Annual Report 2019-2020

Standardization

ITU standards define how ICT networks operate and interwork. Although these Recommendations have non-mandatory status until they are adopted in national law, the level of compliance is high due to their international applicability and level of quality. Currently, there are over 4,000 ITU-T Recommendations in force on a broad range of topics including service definition to network architecture and security, broadband DSL to Gbit/s optical transmission systems, next-generation networks (NGN) and IP-related issues. All of these topics constitute the fundamental components of today's ICTs.

During the period covered by this report, ITU approved more than 320 new and revised ITU-T Recommendations. A selection of recent standardization achievements is: 5G transport; rural broadband, aiming to bring high-speed broadband services to rural communities with lightweight, terabit-capable optical cable that can be deployed on the ground’s surface with minimal expense and environmental impact; machine learning for 5G: new ITU standards describing an architectural framework for the integration of machine learning into 5G and future networks; visible light communication; High Efficiency Video Coding; digital health, updated ITU standards developed in cooperation with the Personal Connected Health Alliance providing for medical-grade e-health devices such as blood pressure cuffs, glucose monitors and a wide range of activity trackers, and a new ITU standard in support of ITU-WHO collaboration for safe listening; quantum information technology, new ITU standards describing the networking concepts to underpin quantum key distribution, a means of enabling secure encryption and authentication; distributed ledger technology, new ITU standards addressing the requirements of blockchain in next-generation network evolution and the security requirements of blockchain; strong authentication, two new ITU standards aiming to overcome the security limitations of passwords, addressing biometric authentication on mobile devices and the use of external authenticators, such as mobile devices, to authenticate Web users; environment and circular economy, new ITU standards providing criteria for the evaluation of the environmental impact of mobile phones, guidelines and certification schemes for e-waste recyclers, definitions and concepts relevant to material efficiency in the ICT sector; and energy efficiency, new ITU standards aiming to support sustainable power feeding solutions for 5G networks, energy-efficient datacentres capitalizing on big data and AI, and smart energy management for telecom base stations.

Radiocommunication-related standards (ITU-R recommendations)

Examples of the standardization work that takes place within ITU-R Study Groups and the ITU-R Recommendations approved in 2019 are: Spectrum monitoring and engineering techniques; propagation (point-to-area, point-to-point and earth-space, ionospheric, etc.); land mobile service above 30 MHz (excluding IMT); wireless access in the fixed service; amateur and amateur-satellite services; broadcasting; and space radiocommunication applications.