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  • Dhruv Dhody

Connections 2020: A re-cap

India Internet Engineering Society (IIESoc) & Industry Network Technology Council (INTC) organized the 4th iteration of Connections as a joint India-US fully online event on December 7-11 2020. While the connections event in the past has been organized in India just before the Asian-iteration of the IETF, like everything else we had to adapt to. It was a 5-day fully online event in close collaboration between IIESoc & INTC.

Total registration was at 346 with a subset attending live and others catching up on Youtube.

Opening Keynote Panel

We opened Connections with a bang! We had some stalwarts in the industry with various perspectives giving their opinions on the unintended consequences of the Internet. Dhruv as president of IIESoc welcomed all participants and introduced the activities of IIESoc and INTC. Nalini as president of INTC provided an overview of the IPv6 enterprise deployment project and plans.

The theme for the keynote opening panel discussion was: "The vision of the Internet was to connect the entire world. In less than 40 years we have done exactly that. What are the unintended consequences and how do we start to address those?"

Panelists were:

Some of the questions we asked were:

  • We have not only connected the world, in doing so we have made spreading ideas cheap and easy. The unintended consequence is that it has become cheap and easy to disseminate MISinformation. Before, the cost of publication acted as a constraint on those wishing to spread bad information. Now, that constraint is gone. So how do we establish some kind of Truth in Labeling the stuff that gets onto the Internet?

  • What can and should organizations do to improve the situation of the rural divide? Now that tools exist to make remote work easier, should organizations consider the advantages of hiring more people from lower-wage areas and investing in the Internet infrastructure in those areas? Should organizations require applications to function reasonably well on lower bandwidth connections to enable workers who cannot get high-enough bandwidth for the full experience? Are there any advances in standards that would be helpful in improving the experience of people in more rural areas, given these connections are often not only low bandwidth, but also higher latency (since the CDN connections and cached content are much further away, and backhaul architectures are often not optimized)?

To hear the answers to these and other questions, check out our recordings.

IPv6 Track

We were extremely happy to have Suresh Krishnan, Kaloom join Connections this time. One side-benefit of virtual connections was able to get speakers that we always wanted but were not able to travel to India before. Suresh presentation was aptly titled “IPv6 on Everything, Everywhere”; and traced the journey of IPv6 deployment and highlighted the case in Indian IPv6 progress and the role of IPv6 in the world connected things. The future is bright and the future is IPv6! The next talk was from Michael Ackermann on IPv6 Deployment @ Enterprises. It was a more sobering outlook on why the IPv6 deployment at the Enterprises are lagging behind and what could be done to speed things up. The panel discussion on IPv6 was enlightening with IPv6 stalwarts - Jen Linkova (Google), Fred Baker (v6ops WG co-chair), joining Michael and Suresh. Nalini Elkins was the Moderator and some of the most interesting questions were on IPv6-only networks, business reasons for enterprises to adopt IPv6, SRv6, etc.

To hear the answers to these and other questions, check out our recordings.

Hot in Networking

With this track, we wanted to bring the hottest trends and debated topics in the field of networking. James Guichard of Futurewei presented on Network Programming via Segment Routing over IPv6 (SRv6) and how SRv6 is enabling innovations such as service chaining, application-aware networking, network slicing, seamless redundancy. James ended the talk with details on SRv6 compression and one such solution called Generalized SRv6 Network Programming (G-SRH). The next talk was on a recent BoF at IETF 109 called MAC Address Device Identification for Network and Application Services (MADINAS). Michael Richardson summed up the problem of MAC Address Randomization, the current state of the art, and the planned solution to use a new random MAC address every day. Micheal talked about the effects and who would be impacted and finally on how using onboarding solutions could be the way forward. The final talk was on Intent-Based Networking (IBN) by Jeff Tantsura of Apstra. Jeff described what exactly is an intent, and what is the IBN landscape and lifecycle. He focused on the Datacenter use cases to put forth the value of IBN. His talk also included the architecture, function composition, and analytics based on intent.

It was great to hear directly from the tech leaders on these hottest topics.

Transport Track

This is the first time that Connections had a "Transport track". Some of the most interesting topics such as Quick UDP Internet Connections (QUIC) and BBR Congestion Control were covered as a part of this track. Jana Iyengar from Fastly provided an overview of the motivation and design principles of QUIC, described how it has matured into a more complete Internet Standard at IETF, and discussed the current state of its development and deployment. The next talk by K. K. Ramakrishnan from the University of California, Riverside, and Mohit P. Tahiliani from National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal was a deep dive into the working of the Explicit Congestion Notification (ECN) mechanism. K. K. Ramakrishnan spoke about the fundamental principles of congestion control and highlighted the need for Active Queue Management (AQM) mechanisms. Mohit presented a comparison of congestion control schemes that use threshold-based ECN (such as BBRv2) and the ones that use AQM based ECN (such as CUBIC with Proportional Integral controller). This talk also showed that lower queue delays of the order of a few milliseconds (1 to 5 ms) can be achieved by using AQM based ECN while maximizing the link utilization and providing a fair share of throughput to all the TCP connections.

Closing Panel & 5G

The closing panel was called “India and Future of the Internet”. India already has 750 million Internet connections and yet has the largest unconnected population. Hence, standards bodies need to factor in Internet users and usage in countries like India. The panel consisted of luminaries -

This panel discussed standardization activities such as languages, security, privacy, and encryption. Some of the key takeaways -

  1. India would have a significant impact on the future of the internet across the globe as many other countries emulate what happens here, especially around languages and affordability.

  2. The government needs to look at the Internet & digital-economy not as a cash-cow but as a force multiplier.

  3. India needs to invest in capacity building as well as enhance international engagement in the realm of internet governance and standards development

  4. Contrary to popular belief, India is actually a leader in IPv6 adoption, even if partly driven by compulsion and not just conviction

  5. The policy should leverage suitable incentives to nudge user behavior

This was followed by an in-depth tutorial on 5G for an IP engineer by Sridhar Bhaskaran from Altiostar. He introduced the 5G system architecture by tracing the life of a packet in the 5G network. Dhruv Dhody from Huawei & Srihari Sangli from Juniper further tied the topic down to the IETF Network Slicing & it’s Realization. Dhruv introduced the on-going work being done in the TEAS WG on IETF network slicing. They further covered the various realization technique being enhanced and worked on. Srihari drilled down on one such technique using IP/MPLS techniques.

You can find the links to the slide/recording HERE and a playlist on Youtube. There is an ongoing survey as well, to help us improve.

We would like to thank our sponsors - Internet Society & Juniper Networks to continue to support Connections.

We thank all the speakers and panelists for being part of the event and giving their valuable time to present and answer questions. Thanks to the program committee and IIESoc/INTC board members for making another iteration of connection in the new world. Lastly thanks for attending the event (live or recorded)! Feel free to reach out to us on how we could improve the event.

Nalini, Mohit, Deepak, and Praneet contributed to this blog.

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