ITU-T SG13 Focus Group on Future Networks (FG-FN) concludes 7th meeting in Busan, Korea

The final report of the FG-FN 7th meeting in Busan, Korea is now available to ITU-T member companies.   The 8th meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia is from 29 November to December 3rd and includes a mini-workshop (see comments below).  Here is some background info on this FG-FN:
The Focus Group on Future Networks (FN), by collaborating with worldwide communities (e.g., research institutes, forums, academia and etc), aims to:
  • collect and identify visions of future networks, based on new technologies,
  • assess the interactions between future networks and new services,
  • familiarize ITU-T and standardization communities with emerging attributes of future networks, and
  • encourage collaboration between ITU-T and FN communities.
The objective of the Focus Group is to document results that would be helpful for developing Recommendations for future networks.

To achieve this objective the Focus Group will

  • gather new ideas relevant to Future Networks and identify potential study areas on Future Networks,
  • describe visions of the Future Networks,
  • identify a timeframe of Future Networks,
  • identify potential impacts on standards development, and
  • suggest future ITU-T study items and related actions.
More Detail on Objectives
New network requirements are emerging thanks to the new social environment, new application areas, etc. Considering these backgrounds, we selected the following four objectives as the ones that are not considered or not satisfactory satisfied in current networks. These objectives can be the candidate characteristics that clearly differentiate FNs and motivate the development and investigation for FNs.
Environment awareness
Future Networks should be environment friendly. The architecture design, the resulting implementation and operation of Future Networks should minimize its environmental impact, e.g., to minimize the usage of materials, energy consumption and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Future Networks should be designed and implemented so that it can easily be used to reduce other sector’s environmental impact, e.g., by making it machine-to-machine ready.
(Comment: ‘environmental footprint’ is a wrong phrase. ‘Ecological footprint’ or ‘environmental impact’ are correct wording.
Service awareness
Future Networks should provide services that are customized for users with the appropriate functionalities to meet the needs of applications under consideration. Service explosion, i.e., creation and distribution of enormous amount and wide range of services, will occur, and Future Networks should accommodate these services by enabling creation of multiple networks that has optimal or customized functions to realize these services efficiently.
Comment: network virtualization should be an example because there are other methods, e.g., in-service management to solve this complicated situation.
creation and distribution: only these two?
Future Networks should provide services that are customized for users with appropriate functionalities to meet the needs of applications. This leads to service explosion, i.e., the number and the range of services will explode. Future Networks should provide means to accommodate these services without drastic increase of OPEX, e.g., by enabling creation of multiple networks that has optimal or customized functions to realize these services in efficient manner.
Data awareness
Future Networks should have architecture that is optimized to handling enormous amount of data. Main objective of the current networks are to establish connection between terminals, and so the architectures were designed as location base network. The essential demand of the users of the network, however, is to retrieve desired information or data from the network. Therefore, Future Networks should be designed so that the user can easily retrieve data regardless of its location.
Comments: the text in section 8.4 seems more generic and better.
Comments: is location-free essential? Or an example method that makes data-access easier?
Comments: the text does not flow. For example, the 1st sentence do not link with the rest.
FNs should enable users to access desired data easily, quickly, and accurately considering the fact that contemporary and future networks are used mainly to access specific data or contents, not specific node or location. Since the amount of data or contents FNs need to maintain and to reach is becoming enormous, FNs should provide efficient and safe means to handle them.
Social-economic awareness
Future Networks should have social-economic incentives to reduce barriers to entry for the various participants of telecommunication sector. Also, each participant should be able to receive proper return according to their contribution.
Comments: I have no idea what to do, but the text here is still vague… and should we say something on other issues, e.g., network neutrality, ossification of technology because of the lack of economic incentives?
FN architecture and its technology should be designed and selected to make them deployable and sustainable in social and economic sense, e.g., easiness of cost and maintenance for service universalization, barrier reduction for the entry of various participants into telecommunication sector, proper interface or reference point design for sustainable competition.
# reference point? Demarcation point?
Economic Incentives
FN should provide mechanisms to exchange incentives between various participants, e.g., users, telecommunication providers, governments, IPR holders.
Explanation: Participants of FN could be grouped in terms of industrial fields and/or nations. Firstly, in terms of industrial fields, participants could include users, commercial ISPs, private sectors network providers, governments, intellectual property rights holders, and providers of content and/or higher level services.[1] Secondly, in terms of nations, participants could include the telecommunications sector in not only developed but also developing countries so that operation, provisioning and management capabilities of FN would be simple enough to be supported by all participants. This also means that FN should be deployable as well as operable even in a less economic attractive area. Barriers to entry for participants would be almost nonexistent in FN.
FN should be designed to provide sustainable competition environment to vaious participants in ecosystem of telecommunication, e.g., users, various providers, governments, IPR holders by providing e.g, proper economic incentives or freedom of selection.
Explanation: Many technologies have failed to be deployed, to flourish, or to be sustainable because of their insufficient or inappropriate decision on economic or social aspects of them. Lack of QoS mechanisms had blocked streaming services such as IPTV on TCP/IP networks. One reason for this failure comes from the simple interface between IP and TCP. IPv4 did not provide appropriate QoS abstraction model of lower layer, e.g., it did not provide a method for TCP to know if QoS was guaranteed from end-to-end. It erased the possibility for providers to compete with sophisticated QoS mechanisms on this TCP/IP layer interface, and destroyed the freedom of QoS mechanism selection for customers. The other reason had been lack of proper economic incentives. Various QoS mechanisms e.g., intserv, diffserv or RSVP had been developed and standardized but had failed to be deployed because they had not been accompanied with proper economic incentives for network providers to implement them. Together with various other reasons, these had blocked the introduction of QoS guarantee mechanisms and streaming services in TCP/IP network even when a participant in telecommunication ecosystem tried to customize networks, or ask others to provide customized networks to start a new service and to share its benefit with others. It is therefore important to pay enough attention to economic and social aspects such as economic incentives in designing and implementing the requirements, architecture and protocol of FNs.

What role if any should IEEE ComSoc play in studying Future Networks?  Should we leverage of this ITU-T FG-FN or start our own project?  Please respond by commenting in the box below.

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