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An eventful week at SANOG 29

After a long wait of 4.5 years, the 29th edition of SANOG came back to Pakistan, this time in the countrys capital, Islamabad. The Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) and the Higher Education commission of Pakistan (HEC) came forward to jointly host the event at the HEC headquarters.

SANOG 29 consisted of two days of conference, one day of tutorial alongside the Internet Society’s ION Conference, and the usual five days of workshops with three parallel tracks. Eight days of action-packed agenda was good enough to attract a lot of audiences.

The ION Conference was inaugurated by chairman HEC Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed and PTA chairman Dr. Ismail Shah, with two keynotes from distinguished industry experts: Mr. Yousuf Bhaiji discussed the “Future of Networks, Networking, and Networkers” and Mr. Haris Shamsi shared his views on “Software Defined Everything”.

The opening ceremony was well-attended by many network professionals and academia delegates from all over Pakistan. There was good media presence as well. A number of foreign delegates participated in the event, representing Facebook, Google, Internet Society, NL-IX, DE-CIX, IIJ, APNIC, NSRC, University of Tokyo and ICANN, making it one of the most successful SANOGs in Pakistan after the first SANOG in 2006.

PKNOG was inaugurated during the conference day, with a dedicated plenary session to announce its establishment. It took a very long time for the Pakistani technical community to create their own NOG where they can discuss and share technical knowledge with each other. Tentatively, the standalone first PKNOG event will be organised in the third quarter this year.

An issue that was underlined throughout the conference and tutorial was the dire state of IPv6 deployment in Pakistan. Unfortunately, Pakistan is lacking in this arena, with IPv6 traffic at less than 1% of the total internet traffic as per measurements by APNIC. But recently there has been a great deal of interest and enthusiasm in the community towards IPv6 deployment and hopefully, this will increase in the coming months.

Another great news was announced during SANOG: the establishment of PKIX (Pakistan Internet Exchange) in Islamabad. It was formally inaugurated by the Minister of IT and Telecom, Ms. Anusha Rehman. PTA, ISOC and APNIC played a vital role in setting up PKIX. Discussions are underway to establish other nodes in Karachi and Lahore. ISOC and PTA are also engaging with stakeholders on how this process may be streamlined.

After the conference and tutorial there were five days of hands-on workshops which were conducted by foreign delegates on following topics:

Dr. Philip Smith (NSRC) and Dr. Nimal (NSRC) – Campus Design and Security

Champika Wijayatunga (ICANN) and Dr. Rao Naveed – DNS and DNSSEC Deployment

Aftab Siddiqui (ISOC) and Matsuzaki Yoshinobo (IIJ) – IPv4/v6 routing

The closing ceremony was held on the last day of the workshop, with the Minister of Education as the chief guest. Certificates were distributed to participants and shields given to the instructors and organizers. It was a very successful event that will hopefully jumpstart a PKNOG meeting in the near future.