A couple of colleagues both pointed out to me recently that the specifications from the ITU are now free to download from their website: www.itu.int. So if you want to read up on Q.931, BICC or even T.38, here's your chance to get them free of charge, instead of the very expensive CD that the ITU used to market.

While on the subject of standards, the ETSI publications have been free for some time, and you can find these at www.etsi.org. ETSI standards also describe a whole variety of different technologies including SS7, GSM , and 3GPP/SIP.

Of course the IETF recommendations (RFCs) have always been freely downloadable from the IETF website at www.ietf.org.

As someone once said, the great thing about standards is there's so many to choose from.

Happy reading!