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The Architecture of Full Services Access Networks (FSAN)

Umberto Ferrero and Angelo Luvison CSELT, Centro Studi e Laboratori Telecomunicazioni S.p.A., Via G. Reiss Romoli 274, 10148 Torino, ItaIy

Abstract A report is given of FSAN (Full Services Access Networks), the international initiative that is aimed at streamlining the large-scale development of broadband optical access networks based on common specifications. FSAN is a joint effort of major world telecommunication operators and manufacturers. The paper explains the background of the FSAN activities, summarizes the organization and current directions of the work, and analyzes the operators' view showing areas of commonalty and difference. The FSAN agreement on architectures, functions, and interfaces is illustrated before the conclusion. Key words (060.0060) Fiber optics and optical communications; (060.4250) Networks. 1. Introduction and background During the past two years a group of telecommunications operators, in cooperation with a group of telecommunications equipment manufacturers, have undertaken an international initiativethe Full Services Access Networks (FSAN)to create the conditions for the development and the introduction of access systems supporting a full range of narrowband and broadband services. Although it is recognized that the needs of each network operator differ because of the differing regulatory, business, geographical, and structural environment in each country, sufficient similarities exist in the needs for future access networks to suggest that significant benefits can be achieved through adopting a common set of requirements specification. At the beginning of 1998, thirteen major operators are taking part in FSAN: Bell Canada, BellSouth-Bellcore,

BT, CNET-France Tlcom, CSELT-Telecom Italia, Deutsche Telekom, GTE, KPN, NTT, SBC, Swisscom, Telefnica, and Telstra. Together, these operators account for almost 45% of the total number of telephone lines in the world. The telecommunications equipment and system suppliers involved are: Alcatel, Ascom, BBT, Bosch Telecom, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Italtel, Lucent Technologies, NEC, Nortel, SAT, and Siemens. However, the list of participants is liable to increase. Studies conducted by the FSAN community indicate that the per-line cost of producing a full services access network will slowly decrease with volume of production. Once a certain critical volume is reached, however, it will be justifiable to develop new technologies that can provide significant reductions in per-line equipment and installation costs, thus allowing cost-effective early deployment of full services access networks. FSAN work has taken place in two phases and a third one is in progress. The first phase (July 95-June 96), which concluded with the Full Services Access Networks Conference (1), held in London on 20 June 1996, identified technical and economic barriers to broadband access network introduction. A Broadband Passive Optical Network (BPON) based on ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) was recognized as the most promising solution to achieve large-scale full services access network deployment capable of meeting the evolving service needs of network users. This BPON approach can support a wide range of FTTx access network architectures: Fiber-tothe-Exchange (FTTE), Fiber-to-the-Cabinet (FTTCab), Fiber-to-the-Curb (FTTC), Fiber-to-the-Building (FTTB), or Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH). The other major achievement of FSAN Phase 1 was the definition of a set of minimum requirements. The second phase (July 96-March 97) of the FSAN initiative concentrated on extending and consolidating the set of requirements specification for full services access networks. The achievements of the second phase were

presented in a session specifically devoted to FSAN (2) during the Eighth International Workshop on Optical/Hybrid Access Networks, Atlanta, GA, 2-5 March 1997. The session papers represent the results of extensive work by technical experts from the operators and telecommunications equipment manufacturers above. They illustrate the work carried out in six working teams: Systems Engineering/Architecture (SE/A); Optical Access Network (OAN); Home Network/Network Termination (HN/NT); Operation, Administration, and Maintenance (OAM); Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line/Very highspeed Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL/VDSL); and Components Technology. Table 1 gives an example of the basic requirements defined in Phase 1 and revised in Phase 2. Table 1. A sample of the set of minimum requirements.
Topologies Frame format Optical distribution network Fiber type Maximum fiber distance Minimum supported split ratio Bidirectional transmission Point-to-multipoint transmission Nominal line bit rate Error performance FTTE/Cab/C/B, FTTH ATM-based, 3-byte overhead PON 1.3 m zero dispersion fiber (ITU-T G.652) 20 km 16, 32 1-fiber WDM or 2 fibers TDMA in upstream, TDM in downstream 155/622, 155/155 Mbit/s Less than 10-9 across PON

enhance the definition of network management, to coordinate the standardization process, and to provide an opportunity for exchanging information among members in order to react promptly to a continually changing competitive environment. The FSAN 98 Workshop in Venice (3) reported on the most recent results achieved during Phase 3, focusing on the activities carried out on FTTCab and FTTH architectures to bring these systems to the field. Other new enhancements of the requirements specification and their endorsement by established standards bodies were also presented in detail. In particular, the OAN requirements specification have been downstreamed and agreed by Study Group 15 of ITU-T as the new Recommendation G.983 High speed optical access systems based on Passive Optical Network (PON) techniques (formerly, G.PONB). This recommendation is expected to achieve its final approval in October 1998. Another example is the contribution for the draft technical specification of VDSL to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The rest of the paper gives the system view and the rationale for the main FSAN choices and analyzes the operators' view showing areas of commonalty and difference. The agreement on architectures, functions, and interfaces is illustrated before the conclusion. The leading theme of the paper is how to join the specified access components together into an overall seamless broadband architecture capable of delivering the full range of services required by an FSAN operator. Detailed FSAN results are available in the Conference Proceedings (1-3) mentioned above. 2. Systems engineering/architecture rationale and focus approach:

As results were achieved by the working teams, they were assembled into a consistent set of requirements specification. The FSAN has incorporated applicable standards where they exist and is downstreaming elements of its results to appropriate standards bodies. It is hoped that the achievements of these common requirements specification for FTTx will significantly advance the deployment of cost-effective full service access networks and streamline the early availability of commercial equipment. Field trials, testing experience, and more detailed specifications incorporating real work experience are required to move from the FSAN concept to realistic short-term deployment. Therefore, FSAN has decided to support the evolution of its activities to target product availability. The new 21-month Phase 3 (March 97December 98) is thus aiming to demonstrate the availability of equipment in trials for the broadband access network compliant with the FSAN specification. Additional efforts are also being made to complete the optical access and home network specifications, to

A systems engineering/architecture approach was adopted to assess the compatibility and future-proofness of the identified architectures and the impact of services, and to define the overall network architecture from a systems engineering point of view (2). A second objective was to reckon the major requirements issued by the partners in view of a sustainable growth of the network to cope with a hardly predictable demand for a bundle of services, Internet-like and narrowband included. To manage the problem complexity, the approach has been to represent the situation from an overall systems engineering perspective with a few fundamental elements that refer to a complete network architecture encompassing transport, control and signaling, and management functions. Fig. 1 shows the agreed overall reference network architecture. The Access Network (AN) provides connections between the end customer and different types

of logical networks, e.g., narrowband networks (POTS/ISDN), ATM-based Broadband ISDN (BISDN), video delivery networks, and Internet-like networks based on the Internet Protocol (IP). The network services are logically separated but the total package of services can be supported in the AN by the same transport functions.
Signaling
Video Server Info Server
Core Network (ATM, IP, POTS/ISDN)

...
FTTH HN

NT NT

ONU OLT ONU


FTTE, FTTCab, C, B Generic Access System Q3

HN HN

Extended feeder

Service Node

Q3

V Reference point

Q3

Management
ATM connectivity IP connectivity NB Services BB Services

Figure 1. Overall reference network architecture. The techno-economic appraisal of access network architectures is strictly related to the definition of serviceand network-deployment scenarios. Every technology offers specific advantages and limitations that make it suited to a given scenario defined in terms of service definition and penetration, existing network infrastructure, and regulatory conditions. Some results of technoeconomic appraisal are sketched in Fig. 2, where the main full services network technical alternatives are compared. The considered architectures are several FTTx configurations and the HFC (Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial). The chart refers to a specific service, network, and regulatory scenario, and then only represents an example.
2.5

technology to carry high-speed data streams from the ONU (Optical Network Unit) to customer premises. The offering of SDVB (Switched Digital Video Broadcasting) television is assumed. The FTTCab alternative benefits from major savings in civil works, also in the secondary network (from ONU to the building) exploiting lowerspeed, higher-reach VDSL technology currently under development. Fig. 2 shows life cycle cost estimates of the main full services network alternatives under specific service assumptions. ADSL is therefore not included, but it can prove invaluable for very targeted broadband service offering, if some service limitation can be accepted (e.g. single video terminal in the customer premises). Historically, the deployment of new telecommunications services has taken years of effort and large amounts of investment. Predicting market acceptance before taking the business risk is also a difficult task. The flexibility of the FTTx solution can also solve the problem of the fast provisioning of services, when they are required, thereby circumventing the uncertainties of market demand. FSAN-compliant FTTx systems offers suitable solutions to cope with the wide geographic diversity (urbanization, customer density, etc.) and mix of service demand (type, expected growth, bandwidth, etc.). FTTx systems may be deployed as overlay networks, supporting new services only, or as real full service platforms. The fiber penetration can be optimized to fulfill service and investment constraints. 3. Services and deployment: the operators' view This section looks at the services that the FSAN operators believe a full services network must be able to deliver. Areas of commonalty and difference are identified, and FTTH-specific issues are outlined (2). 3.1 Areas of commonalty and difference They can be summarized as follows: High-speed Internet services are seen by everyone as a major driver for broadband networks. Peak bit rates in the 0.5 Mbit/s to 6 Mbit/s range are appropriate for these services. Many operators see intranet and LAN access type services as being a big driver. Peak bit rates in the 0.5 Mbit/s to 6 Mbit/s range are recognized as being appropriate for these services. Many operators see videoconferencing as important. Video-telephony for residential market is also seen as important. There is a need to bear both IP and ATM-based services. IP may be carried over ATM.

2 RELATIVE COST

1.5

0.5

0 FTTCab FTTB ARCHITECTURE FTTH HFC

Figure 2. Full services networks: cost of alternative architectures. (Target service penetration during the tenyear study period: POTS 80%, ISDN 20%, CATV 30%, residential data services 20%, business data services 5%). It is noteworthy that BPON based FTTB and FTTCab solutions avoid building rewiring, exploiting VDSL

Almost all are looking at a fiber-based or fiber/copper hybrid solution for at least a significant part of their network deployment. In a few cases HFC networks also play a part in the story, although they are almost always expected to be phased out over time. Almost all are looking at the use of ADSL for early or lower bit rate applications, and then at ADSL at shorter distances or VDSL for higher bit rate services. Many consider that large business customers may be served by direct fiber connections in the access, and that the core and switching parts of the network must also support these customers and interwork with existing services (e.g., SMDS, Frame Relay, etc.). Most have interests in SDVB capability in the network to varying degrees. The most significant differences can be summarized as follows: Exact values of penetration for which the network needs to be designed vary significantly, at least from zero to 50%. Similarly, likely peak utilization figures for the various services vary widely between different operators. Several operators are interested in a symmetric variant of VDSL to deliver service to business customers over shorter lengths of copper. Two operators are looking at delivery of analog video over an analog PON. Some operators have significant plans to integrate narrowband and broadband platforms, at least in the AN. A number of operators have definite plans to move towards FTTH as opposed to just a vague view that it is the right way to go in the future. Implications on network design can be identified from the areas of commonalty: The requirement to carry both IP and ATM services implies the use of an ATM-based transport platform with appropriate encapsulation for IP services. The wide variations in the expectations of penetration and utilization mean that network equipment must be flexible and modular so as to enable different operators to dimension their networks differently. Because of the widespread uncertainty on service offering and corresponding time frames, a clear separation between the functionality of service nodes and access nodes is needed. With all operators considering ADSL and many looking for a smooth migration path between this technology and higher bit rates, the implications of ADSL must be considered. There is the need to ensure that equipment can support new business services and some existing ones as well

as the residential sector. This applies to core equipment in particular. SDVB capability needs to be included in the equipment, possibly as an option. There are a number of technical details that are being addressed in this area (3). Narrowband support needs to be included in the equipment, probably as an option. FTTH evolution in the medium term must be an important consideration in the design. In particular, it is desirable to be able to upgrade economically to FTTH for some customers, while continuing to serve other less-demanding customers over FTTx. The ATM-based access, switching, and core network infrastructure, set top boxes, video servers, data servers, and portions of the fiber plant should also be common and reusable in the evolution from a generic FTTx architecture to FTTH. Inside, (home) wiring should also be common to FTTH and the other FTTx solutions.

3.2 Towards FTTH Each operator needs to develop its own FSAN deployment and evolution plans. These plans are influenced by many factors including: market demand for individual services, customer demographics, state of the embedded network, greenfield vs. non-greenfield settings, regulatory conditions, competitive pressures, and customer growth rate. FTTH is the target of most operators, but with differences in configurations and application segments (residential and business) as well as in the expected time frame of deployment. Some expect to start deploying FTTH systems shortly, while others expect to deploy FTTx but do not see FTTH within their planning horizon. Since many of the requirements and underlying solutions of FTTH are common with those of other FTTx configurations, FSAN is addressing these common requirements (3). The volume growth associated with the deployment of common technologies is expected to lower the cost of these components to the benefit of all FTTx systems, FTTH included. Network deployment decisions are based mainly on life-cycle economics: revenue expectation, capital costs, and operation costs. FTTH will not be deployed until it offers economic advantages over other network access alternatives. The main drivers for FTTH are initially expected to be revenue enhancement and operation saving considerations rather than capital cost reductions. FTTH removes the bandwidth bottleneck of the VDSL link. This aspect, of course, offers no incremental benefit unless the VDSL bottlenecks result in loss of revenue. Over time, bandwidth needs are expected to increase, and

eventually greater revenue would be expected from an FTTH AN. FTTH and other FTTx systems are primarily alldigital delivery solutions for which the delivery of broadcast analog video services will usually entail some sort of overlay network. However, as the cost of digital set top boxes declines, broadcast analog video services will no longer be needed. Recent studies indicate that FTTH becomes more economical if these analog broadcast services are not required. Independent of the growth in service demand, FTTH promises to offer lower operation costs resulting from several factors: FTTH offers the opportunity to enable customer selfprovisioning of new services without rolling a truck to an active network site to change a line card. Selfprovisioning also results in less human-induced network failures. FTTH systems are expected to be powered locally from the home. Recent studies have found that the cost per watt of local power from the home is considerably less than the cost of network power. An all-fiber FTTH outside plant facility is less susceptible to lightning and corrosion than copper. This applies both to the ADSL/VDSL link and to the FTTx power network. Thus, maintenance costs associated with FTTH are lower. 4. Architecture, functions, and interfaces The end-to-end reference architecture of Fig. 1 is aimed at assuring the consistency of the overall network (2). The elements complementing the AN are: the service node, defined according to the ITU-T Recommendation G.902 (4), the core network, the servers, the signaling, and the management. 4.1 Reference architecture The identification of an overall reference architecture requires a precise definition of the interfaces between the AN and the other elements of the telecommunication network. The basic network requirements are listed hereafter: The network must be compatible with FSAN-like systems and with "Generic access systems", in some cases required or already installed. It must take into account the need to extend the AN, represented by the dashed box called "Extended feeder". It must interface the access systems through a service node; the Service Node Interface (SNI) at the V reference point has to be specified. All the network elements must be managed, directly or indirectly, via Q3 interface (5).

The service node is connected to servers (information, video, etc.) through the core network. It may also provide for ATM and IP connections, and for narrowband and broadband services. In addition, the effective implementation of a broadband end-to-end transmission platform requires a careful definition, and also standardization, of three AN building blocks: the interface to the service node, the line cards, and the customer premises network (NT and home wiring included). OAM requirements (1-3) are driven by the goal of achieving a cost-effective management solution, while ensuring a high level of Quality of Service (QoS) to customers. Cost effectiveness should be evaluated with respect to two different components, viz., the initial development cost of OAM functionality and the operation costs incurred by running the network. A specific feature of AN, i.e., being geographically distributed outside the central office premises, also requires care because of its relevance to operation costs. A second important requirement related to QoS and availability is the provision of advanced management features in network equipment, particularly regarding testing and performance monitoring. The participants have highlighted the importance of limiting the number of variants of equipment to enable an early availability of cost-minimized equipment. For this aspect, the most sensitive component of an FSAN is the ONU. The FSAN operators have received information from the suppliers, which indicates that typically more than 50% of the system costs are associated with the ONUs. The share of cost expressed as a percentage of a whole ONU is a cost to be spent for the basic infrastructure, i.e., mechanical housing and power provision, and is generally higher in the case of smaller ONUs than in that of larger ones. Therefore, the impact of powering and mechanical requirements on system and operation costs must not be underestimated. On the supplier side, there is a strong interest for guidelines on: ONU modularity, number of lines to be terminated (broadband and narrowband), maximum power consumption, maximum power dissipation, box and cabinet size, temperature range, powering options, battery back-up requirements, anti-vandalism provisions, and mechanical protection. The preliminary results of specific studies on powering and mechanical issues are reported in (2, 3). 4.2 Multioperator and multivendor interfaces There is clear consensus within FSAN (2) that the AN should be open to multiservice providers, while possible multivendor interfaces are currently being studied (Fig. 3). The first issue means equal access to the AN for different customers and service providers. The second is a key for

allowing carriers to purchase network elements from any vendor as well as reducing element costs through competition.
Open interfaces

UNI USER USER ONU NT


VDSL

BPON OLT
VDSL L T

SNI Service Node

VB5.2 interface (7), for broadband AN that could also perform Virtual Channel (VC) switching. The same applies to the Video-on-Demand (VOD) service. Bearing in mind that the FSAN focus is on short-term deployments, the participants have agreed on VB5.1 as the initial SNI interface, and on well-established V5 and TR303 for narrowband services. The UNI interfaces are divided into two groups: interfaces for UNI point-to-point connections and interfaces for UNI point-to-multipoint connections. Some restrictions are likely on the availability of a 155 Mbit/s ATM UNI interface for residential customers. Table 3. Specific interfaces for UNI.

ONU

Multivendor interfaces

Service IP Switched ATM VC VOD SDVB Leased ATM VP ISDN

Figure 3. Possible open and multivendor interfaces. The possible multivendor interfaces to be defined that have so far been proposed are: 1) BPON interface, 2) xDSL interface, and 3) internal bus interface with VDSL line cards in the ONU. For the BPON interface, requirements have been defined and transferred to ITU-T (Recommendation G.983). For the xDSL interface, FSAN is contributing to several standards activities. It is also interesting to specify the internal bus interfaces for the VDSL line cards. To achieve interoperability among vendors, detailed requirements must be defined not only at the physical layer but also at the higher layers, operation and maintenance control included. 4.3 UNI and SNI specifications The interface specifications of Tables 2 and 3 have been agreed for the Service Node Interface (SNI) and the User Network Interface (UNI), respectively. Table 2. Specific interfaces for SNI.
Service IP Switched ATM VC VOD SDVB Leased ATM VP ISDN SNI VB5.1 VB5.1, VB5.2 VB5.1, VB5.2 VB5.1 VB5.1 V5 (or TR 303) or VB5.1, VB5.2

UNI point-to-point Ethernet 10BaseT ATM 25 Mbit/s ATM 25 Mbit/s ATM 25 Mbit/s ATM 25 Mbit/s ATM 155 Mbit/s,..., 25 Mbit/s I.430, I.431

UNI point-to-multipoint To be defined To be defined To be defined To be defined

To be defined

4.4 Performance Key performance parameters for an ATM-based AN are bandwidth, access transmission delay, access delay, response time, and cell loss or discard ratio. The necessary values of these parameters depend on the services being carried. The ATM service categories are: Constant Bit Rate (CBR), Variable Bit Rate (VBR), Available Bit Rate (ABR), and Unspecified Bit Rate (UBR) also called best effort bit rate. The mapping of a service offering on ATM service categories is a direct responsibility for the network operator and constitutes one of the elements of its broadband services business case. Table 4 shows performance requirements of the ATM-based FSAN (2). Table 4. End-to-end performance requirements.
Traffic type IP routing UBR (best effort, minimum throughput guaranteed) CBR/VBR/A BR CBR CBR CBR Bandwidth (peak) 10 Mbit/s (typical) Access transmission delay 1.5 ms (1) Access delay < 1s Response time Cell loss (2)

FSAN considers it natural to rely on the work carried out in standards organizations and, specifically, on the VB5 broadband interface under development. Much of the discussion has focused on architectural and protocol considerations, and the distinction has been kept off between the VB5.1 interface (6), for broadband AN performing only VP (Virtual Path) cross-connection, and

ATM SVC VOD SDVB POTS ISDN (1) (2) (3) (4)

<150 Mbit/s 6 Mbit/s (typical) 6 Mbit/s (typical) <2 Mbit/s

1.5 ms (1) 1.5 ms (1) 1.5 ms (1) 1.5 ms (3)

<3 ms (4) <3 ms (4) -

<500 ms -

< 10 < 10 < 10 < 10

-5 -8 -8 -5

provisional value (under assumption ITU-T G.982 can be applied to these services) cell discard on IP packet basis (one cell loss results in one IP packet loss) 1.5 ms is specified in ITU-T G.982 for POTS service ITU-T I.356 (not finalized yet)

The apportionment of the cell delay and cell error ratio across the different network components has not yet been finalized. 4.5 Signaling and control Requirements and functions (2, 3) related to the control of the AN in FSAN reflect the basic principles stated in ITUT Recommendation G.902 (4). This means that the Q.2931 BISDN user signaling (8) should be carried inside the AN transparently to the SN. Resources in the AN, including, if supported, the configuration of on-demand connections, are not controlled directly by this flow. Other solutions have been proposed, such as one of the options specified in the ATM Forum in which usernetwork signaling can terminate in the AN. In this approach, the AN is actually a switched network and is not an AN as defined by G.902. The Digital Audio-Visual Council (DAVIC) has defined a protocol (9) to enable the fast changing of SDVB channels, or zapping protocol, in baseband systems like FTTx, which have limited bandwidth in the distribution segment of the AN. This protocol allows the emulation of the rapid channel changing capabilities that users of systems such as todays CATV and HFC experience. 5. Conclusion FSAN activities have achieved valuable targets. First, the network operators involved in FSAN have gained an insight into the directions of other FSAN operators and the motivations for those directions. In addition, all FTTx implementations will benefit from the common FSAN specifications because of the cost reductions allowed by the increased volume of common elements. The ongoing phase aims at driving progress towards field trials for the broadband access network to expedite and streamline the deployment of FSAN-compliant equipment (3). Additional steps are also being taken: 1) to complete the optical access and home network specifications; 2) to enhance the definition of network management; 3) to coordinate the effort in standards bodies (ITU, ETSI, ATM Forum, etc.) in downstreaming the specifications; and 4) to provide an opportunity for exchanging and sharing information among the members, enabling prompt reactions in a permanently changing competitive environment. Acknowledgment This paper is based on the collective work of the operators experts who have contributed to the systems engineering and architecture activities (2) of FSAN, in

particular: Ronald Menendez (Bellcore); Dan Spears (BellSouth); Andy Cook, Steve Cooper, Dave Griffiths, Alan Quayle, Jeff Stern (BT); Jacques Abiven, Sophie Durel, Daniel Lecrosnier, Yvon Madec, Yves Picault, Eric Solres (CNET-France Tlcom); Luisa Liffredo, Italo Milanese, Federico Renon, Paolo Senesi, Maurizio Siviero, Emilio Vezzoni (CSELT); Nikolaus Gieschen, Bernhard Hein, Bruno Orth (Deutsche Telekom); Tom Helmes, Brian Whitton (GTE); Tetsuya Kanada, Yoichi Maeda, Kenji Okada (NTT); Eric Demierre (Swisscom); Marco de Grandis, Stefano Montesi, Cinzia Sternini (Telecom Italia); Jess Mario, Wsewolod Warzanskyj (Telefnica I+D); and Hugh Bradlow (Telstra). References 1. Proceedings of the Full Services Access Networks Conference, London, UK, 20 June 1996. 2. Proceedings of the VIII International Workshop on Optical/Hybrid Access Networks, Atlanta, GA, 2-5 March 1997, Session VII. 3. Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Full Services Access Networks (FSAN 98), Venice, Italy, 22 March 1998. 4. International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Framework recommendation on functional access networks (AN). Architectures and functions, access types, management and service node aspects, ITU-T Recommendation G.902, 1995. 5. International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Principles for a telecommunications management network, ITU-T Recommendation M.3010, 1993. 6. International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Vinterfaces at the Service Node (SN) - VB5.1. Reference point specification, Draft new ITU-T Recommendation G.967.1 (previously G.VB51), 1997. 7. International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Vinterfaces at the Service Node (SN) - VB5.2. Reference point specification, Draft new ITU-T Recommendation G.967.2 (previously G.VB52), 1998. 8. International Telecommunication Union (ITU), BISDN application protocols for access signalling, Recommendation ITU-T Q.2931, 1995. 9. Digital Audio-Visual Council (DAVIC), DAVIC 1.1 specification, 1996. The six papers (l) presented at the London Conference are reprinted in the October 1996 issue of CSELT Technical Reports, vol. 24, pp. 743-828. The eight papers (2) of the Atlanta Conference are reproduced in the June 1997 issue of CSELT Technical Reports, vol. 25, pp. 447593. All the fourteen papers (1-3) are also available at the Internet site: http://www.labs.bt.com/profsoc/access/