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China to stop certifying fax machines, ISDN and frame relay kit

Modems and pagers soon to beep their last, ATM switches on the outer too

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology tolled the bell on Monday for network access reforms that will mean the end for some well-loved but arguably obsolete communications technologies.

The Ministry's announcement includes news that it will stop issuing network access permits for wired and wireless landline telephones, fax machines, modems, and wireless pagers.

Any forthcoming telco products employing ISDN (integrated services digital network terminals) equipment, frame relay, or asynchronous transfer mode switches also won't be given permits.

The policy change appears not to mean existing kit can't connect to Chinese networks – just that the Ministry is uninterested in new products that employ legacy comms tech.

Manufacturers probably won't mind. Whatever participants remain in the dwindling markets for fax machines and ISDN will likely be happy cranking out their current machines for as long as buyers need legacy products, rather than giving them meaningful updates. Users may be less happy, as this change is a signal to either stockpile kit or finally migrate away from legacy tech before the market shrinks even further.

ZTE 5G kit wins German security certification
Chinese telco equipment maker ZTE has announced its 5G NR gNodeB – a 5G network node – has been certified under Germany's implementation of the GSMA Network Equipment Security Assurance Scheme.

ZTE is chuffed about the certification, suggesting it proves the trustworthiness of its products and willingness to open itself to scrutiny.

The announcement comes against a background of several nations barring Chinese vendors from participating in their telecoms networks. The US has even paid telcos billions of dollars to rip and replace Huawei and ZTE products from their networks.

The document suggests another reason for ceasing certification of old tech: a simplification of testing regimes. Chinese authorities are clearly going to be busy certifying actual new stuff in coming years, making a new fax machine a potentially unwelcome item on a to-do list. The reforms promise a huge reduction in turnaround time for certification, which should be welcomed by all.

Another change removes the obligation to resubmit products for certification if changes are cosmetic, rather than functional.

Devices capable of running virtual network functions are also addressed under the changed rules – they are now required to be assessed and certified just like physical kit. ®

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