will act as International Gateway Router. The capacity requirement of this Gateway Router along with Backbone Routers at other nodes is given in Annex-1.3. BTTB’s Internet Uplink (s) will be terminated here. The links carrying Voice traffic of different ITSPs will also be terminated here. From this gateway router the voice traffic of different ITSP will be forwarded to respective ITSP’s router with ensured bandwidth, for which ITSP has been committed. The voice traffic for Chittagong ITSPs and Internet Traffic for Chittagong will be forwarded to Chittagong LAN. Traffic along the different links is narrated below ...
So the government wants to control all Internet traffic and especially the Voice traffic. And as usual, this hinders innovation: looking at the requirements, it is obvious that it took them 4 years to develop the tender, as one can easily see from the state-of-art of the referenced standards. It is basically a softswitch architecture providing all interfaces including ISDN, SS7 and last but not least V5.2 and R2. And of course H.323

SIP is mentioned only as a side remark, referencing RFC 3261 and RFC 3262 (not even RFC 3263!)

Bid submission is due April 26th, 2006, so dear incumbent manufacturers, get going: this is the last chance to get rid of your obsolete boxes in store.

Pulver/Evslin Petition to the FCC on Post-Desaster Communication 

Today, Jeff Pulver and Tom Evslin filed a Petition with the US Federal Communications Commission in an effort to mitigate the effects of long-term telephone outages in the event of natural disasters or other public crises.

They propose a solution that could provide immediate relief before the next hurricane season and before more elaborate rules might feasibly be established. They ask simply that the FCC require any provider obligated to provide E911 services to establish an alternate communications service for affected customers via either: (1) activating for each customer a voicemail service that would be accessed by incoming callers dialing the customer's phone number, or (2) providing expedited local number porting to an alternate service provider selected by the customer, including porting to a number outside of the geographic area and/or rate center. Either of these proposals would provide a technically feasible and reasonable means of ensuring that consumers remain connected during emergencies.

For more information see either Jeff's blogentry or the petition itself.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Getting Ready for Spring VON 2006 

Spring VON 2006 means for me basically getting from Vienna to San Jose, which takes some time. Not only telecommunication is moving back to the future, so is travelling. It is getting worse and worse. Ok, it is my fault to book a itinerary from Vienna to San Jose via London Heathrow and Chicago, which took me 26 hours on the road. Nothing special happend this time compared to my recent experiences, only two minor observations:

1. It was the first time for me to arrive in LHR on terminal 4 and had to take the bus to terminal 3. How can somebody lay out an International airport in such a way that the bus is driving 15 min on a completely insane route through an area looking like the backside of the London Docks before rennovation? One advantage is that you enter terminal 3 via a backdoor (no kidding) with a separate security check avoiding any queues e.g. like here on LHR terminal 2.

2. Talking about queuing. Chikago Terminal 5. Arriving in Chikago on time and completely sober - American Airlines is the first airline I ever had with no free drinks on an intercontinental flight - and having a 2 hour stop-over time ahead, I did not worry about my connection to San Jose - until I saw the queue at immigation. 30 in where already gone with taxi and walking, the immigation took another 60 min waiting in the queue. I suggest that consumer protection agency should have a look at this and request a regulator to be established for airport authorities and governments to order maximum waiting times in queues. E.g. like they guaranty in stores: if more then 5 CUSTOMERS queue up an additional cashier is opened. In Chikago from 20 available lines for visitors only 4 (sometimes 5) lines where open. Having only 30 min left to go by train to termial 3 and then though another security check, this will be tight. But I made it in 20 min, mainly because there was NO queue at the security check in terminal 3, seconds before they closed the gate. And then I sat 15 min exhausted in the plane before it pushed back - hurry up and wait.

Having now two days before the VON really starts, I have some time to recover and to prepare for my two panels, the first on Thursday 1:45pm: Standards Update moderated by Henry Sinnreich (Pulver) and it has a very interesting mix of partizipants: Markus Isomaki (Nokia), Cullen Jennings (Cisco and freshly appointed IETF Real-Time Applications and Infrastruture Area Director), Orit Levin (Micoosoft) and Phil Zimmerman (PGP). The second panel will be on Friday will be the Bloggers Speak-Out at 1:30pm, moderated by Andy Abramson, and also partizipating Christine Herron, Jeff Pulver and Ted Shelton.

In the meantime I will also trying to finalize my schedule, but I know from experience that this can only be tentative, because there is also the interesting exhibition, taking away some time from the presentations, and of course the usual networking, meeting old friends and making new ones.

The only thing I know for sure now is that I will start on Tuesday with the Communications Policy Summit, definitely not missing Lawrence Lessig's Keynote at 8:30am, although I may also want to peek in the parallel session on Communications for Communities Summit.

I also will not miss the Industry Perspectives on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, starting with Jeff as usual and ending with Tim O'Reilly and James Enck (as usual? ;-)

The rest of the week is ffs.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Back to the Future 

The US is moving backwards, at least on their way to a duopoly, save the cable operators: is reporting in AT&T's Call for Relevance:

When AT&T Chief Executive Edward E. Whitacre Jr. announced Sunday that his company would acquire BellSouth in a deal worth $67 billion, it signaled a new era for big telephony as well as the near complete undoing of the 1984 breakup of Ma Bell, with four out of seven Baby Bells soon subsumed back into the company.


The purchase isn't really about undoing regulatory action or increasing market cap. For that matter, it isn't even about phone service. This merger is about buying the lines that connect to the homes of BellSouth customers and selling them everything you can squeeze down a fiber-optic line, including television, Internet, movies and music.


This merger is a logical next step," Whitacre said. "Together, we will lead the way into a new era of converged and bundled communications, video and entertainment services while also improving our ability to manage complex networks."


To make up for the death of their oldest and historically most important business, the phone companies have had to scramble to find alternatives. Wireless telephony proved to be one great way to make cash...

But while cellular is still hugely important, it's rapidly becoming a mature market. More than 80% of adults in the U.S. already own a cell phone. Companies like AT&T know they have to compete directly with fast-growing Internet phone services and turn the tables on the cable companies that provide them.

"They are gearing up to fight new competitors, the cable-television industry, for the complete bundle of services, including telephone, television, wireless and Internet," said independent telecom analyst Jeff Kagan.

"AT&T is getting ready to roll out their television service on a nationwide basis. This is much more advanced than traditional television," Kagan continued. "Customers, for example, can watch four channels at one time. This is sending companies like Comcast and the other cable television companies back to the drawing board to offer a better combination of services."

Ultimately, it's likely the telecom industry will become something of a duopoly, with Verizon and AT&T competing head-to-head, and both companies squaring off against the cable industry.

"Telecommunications as an industry in the United States is going through massive changes," says Kagan. "We are in the middle of a major 20- to 30-year transformation. When we come out the other side, we'll have the choice of our telephone company versus our cable-television company for the same big bundle of services."

20- to 30 years?

Five. At most.

Why do we need IMS? - 3G IMS explained 

I finally wanted to know how the IMS really works, so I purchased the excellent book "The 3G IP Multimedia Systems (IMS), Second Edition" from the two "Finns" Gonzalo Camarillo and Miguel A. Garcia-Martin.

The book gives an excellent overview on most aspects of the IMS, such as general principles and architecture, session control, AAA and accounting, security, policy, QoS, media encoding and transport, presence and instant messaging. The book is well structured and I like that most topics are coming in two sections: Internet (plain IETF) and the IMS, so one also sees the difference. There is one exception: the charging architecture ;-) This is BTW one of the most complex topics.

Remark: maybe in the next edition a third section will be available: Internet, 3GPP and ETSI TISPAN for fixed access and what the differnces are - this would be nice ;-)

The information is quite detailed, e.g. in session control you are really walked though the call flows via all functional "boxes", and every message has a full header message example. BTW, all figures (including header examples) are available here.

I have only one serious criticism The usage of Tel URIs, phone numbers and the mapping of E.164 numbers to SIP URIs is not covered very well, adequately and in detail. It seems that the authors are not quite firm in this area, as one can derive from the fact that they still reference RFC 2916 regarding ENUM!

Of course there are also some interesting statements on IMS, e.g. I was especially interested to read in the Introductory Section 1.3 "Why do we need IMS?"

The authors raise the question by themselves:
... In fact, any cellular user can access the Internet using a data connection and in this way access any services may provide ...
and further down:
... This means that any given user can install a VoIP client in their 3G terminal and establish VoIP calls over the packet-switched domain. Such a user can take advantage of all the services that service providers on the Internet offer, such as voice mail or conferencing services...

... Why do we need the IMS, if all the power of the Internet is already available for 3G users through the packet-switched domain? ...
My remark: and in addition the same services are also available via any packet-switched domain, not only 3G.
The answer is threefold: QoS, charging and integration of different services.
Ok, QoS is the usual stuff I will only believe when I see it. What I am missing here interestingly is one topic always raised by the IMS-freaks such as mobile operators, TISPAN vendors and the GSMA is security and reliability., one of the main arguments for the IPX(GRX/CRX).

At least the authors spelled out the main reason: charging.

The arguments for this are really cute - my comments in [..]
... Another [the main] reason for creating the IMS was to be able to charge multimedia sessions appropriately [keep the existing business model]. A user involved in a videoconference over the packet-switched domain usually transfers a large amount of information. Depending on the 3G operator the transfer of such amount of data may generate large expenses [one may say prohibitive expenses if you are roaming in a visited network], since operators typically charge based on the number of bytes transferred [typically 10$/MB]. The user's operator cannot follow a different business model to charge the user because the operator is not aware of the context of those bytes [poor guys].
This is all well known, it is called discriminative pricing. But now it comes:
... On the other hand, if the operator is aware of the actual service that the user is using, the operator can provide an alternative charging scheme that may be more beneficial for the user.
What? This is really cute. Touching. I am moved to tears. Or are you guys pulling my leg? Yes:
... for instance, the operator might be able to charge a fixed amount for every instant message, regardless of its size. Additionally, the operator may charge for a multimedia session based on duration.
Aha, here we are: this is what the operators want: if I use e.g. Skype for IM, I do pay for some bytes, now I will pay 0,20 cents per message like for an SMS. The reason is that somebody has to pay for the expensive billing systems.

I also have some doubts about the 3rd topic: providing integrated services (this reminds me of the term ISDN).
... operators want to be able to use services developed by third parties, combine them, integrate them with services thy already have, and provide the user with a completely new service ...
Also here, seeing is believing. I am really waiting for the first real implementation here.

I found another nice statement a bit later in the IMS Architecture section 3.4:
Before exploring the general architecture in the IMS we should keep in mind that 3GPP does not standardize nodes, but functions. This means that the IMS architecture is a collection of functions linked by standardized interfaces. Implementers are free to combine two functions into a single node (e.g. into a single physical box).

In general, most vendors follow the IMS architecture closely and implement each function into a single node.
Of course they do, because they like to sell single boxes, because you still get more for a box then for a (SW)-function.

Anyway, to summarize: a book worth reading.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cisco finally adopting SIP 

SIP is finally going mainstream, after last but not least Cisco adopts IP Telephony Standard

Obviously two SIP latecomers are joining forces ;-)
As part of the announcement this week, Cisco said it is working with Microsoft to integrate its Office Communicator 2005 and Office Live Communications with Cisco's Unified Communications System. The integration means that users can launch a VoIP conversation directly from their Microsoft Outlook client. The interoperable package should be available in August 2006, the companies said.
I would not be too surprised if Microsoft is getting ENUM aware and Cisco as a next step is finally moving from RFC 2916 to RFC 3761.

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