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Communication Software, Protocols and Architecture


  • What are standards?
  • Why push for standardization?
  • International standardization, why is it needed?
  • International Standards Bodies
  • National Standards Bodies
  • Standard Documents & Series
  • IETF and ISO standardization process
  • How ISO standards are developed
  • Obtaining standard documents

What are standards?

  • Standards are documented agreements containing technical specifications to
    • be used consistently as rules, guidelines, or definitions of characteristics
    • ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.
  • International Standards contribute to making life simpler, and to increasing the reliability and effectiveness of the goods and services we use.

Why push for standardization?

  • Industry-wide standardization is a condition existing within a particular industrial sector when the large majority of products or services conform to the same standards.
  • It results from consensus agreements reached between all economic players in that industrial sector - suppliers, users, and often governments.
  • The aim is to facilitate trade, exchange and technology transfer through:
    • Enhanced product quality and reliability at a reasonable price.
    • Greater compatibility and interoperability of goods and services.
    • Simplification for improved usability.
    • Increased distribution efficiency, and ease of maintenance.

Simplified example: Mobile phones

  • Mobile phone networks consist of different pieces from different vendors
    • Interoperability between network hardware needed
  • Mobile phones come from several manufacturers
    • Interoperability to access network is needed
  • Mobile phone networks are controlled by different operators.
    • Interoperability needed for accomplish roaming

International standardization

  • International standardization is now well-established for very many technologies in such diverse fields as information processing and communications, textiles, packaging, distribution of goods, energy production and utilization, shipbuilding, banking and financial services.
  • It will continue to grow in importance for all sectors of industrial activity for the foreseeable future.
  • The main reasons are:
    • Worldwide progress in trade liberalization
    • Interpenetration of sectors
    • Global standards needs for emerging technologies
    • Developing countries

Worldwide communications systems

  • The computer industry offers a good example of technology that needs quickly and progressively to be standardized at a global level.
    • ISO’s OSI basic reference model is a good example.
  • Full compatibility among open systems fosters
    • Healthy competition among producers
    • Offers real options to users since it is a powerful catalyst for innovation,
    • Improved productivity and cost-cutting.

What makes up a standard?

  • ISO explains the major components of their standards documents:
    • It can be anything from a four-page document to a 1000-page tome, including twice the weight of the standard itself in informative annexes.
    • It may specify the tasks that a certain range of equipment must be able to perform, or describe in detail an apparatus and its safety features.
  • It may contain:
    • Symbols
    • Definitions
    • Diagrams
    • Codes
    • Test methods.

Parties involved in Standardization and Specification

  • International Standards Bodies, eg. ISO
  • National Standards Bodies, eg SFS, ANSI
  • Industry consortiums, eg. W3C
  • Special Interest Groups (SIG)
  • Research communities, eg. ACM

International Standards Bodies: ISO

  • The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 100 countries, one from each country.
  • ISO is a non-governmental organization established in 1947.
  • The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardization & related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods & services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological & economic activity.
  • ISO's work results in international agreements which are published as International Standards.

International Standards Bodies: ITU-T (formerly CCITT)

  • The ITU (International Telecommunications Union), headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland
  • International organization within which governments & the private sector coordinate global telecom networks and services.
  • ITU activities include:
    • The coordination, development, regulation and standardization of telecommunications.
    • Organization of regional & world TELECOM events.

International Standards Bodies:IETF

  • The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is the protocol engineering and development arm of the Internet.
  • Large open international community of
    • network designers
    • operators
    • vendors
    • researchers concerned with the evolution of the Internet architecture and the smooth operation of the Internet.
  • Open to any interested individual.
  • The actual technical work of the IETF is done in its working groups, which are organized by topic into several areas (e.g., routing, network management, security, etc.)
  • Much of the work is handled via mailing lists, however, the IETF also holds meetings three times per year.

International Standards Bodies: ISOC

  • The Internet SOCiety is the international organization for global cooperation and coordination for the Internet and its internetworking technologies and applications.
  • Members reflect the breadth of the entire Internet community and consist of
    • Individuals
    • Corporations
    • Non-profit organizations
    • Government agencies.
  • Principal purpose is to maintain and extend the development and availability of the Internet and its associated technologies and applications - both as an end in itself, and as a means of enabling organizations, professions, and individuals worldwide to more effectively collaborate, cooperate, and innovate in their respective fields and interests.
  • Specific goals and purposes include:
    • Development, maintenance, evolution, and dissemination of standards for the Internet and its internetworking technologies and applications;
    • Growth and evolution of the Internet architecture;
    • Maintenance and evolution of effective administrative processes necessary for operation of the global Internet and internets;
    • Education and research related to the Internet and internetworking;

International Standards Bodies:W3C

  • The World Wide Web Consortium promotes the Web by producing specifications and reference software.
  • W3C is funded by industrial members but its products are freely available to all.
  • The Consortium is run by MIT LCS with INRIA acting as European host and Keio University in Asia, in collaboration with CERN where the web originated.
  • Areas:
    • Universal Access: To make the Web accessible to all by promoting technologies that take into account the vast differences of users on all continents;
    • Semantic Web: To develop a software environment that permits each user to make the best use of the resources available on the Web;
    • Web of Trust: To guide the Web's development with careful consideration for the novel legal, commercial, and social issues raised by this technology.
  • W3C Recommendation is the W3C equivalent of a Web standard

W3c standardisation process

International Standards Bodies:IEEE

  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is the world's largest technical professional society.
  • A non-profit organization
  • Promotes the engineering process of creating, developing, integrating, sharing, and applying knowledge about electro and information technologies and sciences for the benefit of humanity and the profession.
  • Concentrates on lower layer standardisation.

International standardization bodies: Ecma International

  • Ecma International is an industry association founded in 1961, dedicated to the standardization of information and communication systems
  • Ecma is driven by industry to meet the needs of industry, generating a healthy competitive landscape based on differentiation of products and services, rather than technology models, generating confidence among vendors and users of new technology.
  • Ecma International facilitates the timely creation of a wide range of global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Consumer Electronics (CE) standards, for
  • Programming Languages
  • ECMAScript
  • Business Communications
  • Near Field Communications
  • High Rate Wireless Communications
  • Product Safety
  • Environmental Design Considerations
  • Acoustics and Electromagnetic Compatibilty (EMC)
  • Optical Storage
  • Volume and File structure
  • Universal 3D open file format
  • Holographic Information Storage Systems (HISS)
  • Office Open XML Formats
  • Open XML Paper Specification (OpenXPS)

International Standards bodies: ETSI

  • The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, broadcast and internet technologies.
  • recognised as an official European Standards Organisation by the European Union, enabling valuable access to European markets.
  • Not-for-profit organization with more than 700 ETSI member organizations drawn from 62 countries across 5 continents world-wide
  • For example GSM and Tetra are standardized by ETSI

National Standards Bodies: ANSI

  • Founded in 1918, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), is a private, not-for-profit membership organization that coordinates the U.S. voluntary consensus standards system and approves American National Standards.
  • ANSI consists of approximately 1,300 national and international companies, 30 government agencies, 20 institutional members, and 250 professional, technical, trade, labor and consumer organizations.
  • ANSI’s mission is to enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity.
  • Integral to the development and approval process is the requirement that all interests concerned have the opportunity to participate in the development process.

National Standards Bodies: NIST

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology was established by Congress “to assist industry in the development of technology … needed to improve product quality, to modernize manufacturing processes, to ensure product reliability … and to facilitate rapid commercialization … of products based on new scientific discoveries.”
  • NIST's primary mission is to promote U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards.

National Standards Bodies: SFS

  • SFS - Finnish standards association is national standardisation body in Finland
  • Works on standardisation in Finland
  • The total number of SFS Standards amounts to over 20 000.
  • All SFS Standards are mentioned in the annual bilingual (Finnish and English) SFS Catalogue, which is in the www-pages of SFS continuously up-dated.
  • Member of the European standards organizations CEN, CENELEC and ETSI

Other Standardisation bodies

  • Several forums and collaborations to create standards for specific area or actively participate for creating standards through standardisation bodies
  • Oasis - XML documents related standards
  • 3GPP (3G Partnership Project) and 3GPP2 : 3G standardisation (UMTS)
  • OMA - Open mobile alliance for Mobile application protocols combining several standalone groups under its wings
    • WAP, SYNCML, Wireless village…
  • Bluetooth SIG
  • IrDA - infrared communication standards
  • DVB
  • and many others

Active participant in standardisation: ACM

  • Association for Computing Machinery (founded 1947) is an international scientific and educational organization
    • Dedicated to advancing the art, science, engineering, application of information technology
    • Serving both professional and public interests by
      • fostering the open interchange of information
      • promoting the highest professional and ethical standards.
  • Since its inception ACM has provided its members and the world of computer science a forum for the sharing of knowledge on developments and achievements necessary to the fruitful interchange of ideas.
  • Over the years ACM has flourished along with the industry itself, playing a major role in enriching the quality, form and function of computer usage.
  • ACM forms Special Interest Groups (SIGs) which focus on specific areas of computer science. Some SIGs which relate to data communications are
  • Data Communication (SIGCOMM)
  • Hypertext/Hypermedia (SIGLINK)
  • Multimedia (SIGMM)

Standards Documents and Series: RFC

  • RFC (request for comments) are publicly available documents which track the growth of all Internet-related protocols.
  • All TCP/IP protocol implementations must be based on RFCs to ensure interoperability with other Internet protocols.
  • RFCs can be in one of several protocol states and have different protocol status.

Standards Documents and Series:ITU-T: X series

  • Data networks and open system communications
    • Public data networks - Interfaces:
      • X.21 - Interface between Data Terminal Equipment (DTE) and Data Circuit-terminating Equipment (DCE) for synchronous operation on public data networks.
    • OSI - Model and notation:
      • X.200 - Information technology – Open Systems Interconnection – Basic Reference Model: The basic model.
      • Note: OSI model is ISO standard
    • Message Handling Systems:
      • X.400 - Message handling services: Message handling system and service overview
    • Directory Services:
      • X.500 - Information technology - Open Systems Interconnection - The Directory: Overview of concepts, models and services
      • DAP (directory access protocol) from which LDAP is derived
    • Security:
      • X.800 - Security architecture for Open Systems Interconnection for CCITT applications.

Standards Documents and Series: ITU-T: V series

  • Data communication over the telephone network
    • Interworking with other networks:
      • V.18 - Operational and interworking requirements for DCEs operating in the text telephone mode.
    • Interfaces and voice-band modems:
      • V.33 - 14 400 bits per second modem standardized for use on point-to-point 4-wire leased telephone-type circuits.
    • Error control:
      • V.42 - Error-correcting procedures for DCEs using asynchronous-to-synchronous conversion.

Standards Documents and Series: ITU-T: Q series

  • Switching and signalling
    • General Recommendations relative to signaling and switching systems:
      • Q.20 - Comparative advantages of “in-band” and “out-band” systems.
    • Functional description of the signaling system:
      • Q.251 - General
    • Definition and function of signals:
      • Q.254 - Telephone signals.
    • Signalling System No. 7 (SS#7):
      • Q.700 - Introduction to CCITT Signalling System No. 7
    • Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN):
      • Q.860 - Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and Broadband Integrated Services Digital Network (B-ISDN) Generic Addressing and Transport (GAT) Protocol
      • Q.2010 - Broadband integrated services digital network overview - Signaling capability set 1, release 1

Standards Documents and Series: ITU-T: G series

  • Transmission systems and media, digital systems and networks
    • Digital terminal equipments
      • G.774 Synchoronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH)
    • Digital Sections and Digital Line Systems
      • G.991.1 HDSL
      • G.992.1 ADSL
      • G.992.3/4 ADSL2

Standards Documents and Series: IEEE

  • LAN and MAN standards 802.* series
    • 802.3 Ethernet
    • 802.11.* Wireless LAN
    • 802.15.* Wireless PAN networks

IETF standardization process for Internet Protocols

  • The Internet protocol standardization process evolves documents through various states, achieving different levels of status.
  • A document defining a protocol enters at the Internet Activities Board in the initial state. It then, with approval, gets passed to the IETF for consideration and testing.
  • During the process, the document can pass through different status and follow different evolution tracks.
  • Process is defined in RFC 2026
  • Protocol States and Tracks
    • Initial - Protocol was submitted for consideration
    • Proposed Standard - Proposal undergoing initial screening.
    • Draft Standard - Semi-final form, independent implementations are constructed and it’s RFC is reviewed.
    • Standard - Protocol is now officially a part of the TCP/IP protocol suite, after review and acceptance.
    • Experimental - Protocol is not being considered for standardization.
    • Historic - Unused protocols are considered obsolete
  • Status Levels
    • Required - All hosts and gateways must implement a required protocol.
    • Recommended - Implementation of this protocol is encouraged but not required.
    • Elective - Hosts and gateways can choose to implement this protocol at will.
    • Limited use - Protocol is not intended for general use (experimental)
    • Not Recommended - Obsolete protocols are not recommended.
  • A protocol can cycle through the standards track (draft - proposed) and never become an actual standard.
  • The evolution cycle usually, on average, takes 6 months per state and may take up to two years before becoming a standard.

ISO standards development

  • ISO standards are developed according to the following principles:
    • Consensus - The views of all interests are taken into account
    • Industry-wide - Global solutions to satisfy industries and customers worldwide.
    • Voluntary - International standardization is market-driven and based on voluntary involvement of interests in the market-place.
  • Three main phases in the ISO standards development process:
    • Phase one involves definition of the technical scope of the future standard.
    • Phase two is entered during which countries negotiate the detailed specifications within the standard (consensus-building phase)
    • Phase three comprises the formal approval of the resulting draft International Standard, following which the agreed text is published as an ISO International Standard.
  • Most standards require periodic revision.
  • Several factors combine to render a standard out of date
    • technological evolution
    • new methods and materials
    • new quality and safety requirements.
  • ISO has established the general rule that all ISO standards should be reviewed at intervals of not more than five years.
    • On occasion, it is necessary to revise a standard earlier.

Obtaining standard documents

  • Standards bodies distribute their documents in several file formats and to different groups or organizations.
  • Many standards must be purchased before you may implement products based on them. However, the documents are free.
  • Some standards bodies require payment up-front before you are permitted access to the standards documents.
  • Still other standards bodies take an open approach where documents are entirely free to readers and implementation vendors (RFCs).
  • Most standards are available on the Internet.
  • Many sites have search engines which allow users to obtain different documents, all of which pertain to the same standard / protocol.
  • Document Languages:
  • Most international standards bodies offer their documents written in popular spoken languages, e.g English, Spanish
  • National language of the organization’s origin.

Does Standardization Help?

  • Users have more confidence in products and services that conform to International Standards.
  • Assurance of conformity can be provided by manufacturers' declarations, or by audits carried out by independent bodies.
  • Industry Control and Acceptance
  • Commonly in today’s computer industry, the acceptance of products are facilitated by the conformance to and support of standards.
  • Most products become obsolete if they are only based on proprietary specifications and do not support standards.
  • If a company maintains control over the majority of products based on a particular technology, that company can usually dictate the direction of the industry and any standards to follow.

Beyond the standards

  • Standardisation can be slow process and thus standards do not contain the newest and best solutions.
  • Latests innovations and research results are found in journals and papers
  • Technical Papers:
    • Various papers are freely available on the Internet which help expand the coverage of standards and other industry trends.
    • Most universities, organizations, and project groups make their findings available on the WWW in the form of white-papers or technical articles.
  • Conference publications
    • Scientists publish their research results on scientific conferences that publish proceeedings from the conference
    • conference articles can be found thourgh library or via Internet e.g. google scholar, IEEE Xplore, citeseer
  • Most good technical papers and conference publications find their way into scientific journals in edited and more thorough form.

Some good publications

IEEE Publications

  • IEEE Communications
  • IEEE Personal Communications
  • IEEE Networks
  • IEEE Software
  • IEEE MultiMedia
  • IEEE Computer

ACM Publications:

  • Communications of the ACM
  • Journal of the ACM
  • Computing Surveys
  • Computing Reviews
Last modified: 2013/07/01 14:42