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RFC 3601
Text String Notation for Dial Sequences and Global Switched Telephone Network (GSTN) / E.164 Addresses.
C. Allocchio. September 2003.

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Network Working Group C. Allocchio Request for Comments: 3601 GARR-Italy Category: Standards Track September 2003 Text String Notation for Dial Sequences and Global Switched Telephone Network (GSTN) / E.164 Addresses Status of this Memo This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for improvements. Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state and status of this protocol. Distribution of this memo is unlimited. Copyright Notice Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2003). All Rights Reserved. Abstract This memo describes the full set of notations needed to represent a text string in a Dial Sequence. A Dial Sequence is normally composed of Dual Tone Multi Frequency (DTMF) elements, plus separators and additional "actions" (such as "wait for dialtone", "pause for N secs", etc.) which could be needed to successfully establish the connection with the target service: this includes the cases where subaddresses or DTMF menu navigation apply. 1. Introduction Since the very first devices interacting with GSTN services appeared, a need for a unique text string representation of commonly called telephone numbers, and more generally DTMF sequences and actions, was foreseen. This memo describes the full text string representation method. This specification was explicitly created to provide an easy, unique and complete reference which MUST be used by all other specifications needing a text string representation for a Dial Sequence. The specification was collected directly from Dial Sequence definitions which are already described in existing Standard Track specifications (such as [6] [7] [8] [9]), and is fully synchronized with them. Full compatibility is thus assured, and as a consequence, this specification results in a compendium of existing definitions. Allocchio Standards Track [Page 1]
RFC 3601 Dial Sequences and GSTN / E.164 Addresses September 2003 This notation is a fully compatible compendium of existing notations, and should be used in all specifications needing a text string representation of a Dial Sequence. Although the commonly called "telephone numbers" are normally used to generate a Dial Sequence when establishing a connection, the full abstract E.164 addresses [2], i.e., the universal addressing on the Global Switched Telephone Network (GSTN), have further elements which cannot be dialled. Thus abstract E.164 addresses cannot be fully converted into a Dial Sequence or fully represented using this notation. 1.1. Terminology and Syntax conventions In this document the formal definitions are described using ABNF syntax, as defined in [3]. This memo also uses some of the "CORE DEFINITIONS" defined in "APPENDIX A - CORE" of that document. The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in BCP 14, RFC 2119 [4]. The following terms are also defined in this document: Dial Sequence: a series of DTMF elements and human or device "actions"; phone-string: a text representation of a Dial Sequence; GSTN address: a commonly called "telephone number" on the GSTN, i.e., a diallable subset of an E.164 abstract address or any private numbering schema diallable address; gstn-phone: a text representation of a GSTN address; subaddr-string: a text representation of a GSTN subaddress (which includes ISDN subaddresses [2] and T.33 subaddresses [5]); post-dial: a text representation of a post dialling sequence. Allocchio Standards Track [Page 2]
RFC 3601 Dial Sequences and GSTN / E.164 Addresses September 2003 2. The "Dial Sequence" definition The possible elements composing a Dial Sequence can vary from a minimum number, up to a really large and complex collection: in fact, the sequences already needed to dial a gstn-phone, which is a subset of the generic Dial Sequence, well represents this variety and complexity of cases. In particular, a Dial Sequence is composed by: - "DTMF elements": normally available as "keys" on numeric keypads of dialling devices; - "actions": normally performed by the agent (human or device) composing the Dial Sequence; - "separators": used only to improve human readability of a Dial Sequence. 2.1. The "phone-string" definition The text representation of the Dial Sequence elements is defined in the phone-string specification: phone-string = 1*( DTMF / pause / tonewait / written-sep ) DTMF = ( DIGIT / "#" / "*" / "A" / "B" / "C" / "D" ) ; special DTMF codes like "*", "#", "A", "B", ; "C", "D" are defined in [1]. ; Important Note: these elements only apply for ; alphabetic strings used in DTMF operations. ; They are NOT applicable for the alphabetic ; characters that are mapped to digits on phone ; keypads in some countries. pause = "p" tonewait = "w" written-sep = ( "-" / "." ) Note: DTMF are the "DTMF elements", pause and tonewait are the "actions" and written-sep are the "separators". The "pause" and "tonewait" elements interpretation of the phone- string depends on the specific devices and implementation using the specification. Thus their exact meaning is not mandated in this Allocchio Standards Track [Page 3]
RFC 3601 Dial Sequences and GSTN / E.164 Addresses September 2003 document. The next section provides some examples drawn from common practice. Both "pause" and "tonewait" are case insensitive. Implementation of "pause" and "tonewait": - one instance of a "pause" SHOULD be interpreted as a pause of one second between the preceding and succeeding dial string elements; - a "tonewait" SHOULD be interpreted as a pause that will last until the calling party hears a dial tone or another indication that more dial string characters may be processed. An off-hook indication MAY also be interpreted as this kind of indication (meaning that the audio channel has been opened to the receiving party); - because these characters are not a part of the GSTN subscriber address (telephone number) per se, any dial string characters that succeed either a "pause" or "tonewait" SHOULD be sent using DTMF signalling. The use of written-sep elements is allowed in order to improve human readability of the phone-string. The written-sep are elements which can be placed between dial elements, such as digits etc. Any occurrences of written-sep elements in a phone-string MUST NOT result in any action. Conformant implementations MAY drop or insert written-sep into the phone-string they handle. The phone-string definition is used in the following sections to explicitly describe the encoding of some specific subcases where it applies. 3. The "gstn-phone" definition In order to access a GSTN address, a human or a device must perform a Dial Sequence. Thus, a GSTN address can be represented using the phone-string elements. In particular, diallable E.164 numeric addresses [2] represent a limited subset of all possible GSTN addresses, while the complete complex case needs a full encoding schema, as it also includes a local or private addressing schema. In order to describe this distinction and provide anyhow a complete encoding schema, the following definition of "gstn-phone" is provided: gstn-phone = ( global-phone / local-phone ) Allocchio Standards Track [Page 4]
RFC 3601 Dial Sequences and GSTN / E.164 Addresses September 2003 3.1. The "global-phone" definition The purpose of the global-phone element is to represent diallable E.164 numeric addresses. As such, it uses a subset of a phone-string definition only. The syntax for a global-phone element is as follows: global-phone = "+" 1*( DIGIT / written-sep ) Any other dialling schemes MUST NOT use the leading "+" defined here. The "+" sign is strictly reserved for the standard "global-phone" syntax, and, even if not specifically part of the phone-string definition, it is needed to uniquely label a global-phone. 3.2. The "local-phone" definition The local-phone element is intended to represent the set of possible cases where the global-phone numbering schema does not apply. Given the different and complex conventions currently being used in the GSTN system, the local-phone definition supports a large number of elements. The detailed syntax for local-phone elements is as follows: local-phone = [ exit-code ] dial-number local-phone =/ exit-code [ dial-number ] exit-code = phone-string ; this will include elements such as the digit to ; access outside line, the long distance carrier ; access code, the access password to the service, ; etc... dial-number = phone-string ; this is in many cases composed of different elements ; such as the local phone number, the area code ; (if needed), the international country code ; (if needed), etc... Notes: The "+" character is reserved for use in a global-phone and MUST NOT be used in a local-phone string; Please note that a local-phone string MUST NOT be a null string, i.e., at least an exit-code, or a dial-number or both MUST be present. Allocchio Standards Track [Page 5]
RFC 3601 Dial Sequences and GSTN / E.164 Addresses September 2003 4. The "subaddr-string" definition In GSTN service, there are cases where a subaddress is required to specify the final destination. To specify these subaddresses, a Dial Sequence is also used, and thus the "subaddr-string" can be encoded as: subaddr-string = phone-string Note: Within actual uses of subaddresses, some specific services can limit the possible set of phone-string elements allowed. In particular, there are ISDN subaddresses [2] [8], which restrict the phone-string elements to 1*( DIGIT / written-sep ) and service specific subaddresses, like the fax service T.33 subaddress [5] [7], which restrict phone-string elements to 1*( DIGIT ). 5. The "post-dial" definition In some cases, after the connection with the destination GSTN device has been established, a further dialling sequence is required to access further services. A typical example is an automated menu- driven service using DTMF sequences. These cases may be represented using the "post-dial" definition below: post-dial = phone-string 6. Examples In order to clarify the specification we present, here are a limited set of examples. Please note that all the examples are for illustration purposes only. A GSTN address in Italy, dialled from U.S.A., using local-phone, without written-sep: 01139040226338 A GSTN address in Germany, using global-phone and written-sep ".": +49.81.7856345 A GSTN address in U.S.A. using global-phone and written-sep "-": +1-202-455-7622 Allocchio Standards Track [Page 6]
RFC 3601 Dial Sequences and GSTN / E.164 Addresses September 2003 A post-dial sequence, pausing, dialling 1, waiting for dial tone, dialling 7005393, waiting again for dial tone and dialling 373; note the use of four "p" elements (pppp) to specify a longer initial pause: pppp1w7005393w373 A Dial Sequence in Italy (long distance call), using local-phone, with exit-code "9", long distance access "0", area code "40", pause "p" and written-sep ".": 9p040p22.63.38 A Dial Sequence using exit-code "0", a wait for dial tone, local- phone for an International "800" toll-free number dialled from Belgium (international prefix "00"), and a post-dial sequence to access a voice mailbox with userID "334422" and Personal Identification Number (PIN) code "1234": 0w00800-39380023pp334422p1234 7. Conclusions This proposal creates a full standard text encoding for Dial Sequences, including GSTN and diallable E.164 addresses, and thus provides a unique common representation method both for standard protocols and applications. Some definitions, like these corresponding to an alias of the generic phone-string element, are somewhat a theoretical distinction; however they are useful to provide a more subtle distinction, allowing other specifications to be more exact in a consistent way. The proposal is consistent with existing standard specifications. 8. Security Considerations This document specifies a means to represent Dial Sequences, which could include GSTN addresses and private codes sequences, like Personal Identification Numbers, to access special services. As these text strings could be transmitted without encoding inside protocols or applications services, this could allow unauthorized people to gain access to these codes. Users SHOULD be provided methods to prevent this disclosure, like code encryption, or masquerading techniques: out-of-band communication of authorization information or use of encrypted data in special fields are the available non-standard techniques. Allocchio Standards Track [Page 7]
RFC 3601 Dial Sequences and GSTN / E.164 Addresses September 2003 9. Collected ABNF Syntax In this section we provide a summary of ABNF specifications. phone-string = 1*( DTMF / pause / tonewait / written-sep ) DTMF = ( DIGIT / "#" / "*" / "A" / "B" / "C" / "D" ) written-sep = ( "-" / "." ) pause = "p" tonewait = "w" gstn-phone = ( global-phone / local-phone ) global-phone = "+" 1*( DIGIT / written-sep ) local-phone = [ exit-code ] dial-number local-phone =/ exit-code [ dial-number ] exit-code = phone-string dial-number = phone-string subaddr-string = phone-string post-dial = phone-string 10. References 10.1. Normative References [1] ETSI I-ETS 300,380 - Universal Personal Telecommunication (UPT): Access Devices Dual Tone Multi Frequency (DTMF) sender for acoustical coupling to the microphone of a handset telephone (March 1995). [2] ITU E.164 - The International Public Telecommunication Numbering Plan E.164/I.331 (May 1997). [3] Crocker, D. Ed. and P. Overell, "Augmented BNF for Syntax Specifications: ABNF", RFC 2234, November 1997. [4] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997. Allocchio Standards Track [Page 8]
RFC 3601 Dial Sequences and GSTN / E.164 Addresses September 2003 [5] ITU T.33 - Facsimile routing utilizing the subaddress; recommendation T.33 (July, 1996). 10.2. Informative References [6] Allocchio, C., "Minimal GSTN address format in Internet Mail", RFC 3191, October 2001. [7] Allocchio, C., "Minimal FAX address format in Internet Mail", RFC 3192, October 2001. [8] Allocchio, C., "GSTN Address Element Extensions in E-mail Services", RFC 2846, June 2000. [9] Vaha-Sipila, A., "URLs for Telephone Calls", RFC 2806, April 2000. 11. Author's Address Claudio Allocchio GARR c/o Sincrotrone Trieste SS 14 Km 163.5 Basovizza I 34012 Trieste Italy Phone: +39 040 3758523 Fax: +39 040 3758565 X.400: C=it;A=garr;P=garr;S=Allocchio;G=Claudio; EMail: Allocchio Standards Track [Page 9]
RFC 3601 Dial Sequences and GSTN / E.164 Addresses September 2003 12. Full Copyright Statement Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2003). All Rights Reserved. This document and translations of it may be copied and furnished to others, and derivative works that comment on or otherwise explain it or assist in its implementation may be prepared, copied, published and distributed, in whole or in part, without restriction of any kind, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph are included on all such copies and derivative works. However, this document itself may not be modified in any way, such as by removing the copyright notice or references to the Internet Society or other Internet organizations, except as needed for the purpose of developing Internet standards in which case the procedures for copyrights defined in the Internet Standards process must be followed, or as required to translate it into languages other than English. The limited permissions granted above are perpetual and will not be revoked by the Internet Society or its successors or assignees. This document and the information contained herein is provided on an "AS IS" basis and THE INTERNET SOCIETY AND THE INTERNET ENGINEERING TASK FORCE DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY WARRANTY THAT THE USE OF THE INFORMATION HEREIN WILL NOT INFRINGE ANY RIGHTS OR ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Acknowledgement Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the Internet Society. Allocchio Standards Track [Page 10]


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