Internet Protocol (IP) networks are generally described as networks of devices that use Internet Protocol as their communication protocol. IP networks are implemented in Internet networks, local area networks (LAN), and enterprise networks. The continuous evolution and increasing use of IP networks brings into discussion a number of challenges such as: interoperability with other telecommunication networks, quality of service, security, migration to next generation networks, etc.
These and other challenges are underlined in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Resolution 101 on Internet Protocol-based networks, which was initially adopted in 1998, and last amended in 2014. Recognising that IP-based networks and other telecom networks should be interoperable and provide global reachability, the resolution calls for a continuation and strengthening of the collaboration between ITU and other technical organisations (such as the Internet Society, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and the Internet Engineering Task Force) on issues related to interconnectivity and migration to future networks. The aim of such collaboration would be to ensure that the growth in IP-based networks brings maximum benefits to the global community. Moreover, the resolution puts an emphasis on the need to provide capacity building to developing countries in order to assist them in connecting the unconnected, and instructs the Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau to initiative activities in this regard.
Within the ITU, and more specifically the Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T), work is carried out on the development of standards, specifications, and recommendations concerning IP-based networks. Such work falls within the responsibility of various ITU-T Study Groups, such as Study Group 13 - Future networks including cloud computing, mobile and next generation networks, Study Group 12 - Performance, QoS and QoE, and Study Group 11 - Signaling requirements, protocols and test specifications. Some of the recommendations adopted by these group in relation to IP-based networks include: Recommendation Y.1221: Traffic control and congestion control in IP-based networks, Recommendation Y.1541: Network performance objectives for IP-based services, Recommendation ITU-T J.388: Real-time video and audio transmission system over IP networks, among many others.
Resolution 101 also makes reference to the concept of Internet governance, with the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference asking the ITU to explore ways for greater collaboration with relevant organisations involved in the development of IP-based networks and the future Internet, ‘in order to increase the role of ITU in Internet governance’. It also resolves that the ITU ‘shall clearly identify [...] the range of Internet-related issues that fall within the responsibility incumbent on the Union’. On the basis of this and other resolutions addressing the role of the ITU in Internet-related issues, the ITU Council adopted, in 2009, Resolution 1305, which invites member states to ‘recognize the scope of work of ITU on international Internet-related public policy matters’, and contains an annex listing such matters (like multilingualism, international Internet connectivity, security, cybercrime, spam, privacy, etc.). A Working Group on International Internet-related Public Policy Issues was also created within the ITU, with the task to ‘Identify, study and develop matters related to international Internet-related public policy issues, and including those issues identified in Council Resolution 1305 (2009)’.