It was another amazing experience to be part of The Internet Society to IETF meeting Fellowship program which was held in Dallas, Texas, USA on March 2015, we had an intensive week full of knowledge and technology!.
- About the fellowship program:
In short; The Internet Society created this program to support candidates from developing countries who are interested in developing the internet, have good potential to be leaders in this field to attend IETF meetings and cover all expenses concerning attendance, so they can participate efficiently, share their experiences with their companies and communities and thus play an important role in the internet development in their countries.
For more details; I’m quoting the below paragraph from the Internet Society website:
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is the world’s premier Internet standards setting organization. It operates as a large, open international community of network designers, operators, vendor experts, researchers, and other interested technologists. While much of the IETF’s work takes through correspondence, actually attending an event promotes a stronger understanding of the standards process, encourages active involvement in IETF work, and facilitates personal networking with others that have similar technical interests. Attendance by technologists from emerging and developing economies is currently limited.
However, there are many talented individuals in those regions who are interested and follow IETF work, and would benefit from the opportunities that attending an IETF meeting presents.
As such, the IETF Fellowship program is part of the Next Generation Leaders program.
Its main purposes are to:
- Raise global awareness about the IETF and its work.
- Foster greater understanding of, and participation in, the work of the IETF by technologists from emerging and developing economies.
- Provide an opportunity for networking with individuals from around the world with similar technical interests.
- Identify and foster potential future leaders from emerging and developing economies, and Demonstrate the Internet community’s commitment to fostering greater global participation in Internet Forums such as the IETF.
14 Technologies from academia, business, and civil society were selected from Palestine, Brazil, Nigeria, Ukraine,Morocco, Bolivia, Cameroon, Pakistan, Venezuela, India, Ethiopia & Ecuador for this program, more details about them can be found here.
Now I’ll start documenting my week day by day.
- Dallas arrival, Saturday 21/3/2015
I arrived early; checked-in Dallas Fairmont hotel smoothly, then I visited gifts shop in the hotel to ask about hats and the seller was Palestinian!; ironically; the first person to speak with in Texas was from my country :).
I activated my Tmobile SIM and used UBER for the 1st time to get to Trinity River Greenbelt Park which has a great view of Dallas and I had some walk around.
- IETF Fellowship program, Day-1 Sunday 22/3/2015
I went to the Registration desk; grabbed my badge, Dallas T-shirt and other cool things.
Our first session as fellows was Introduction and Welcome where we met Niel Harper and Toral Cowieson who are responsible for the fellowship program, we introduced our selves and got to know each other and shared our expectations about the program, then we took the official group picture which appeared in the header.
The next two sessions were Newcomers Meet & Greet and IETF Welcome Reception both provided introductions and useful information about IETF and the upcoming week activities; also we had good chance to Network with IETF people and work groups members and chairmen.
After these sessions I visited Dallas downtown for the first time and I enjoyed the area so much!.
In the evening; I joined IETF Fellows Dinner which was in Meso Maya Restaurant; the gathering was very nice and useful, my table had participants from different places around the world such as Egypt, Morocco besides USA, so we had lots of fun!, though I don’t like Mexican food :).
- Day-2 Monday
There were tens of sessions going on everyday; so I was picking ones related to my field of interest.
My morning session was Secure Inter-Domain routing, there were many presentations about drafts related to BGP, DNSSEC, RPSL protocols and others, full details can be found here.
Then I met my mentor Mr.Hannes Gredler for the 1st time!, he’s working for Juniper since like 15 years, He’s very helpful guy and I was lucky to be mentored by him, later on he invited me to an informal meeting with vendors! which is something I’ve never been to :).
In the after noon, I attended Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD), to be honest I was surprised that BFD has that much details! I used to use BFD simply to detect failures in links in our production network and thus triggers ISIS or OSPF protocols to respond immediately but apparently it has much more details and many drafts suggesting new things related to this protocol, full Agenda can be found here.
Last session was Technical Plenary which focused on technical topics related to the Internet Architecture such as Stack Evolution in a Middle-box Internet (SEMI) and Smart Object Networking.
We had breakfast and some networking in the morning, then I chose to attend INT homenet Home Networking session, this working group focuses on technologies and protocols related to “residential home” networks which are relatively small, at the end there was interesting comparison between ISIS and BABEL protocols! and frankly the latter was new to me!.
After that, I was stopped by Imagining the Internet guys (undergraduate students) to answer short questions for a project that they’re working on:
Stormy or sunny times for the Internet?
Note: other answers can be found on Youtube just after this one.
Next, I attended the MPLS session, needless to say the MPLS is a flexible protocol which has many drafts and proposals, there were 10 sessions about 10 drafts and the full agenda can be found here.
The last session for this day was Inter-Domain routing!, I had to sit on the floor as the room was full! , most presentations were discussing BGP related issues such as AS, communities, NextHop, also new concepts were introduced by vendors, here’s the agenda for your reference.
Finally, we had an amazing social event in the Reunion Tower!, it was nice gathering where hundreds of IETF people attended, we had delicious food with breathtaking view of Dallas and we took many cool pics, most importantly I was able to get my Texan hat (finally)!.
- Day-4, Wednesday
Next day morning @8:00 we had the Fellows Midweek Check-in” where we discussed our experience, thoughts and how it was going on so far, at the end; we were awarded this nice universal adapter:
Then I attended NTP session!, I was curious to see what’s being discussed about this”simple” protocol, but apparently there’s much work to do on it! such as securing and protecting NTP messages, here’s the agenda.
After that I followed the IPv6 Operations session which had many important presentations and it’s one of the most important topics right now in the Internet world, our colleague Suprita represented about the protocol deployment in India, the session agenda can be found here.
At the end; we attended IETF92 Administrative plenary; which provided comprehensive info about IETF92, there were reports, statistics, presentations and videos about the week activities then they introduced the next IETF which is gonna be held in Prague; the presenters had high sense of humor and we laughed so much during this session :).
- Day-5 Thursday
I attended the following sessions: Transport Layer Security, routing area group and SDN, the most interesting one was the latter, SDN Network is relatively new technology that enables organizations to facilitate application deployment and delivery by using user-friendly programmable interfaces (separating control plane from Forwarding plane); it reduces cost and increases resources utilization and many relevant topics were presented & discussed.
After almost being done with sessions we attended Bits-n-Bites event, there were booths for several vendors presenting about their latest technologies and solutions besides delicious food and drinks; frankly nothing better than combining food with tech ;).
- Day-6 Friday-Fellowship Wrap-up
In the early morning we attended the “Fellowship Wrap-up” session to share our thoughts about the intensive week and the fellowship program, also we discussed our plans to share our experience with our communities, it was the last meeting for us as fellows and it’s always not easy to say goodbye :).
Later on; I got my certificate after submitting my feedback form, luckily I was informed that I’m the first Palestinian to get such fellowship!.
Finally I would like to thank Niel Haper, Toral Cowieson and the Internet Society team for giving me this opportunity to participate in this program and certainly I encourage everyone to apply and participate!.
More quick pics:
Osama Tamimi, 2/5/2015, Jerusalem-Palestine