NZNOG 'relaxed and high-quality'

Who looks after the networks when the operators are all networking?

The annual conference of network operators in New Zealand, NZNOG 2005, which took place earlier this month at the University of Waikato in Hamilton over three days, has been declared a success by participants, despite fog in Wellington causing travel chaos for some.

The 140 registrants were treated to workshops on routing, email server configuration, network numbering and DNS, and setting up long-range wireless link and more.

A range of speakers, including international internet illuminati Bill Norton, Bill Manning (IETF/NANOG) and Joe Abley (ISC) as well as local luminaries Dean Pemberton from TelstraClear, Chris Perera from the Ministry of Economic Development, and Jonathan Brewer from Araneo Wireless were also at NZNOG this year.

The conference was organised by the NZ network operators’ community, and hosted by Wand network group at the Computer Science Department at Waikato. Curry mistress this year was Lin Nah, of Auckland ISP Quicksilver. The sponsors for the conference this year were InternetNZ, Citylink, Auckland webhoster regional internet registry APNIC, and of course, the University of Waikato.

Wand’s Richard Nelson says the NZNOG conference network carried just over 32GB during the three days. The sessions and presentations were made available as streamed video by Citylink’s Richard Naylor and team.

Conference attendees went through 495 cans of soft drinks, Nelson says, with Coke (regular and diet varieties) being the most popular choice. Other items consumed included 60 litres of orange juice and around 4kg of ground coffee. The $1,000 bar tab that kindly sponsored turned out to be insufficient in the summer heat, however, and ran out around dinner time. Wand had to step in with another $500 to keep the bar going until 11pm that night, Nelson says.

Nurani Nimpuno, Outreach Coordinator at APNIC in Brisbane, is an NZNOG veteran who finds the conferences very useful thanks to the high-quality speakers and presentations. She also appreciated the technical ability of the audience, which Nimpuno says was very local and not afraid of asking questions. Nimpuno was holding a seminar on APNIC policies at NZNOG.

NZNOG émigré Joe Abley, currently stationed on the Canadian tundra as the Operations Engineer for Internet Systems Consortium, compared the conference favourably with the North American NOG meets. Unlike the much larger NANOG ones, Abley says, there was less emphasis on the social aspect at the NZNOG conference, and more focus on the actual programme. Typically, NANOG conferences have around 600 atttendees.

Abley held two “lightning talks” (short presentations without visual aids) on the BIND name server and F root server as well as a longer presentation on the history of internet peering in New Zealand. The latter presentation was augmented with roughly 20 pages of notes thanks to the lively audience participation during the session, Abley says, and has been turned into a wiki by the Waikato Linux Users Group (WLUG) here.

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