Multimedia over the Internet gets a boost

Geneva - December 1, 1998 -Record breaking progress in the standardization of multimedia communications over the Internet has been made in recent months by Study Group 16. The work of the ITU in IP-based standards has been recognized by the Plenipotentiary Conference of the ITU which took place in Minneapolis last month. The Conference integrated in the Strategic Plan, as one of the priorities of the Telecommunication Standardization Sector, the production of recommendations covering IP-related aspects as well as interoperability and convergence of IP-based networks including the Internet, with existing network infrastructures.

The ITU, a United Nations agency, coordinates global communications standards. Study Group 16 of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) is responsible for the development of standards for multimedia systems.

Ten new Recommendations extending the use of the H.323 standard on IP (Internet Protocol) based networks have been approved in the last few months. The group has also approved two new Recommendations for audiovisual communications over ATM networks.

The record number of approvals reflects the intensive industry interest and activity in multimedia communications over packet networks and the important role ITU-T Recommendations are playing in facilitating growth in these rapidly evolving new markets. "The large number of new Recommendations demonstrates the success of the ITU in responding quickly to the needs of what must be one of the fastest growing new industries" said Mr. F. Tosco, Vice-Chairman of Study Group 16.

The H.323 family of Recommendations have been widely adopted by the industry as the standards for multimedia communications over the Internet. Recommendations for voice, video and fax transmission are included in the H.323 family as well as standards for conferencing, network gateways, voice services and security. The ten new Recommendations extend the H.323 family to include facsimile transmission and multimedia broadcasting over the Internet and the provision of Services such as Call Hold, Call Park/Pickup, Call Waiting and Message Waiting. The new standards also provide for communications between different administrative domains, efficient call signalling over the Internet, call and device management and low complexity single application terminals.

The new facsimile transmission standard (Annex D of H.323) provides users with an opportunity for inexpensive long distance facsimile transmission (calls over the internet are not charged individually) and, together with other Recommendations in the H.323 family, the new standard creates a framework for the integration of facsimile, voice, video and data services by internet service providers. The multimedia broadcasting standard (H.332) is expected to find widespread application for distance learning, corporate training and talk shows over the internet.

The two new multimedia over ATM standards (H.310v2 and H.247), together with existing Recommendation (H.321v2), provide a new framework for audiovisual communication in ATM network environments. The use of ATM networks enables higher quality videophone and multiparty video conferencing with enhanced picture and audio quality. Recommendation H.310v2 provide a means of interworking ATM based systems with existing ISDN based equipment. One important anticipated application of the new recommendations will be the ability of home workers to participate via ISDN in videotelephony and multiparty videoconference sessions with their colleagues connected to ATM based corporate intranets.

The new Recommendations for Facsimile transmission and for Broadcasting over the Internet and the new Multimedia over ATM Recommendations have completed the final stage of approval. The other eight new Standards (Annex G of H.225.0, Annex E of H.323, Annex F of H.323, H.341 and H450.4/5/6/7) have passed the first stage of approval and are scheduled to complete the approval process at the next Study Group 16 meeting in May 1999.

For further information, please contact:

Mr Pierre André Probst Mr. F. Tosco Mr Fabio Bigi
Chairman of Study Group 16 Chairman of WP 2/16 Senior Counsellor, TSB
Tel: +41 31 342 7993 Tel: +39 11 228 5321 Tel: +41 22 730 5860
Fax: +41 31 342 7520 Fax: +39 11 228 5295 Fax: +41 22 730 5853
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