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2013 IGF: Bali
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Understanding Internet Infrastructure: an Overview of Technology and Terminology
Workshop description and list of panelists:
This workshop built upon very successful previous workshops at the 2007 and 2008 IGF meetings. The workshop provided an educational, factual backdrop to the policy debates which are the focus of the IGF. Many people in the civil society and intergovernmental spheres, whose interest in Internet governance is relatively recent, are potentially disadvantaged in fully participating in the policy debate by the abstruse technical terminology and concepts. This workshop served as a layperson's introduction to the topology of the Internet, providing definitions and explanations for key terms like transit, peering, hot-potato, exchange point, root and top-level domain name server, routing and forwarding, and the International Standards Organization's seven-layer protocol model. This background, provided at the very beginning of each year's sessions, gives participants the background to decode the arguments presented in other sessions through the remainder of the week.
The panel was moderated by Bill Woodcock, Research Director of Packet Clearing House, and consisted of:
Mark Tinka, Network Architect at Global Transit, an Asian backbone network operator based in Kuala Lumpur, and previously network architect at Africa Online Uganda, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.
Nishal Goburdhan, Chief Technology Officer at AfriNIC, and previously network architect at Internet Solutions, a backbone network based in Johannesburg.
Christian O’Flaherty, Senior Education Manager at the Internet Society, and past manager at Global Crossing Latin America, LACNIC policy chair, and director of Argentina’s national academic network.
Art Reilly, Director, Strategic Technology Policy at Cisco Systems, and Cisco’s principal representative to a variety of UN, ITU and WSIS-related activities on technology policy matters.
The actors involved in the field; various initiatives that people can connect with, and contacts for further information:
As this was an overview session, it covered a multitude of fields, initiatives, and issues. The participants gave their contact information and welcomed all attendees to ask them further questions or follow up in greater detail on issues of interest throughout the remainder of the week, and in the future.
Mark Tinka: email@example.com
Nishal Goburdhan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christian O’Flaherty: email@example.com
Art Reilly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Woodcock: email@example.com
A brief substantive summary and the main issues that were identified:
The ninety-minute session began with an overview of the topics to be covered and brief introduction of the panelists and their backgrounds. Mark Tinka and Nishal Goburdhan presented a twenty minute walk-through of the Domain Name System, how domain names are constructed and secured, and how user-manipulated information like email addresses and web URLs are handled by the underlying mechanisms of the Internet. This was followed by a fifteen-minute explanation of the Internet Protocol version 4 and version 6 addressing schemes, routing mechanics, how the equitable distribution of infrastructural costs are guaranteed, and how these mechanisms differ from those of the twentieth-century telephony network. Art Reilly and Christian O’Flaherty then gave a fifteen-minute overview of the organizations of Internet governance, the roles, responsibilities, and method of public input to each, and how they all fit together to form a cohesive and comprehensive mechanism for guiding the productive, fair, and inclusive growth of a network which approximately doubles in size each year.
Each of these presentations were accompanied by diagrammatic slides, containing definitions and additional information and references, which were made available to the participants and the public: http://www.pch.net/resources/tutorials/igf-internet-topology-and-terminology/internet-topology-and-terminology.pdf
These presentations were followed by a twenty-minute Q&A session in which the panelists addressed participants' questions regarding the transition from Internet Protocol version 4 addresses to Internet Protocol version 6 addresses, routing diversity and the resiliency, the functional role of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and its relationship to ICANN and the United States Government, and a variety of other topics. As the inter-session break concluded, the Q&A session spilled over into the hallway and continued for most of another hour.
Conclusions and further comments:
The session provided a quick but functional introduction to the key terms and concepts employed in Internet governance policy debates, and the technical reasons and causes which shape them. More importantly, it gave participants pointers to additional sources of information, and venues for active participation in the Internet governance process, as well as human introductions to individual experienced Internet engineering and governance participants who had agreed to provide mentoring and answer further questions through the week and beyond. We regard the session as a success, and look forward to conducting similar sessions at future IGF meetings, for as long as they may be desired.
...End of Report...
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