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TNC17 - Some Impressions - Day 2

Mirjam Kühne — 31 May 2017
Contributors: Christian Teuschel, Massimo Candela
Today: Network Measurements, more lightning talks and a small army of robots!


First of all, we had a wonderful opening reception on a boat last night even though we were surrounded by a thunder storm during the trip. It all added the drama of what was a beautiful trip down the Danube.


View across the Danube river towards the Ars Electronica Center

Network Measurements

As a network for active measurements perfSONAR's challenges and goals are similar to RIPE Atlas's when it comes to coverage: the more devices distributed, the more data is produced and better data analysis is possible.

NetSage is a project that aims at making it easier to monitor congestions on the links between NRENs. They use passive and active measurements and make the data available on a dashboard. Such a dashboard might be something to consider for RIPE Atlas as well. However, the NetSage dashboard focuses mainly on network traffic utilisation whereas RIPE Atlas measures network latency.


One of today's keynote speakers, Bikash Koley from Google, wasn't able to travel to Linz so this turned out to be the first ever remote presentation at TNC. It worked pretty well, even though the audio in the room was very powerful so I decided to watch it remotely from our booth. Bikash described what they are doing in terms of SDN and Zero Touch Networking and what they learned in the process.

The second talk was held by Hannes Gredler who was discussing if the end of the traditional router is near

During this talk I learned something about the Lindy effect, which says that "things that have been in existence for a long period of time can be considered more robust/antifragile (i.e., more likely to continue to survive) than new things that haven't passed the test of time". The core idea for cars for instance will be around for a long time, but how cars look like and what's inside a car is changing over time. Hannes Gredler says the same applies to routers: the core idea of a router has been around for a relatively long time and will probably be around a while longer. However, router vendors and the industry will have to go through a transition in order to survive.

He says that vendors need to opening up the full ecosystem to a multitude of suppliers (from control plane, to data plane to managment plane). It needs to be "a component eco-system". Only then is innovation coming back into the networking space. And only then will the answer to the title of his talk be hopefully "No".

Hannes Gredler presenting at TNC17

Lightning Talks - Strike Two

Today we had the Second Strike of lightning talks, moderated by David Wilde and myself - another set of really interesting short talks.

 David and I chairing the second lightning talks session at TNC17

And again, the students, in this case Frederik Strupe from Norway and Norbertas Kremeris, did a great job and set the bar high for future lightning talks. Frederik presented a project where he is using Rasberry Pi's for cheap Wi-Fi monitoring. Norbertas described how you can can offload most of the workload from the software router to OpenFlow-capable hardware. We might see more of them, on RIPE Labs and/or as RACI fellows.

Brian Nisbet was "fortunate" to bring his lightning talk from last year to practice by experiencing a cable cut that brought down parts of the acadmic network in Ireland. So, he had to follow his own advice and test the resilience and management processes. And - maybe not surprisingly - communications is key!

Andrea Jones, one of the lightning talk speakers, from the NREN in New Zealand showing how New Zealand fits in Europe :-)

Unfortunately, I had to miss a parallel session in which Anna Wilson and Brian McArdle explained how they were trying to have their job replaced by a small army of robots. Luckily, I registered for a guided tour through the Creative Robotics Laboratory at the University of Art and Design in Linz. Apparently, this involves "printing a drink"! I'll tell you all about that tomorrow.





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