North American fiber standards work in perspective
By WILLIAM B. GARDNER
Within the United States, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) provides leadership for the private-sector voluntary standards process. While ANSI does not develop standards, it sets the ground rules and policies by which ANSI-accredited standards-development organizations such as Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Committee T1, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) operate. ANSI also coordinates U.S. positions to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Recently, the U.S. State Department asked ANSI to provide advice on how the private sector can play a more direct role in the national preparatory process for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
ANSI, TIA, Committee T1, and the IEEE also engage in technical and policy dialog with counterpart organizations in other regions, such as the European Telecommunication Standard Institute (ETSI). The Telecommunications Standards Advisory Council of Canada (TSACC), a government-industry partnership, has responsibility for telecommunications policy issues in Canada.
Established in 1984, Committee T1 develops technical standards and reports regarding interconnection and interoperability of telecommunications networks at interfaces with end-user systems, carriers, information and enhanced-service providers, and customer premises equipment in the United States. Committee T1 is sponsored by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) and is accredited by ANSI. T1X1 (Digital Hierarchy and Synchronization) is the subcommittee most involved with fiber system standards of the six technical subcommittees within T1. Working Group T1X1.5 is currently revising the ANSI standard T1.105.06 (SONET Physical Layer Specifications). This standard provides the necessary parameters for Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) optical links in short, intermediate, and long-reach applications.
The TIA`s Standards and Technology Department`s engineering committees, subcommittees, and working groups write U.S. telecommunications standards. Fiber system standards are the responsibility of Committee FO-2 (Optical Communication Systems). Subcommittees and working groups within FO-2 include: FO-2.1/6.6 (Singlemode Systems), FO-2.1.1 (Optically Amplified Devices, Subsystems, and Systems), FO-2.1.2 (Singlemode Transmission Design), FO-2.2 (Digital Multimode Systems), FO-2.2/6.6 (LAN Component Characterization), and FO-2.6/6.10 (Reliability of Fiber Optic Systems and Active Optical Components).
A new "Standards Association" (SA) was created within the IEEE last year. Individual and corporate members of the SA may participate in the development and balloting processes for technical standards. The IEEE 802 Local and Metropolitan Area Network (LAN and MAN) Standards Committee has the basic charter to create, maintain, and encourage the use of IEEE/ANSI and equivalent ISO/IEC JTC1 LAN and MAN standards (see Lightwave, Nov. 1998, p. 24 for a discussion of the Gigabit Ethernet standard IEEE 802.3z-1998).
In addition to writing regional standards, T1, TIA, and IEEE are instrumental in formulating the U.S. positions for the international standards bodies ISO, IEC, and ITU. q