IEEE Communications Magazine Article on Future Networks

posted 26 Mar 2013, 09:09 by Patrick Poullie   [ updated 27 Mar 2013, 03:31 ]
The current issue of the IEEE Communications Magazine features an article that describes ITU-T´s standardization activities in Future Networks (FNs). This article termed "Toward Future Networks: A Viewpoint from ITU-T" presents details of FN standardization and focuses on ITU-T´s achieved results and future plans in this area. It describes FNs as "networks to be deployed roughly in the 2015–2020 timeframe" and states that ITU takes the top down as well as the bottom up approach to standardize these networks. The former approach is motivated by the fact that consensus on larger trends and issues, such as data explosion and environmental issues, exists. The article explicitly discusses ITU-T´s Recommendation Y.3001 that describes objectives and design goals for future networks (FNs). In particular, Y.3001 identifies the four objectives (i) service awareness, (ii) data awareness, (iii) environmental awareness, and (iv) social and economic awareness, which are described by the article as "[...] fundamental issues to which not enough attention was paid in designing current networks”. The four objectives are refined by twelve design goals, that serve to achieve them. Because the article discusses these objectives and design goals, it also introduces ITU-T Study Group 13 (SG13), which has the lead for FN standardization within ITU-T and therefore developed Y.3001.

Since SG13 started its activities already in 2009, when the discussion of FNs was in an early stage, it was decided that "it is very important to listen to the voices of not only ITU-T members, but also experts including researchers outside of ITU-T", as cited from the article. Due to this decision, members of the UZH delegation (coordinator of SmartenIT and SESERV) support SG13´s standardization activities since 2011 and in particular develop recommendation Y.FNsocioeconomic, which is aimed at the socio-economic aware design of future network technology. Therefore Y.FNsocioeconomic proposes tussle analysis to achieve Y.3001´s fourth objective “Social and Economic Awareness”, which is described by the article as the "[...] aim to take into consideration social and economical aspects when realizing the [network] architecture." The proposed tussle analysis methodology was developed by the SESERV project to evaluate and address socio-economic factors during the design phase of (FN) technology. It is proposed in Y.FNsocioeconomic to implement "Economic incentives", which is a design goal necessary for the objective of social and economic awareness. As also named by the article, the other necessary design goal is "service universalization". Since it was hitherto not included in Y.FNsocioeconomic, it was decided during the last SG13 meeting in March, to also include it. However, input for an according section will not be provided by the UZH delegation but by other volunteering experts, more knowledgeable about this area.

When recommendations for the four objectives are discussed, the article names “mobility” as a recommendation related to service awareness and defines it as the “movement support of virtual resources including users and services”. This is highly relevant for SmartenIT, as the project declared "Global service mobility" as one of its three major scenarios and therefore may contribute achieved results to the development of ITU-T recommendations.

The article´s section dedicated to recommendations related to socio-economic awareness states that "Network architecture indirectly but certainly affects society and business by providing the playing field for social activity and business", wherefore Y.3001 also considers social and economic issues despite its technical focus. The section then explicitly names and discusses Y.FNsocioeconomic that is introduced as a "[...] framework to anticipate the socio-economic impact of the technology during its design." Subsequently, the document and accordingly tussle analysis is elaborated in more detail whereupon the section concludes that the introduced methodology helps to "design a technology for FNs that is in line with the respective socio-economic design goals and objectives".

When the document discusses future plans, it is stated that, due to the rising relevance of standardization activities of FNs, SG13 decided to "divide the group involved in standardization of FNs into three groups", that focus on (i) service awareness including SDN, (ii) data awareness, and (iii) environment and socio-economic awareness and short-term realization of FNs, respectively. Due to this structural change, it became necessary to house Y.FNsocioeconomic in one of these three groups, in order to continue its development. This step was recently successfully taken by the UZH delegation in the last SG13 meeting in March. In particular, UZH proposed to continue the development of the document within ITU-T’s Q16/13, which is the third of the newly established groups and addresses “Environmental and socio-economic sustainability in future networks and early realization of FN”. The group is therefore considered a perfect match for the further development of the document by the UZH delegation. The article closes by acknowledging amongst others Martin Waldburger, who is UZH´s driving force in ITU-T engagements, for his “work and contributions to the ITU-T FN activities”.

The next editorial iteration for Y.FNsocioecomic will happen during SG13 Rapporteur meeting in June 17-28, 2013, and during SG13 meeting in November 4-15, 2013. The UZH delegation, which is constituted by members of UZH´s Communication Systems Group (CSG), will provide contributions to these iterations that are to be developed in the framework of SmartenIT´s and Flamingo´s socio-economic research facets. Furthermore, the CSG also evaluates potential to refine technical SmartenIT and Flamingo research to be contributed to ITU-T recommendations.