02 Aug

Students at NOGs and some thoughts…

Attending SANOG 34 in Kolkata and today Champika from ICANN mentioned about how they (LKNOG) is trying to promote local participation by keeping the event free for locals. That is great if they can manage that. As he finished, I went to the microphone and suggested that whether or not such NOG (Network Operator Group) events are free for local operators but they must be kept free for students. I was part of INNOG 2 which happened recently and we kept the event free for the students.

Students and NOG is a topic very close to my heart. I was a student when APRICOT 2012 happened in Delhi and the cost of the ticket was too steep for me to pay for it. It was $500 for the workshops and $600 for the conference (reference here). That’s a too-steep price for any student to pay. Fortunately, there was an event on “Internet technologies” by local host and they kept it free for the students. I travelled from Radaur in Yamunanagar, Haryana to Delhi on a cold morning to attend the event. It was decent but the fun part was – now had a card on my neck. The badge did not allow me to go to any of APRICOT sessions but I could hang around in hotel lobby (which is open public space) and meet interesting people including people from network operator like Hurricane Electric (where I happen to work now), large European exchanges, Indian exchange (which was only NIXI back then), anycast DNS operators and more.

Besides APRICOT 2012, I see this all the time where ISPs are looking for network engineers to work on numerous things, colleges/university courses are totally outdated and then there’s a cry about lack of jobs. At the macro-level picture, there is surely a problem of jobs in Indian telecom sector due to fierce tariff war but at the same time, there’s a lack of talent as well which is an irony. Not to single out any NOG but NOGs over time are getting distracted in commercial angles like sponsorship, expensive fancy living, first getting money and then working hard to find a use for that money etc. Ex-Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari once wrote in the poem (in Hindi..) – हम पढ़ाव को समझे मंज़िल, लक्ष्य हुआ आँखों से ओझल, वर्तमान के मोह जाल में आने वाला कल ना भुलाए, आओ फिर से दिया जलाए. (English translation…) – We thought that the middle stage of our journey was a destination and destination disappeared from our eyes. Let’s not forget the future while being shortsighted about the present.

26 Jun

Less than a week to go before INNOG2!

And it’s less than a week before the INNOG 2 i.e Indian Network Operators Group Conference 2. We (Indians) are little late to start a NOG but it’s finally working out and this is the 2nd event. First one happened last year.

Event website: www.innog.net

Why INNOG is important and why we should care?

Well, having a functional NOG is as important for local community as a working Internet Exchange Point. In absence of either people just start peering outside for an expensive price. There a lot of things which Indian Network Operators need to work on and without knowledge sharing that’s just not going to happen.

Some of short term challenges which we need to work on:

  • IPv6 deployment. As a country, we are doing very well on it but to be fair the credit goes just to Jio and now the incumbents like Airtel, Vodafone-Idea etc catching up. Beyond the mobile telcos, the deployment is almost non-existent. APNIC IPv6 stats for India give an idea about it (here). We can have more fibre, more caching nodes, better long haul transport but in the end what we will do if ISPs just run out of IPv4 and further the capacity of their CGNAT boxes?
  • IXPs beyond top cities: As of now there are multiple IXPs in key cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai but beyond tier 1 cities there’s just no option. We need to transition to a world with IXPs in say Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and more. That would facilitate local interconnection and easy offloading of traffic.
  • Better security on BGP. As I just said during last week at my talk at RootConf : Believe it or not, the internet is connected by very loose strings and things just break so often. Take the case of yesterday’s major route leak effecting Cloudflare, Amazon and many more (more on this here). We need to work on route filtering based on RPKI as well as IRR.
  • Sign our DNS zones. Even though .in ccTLD is signed and many registrars now offer DNSSEC but very few domains actually use it. Unless we can secure the DNS chain, risks of issues due to bgp hijacks or even ASN hijacks would go on. (and much more!)

So what’s in INNOG this time?

It would be 1 day of conference and 3 days of the workshop. 1 day of the conference would include super interesting talks. Some of the notable ones are from Reliance Jio on their IPv6 deployment, Tata Communications on their journey from 64Kbps (the VSNL days!) to 21Tbps, talk on the history of root DNS servers as well as future of DNS, the CDN design of Netflix and more. (Find agenda of the conference here).

In workshops, we will have IPv6 deployment, IXP and MPLS. I am personally involved in the IXP workshop as an instructor. (Workshop agenda available here).

My personal role in INNOG is as a Program Committee Co-Chair, webmaster of the website and instructor in the IXP workshop. Let’s see how it goes and hope to see you there.

Back to work before sun comes back up! 🙂