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H.323 and H.325 Moving Forward

June 18, 2009

The increased focus on videoconferencing has brought with it a renewed interest in H.323. While this is not entirely surprising, given that H.323 was specifically designed to enable video communications over packet-switched networks, it is nonetheless an indication that H.323 is still a major force in the market.

Over the past several months, we have received an increased number of inquiries related to H.323 on topics related to tools, deployment, protocol questions, etc. Additionally, others in the videoconferencing community, including equipment vendors and stack vendors, have also reported an increase in activity, including sales, feature requests, and so forth.

With all of this renewed focus on H.323, it was a surprise to receive one message that asked whether there was any work going on related to H.323 since it had been several years since H.323 was updated. Indeed, it has been a few years. Even so, there has definitely been work going on behind the scenes.

In fact, the ITU is planning to approve H.323v7 in November. There are also several other H.323-related documents currently in development scheduled for approval in November. Some may be ready, but some may be delayed. The bottom line, though, is that there is definitely active progress. See the current documents in progress here:

Equally important, though, is the fact that there is not as much progress as in previous years on H.323, simply because the standard is fairly mature. There are topics related to Telepresence that the ITU will likely explore, but H.323 is already well-suited for such applications: it is a very stable and mature protocol at this point.

In parallel to the work on H.323, though, there is work on a very new multimedia system that has been slowly moving forward. The new system is called the Advanced Multimedia System (AMS), also known as H.325. H.325 is still in the requirements gathering phase, but the road ahead is fairly clear. H.325 will be an application platform that will enable multimedia communications applications to work together in order to provide a rich communication experience. The objective is to enable users to use any number of devices together seamlessly in a communication session. Equally important, by decomposing the multimedia system into a control element and a set of applications, the system will truly be an open platform upon which application developers will be able to create and deliver new features and functionality without being dependent on any other vendor. It is truly going to be a revolutionary technology that is unparalleled by anything in the industry today.

These are definitely some exciting times. Without a doubt, the ITU continues to lead the charge in delivering powerful multimedia communication systems for the 21st century. And Packetizer is committed to sharing information with the world on the progress of those standards.

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