Engineer internet ipv6

Transfers of IPv4 Addresses from /8s Held by One Organization

Guest post on IPv4 Address market by Sandra Brown

sandra brownSome interesting insights into the IPv4 address market by Sandra Brown who has been working this space for a number of years now. Read on.

In 2011, as Nortel’s Director of Engineering I started the orchestration of the sale of Nortel’s  Over time this undertaking has resulted in the sale of approximately 85% of the /8.  Something that has been discussed in the ensuing six years, is how many other “organization” or “company” owned /8s might ultimately be sold.  IPv4 Market Group has examined the before and after records in the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) databases, in addition to the RIR transfer logs, to see how many of these /8s have moved.  All data being analyzed is publicly available.

As shown in Figure 1 below, there are 26 /8s that fall into the category of “organization” held.  In this inventory, we ignore /8 blocks held by the US Defense Organizations, because there is no indication that the US Government has any intention of moving them in the future.  We do include the UK Government’s two /8s, as we have seen past movement by the Department of Work and Pensions.   We also include the US Post Office, as it seems likely this organization might desire a few million extra dollars at some point.

ipv4 address market

Figure 1: List of 26 /8s – organization or company owned

We are seeing that 10 out of 26 entities have “sold” a portion of their company held /8.  These entities are shown in Figure 2 below.  As of May 9 2017, 1076 /16s have been sold from the aforementioned /8s.  This implies that approximately 16.2% of the 26 entity held /8s have been transferred.

ipv4 address market

Figure 2

Some of the transfers from these ranges, including other large transfers not from a /8, are shown in Figure 3 below.

ipv4 address market

Figure 3

There are notable points to be made:

  1. We know that approximately 16.2% of the 26 /8s have been transferred. This means that organizations are interested in monetization and that the trend should continue as prices rise. 
  2. Most of the transfers from the /8s have been large transfers of /13 to /10. Big block holders are not selling their /8s one /16 at a time! (this is leading to a shortage in the /16 market) 
  3. Can we predict how many of these /8s might still transfer? Those entities that have already sold some of their /8 range will probably continue to sell more over time.  While 42% of the 10 /8s have already been sold, perhaps another 40% will move in the next five years, totaling 1024 /16s moved from these entities. 
  4. What about the 16 /8 blocks from entities that have not yet sold a /16? We can speculate that some companies will never sell because they don’t need the money, and having the IPs is more of a strategic advantage than selling them.  Or, they might not sell because even though the IPs may be sparsely used, it would take more work than they are prepared to undertake to free the blocks for sale. These could be the reasons why Apple, HP, and IBM never sell. However, other /8s may be available.  We can scan the list and predict that at least six of these /8s will be partially sold in the near future.  If they sell half of their holdings, it would total another 768 /16s in the IPv4 transfer market. 
  5. Who is buying the large blocks? There are 14 different buyers shown in Figure 3  Two entities in particular, Microsoft and Amazon, have received large portions of the transferred IPs.  Microsoft has bought from 4 of the 10 sellers (CSC, DuPont, Xerox, DWP) and Amazon from 5 of the 10 (Merit, MIT, Xerox, DuPont, Merck). 
  6. Is there a market for the large blocks of the future? IPv6 is still years away from a critical mass and we continue to hear about the costs and headaches of its implementation.  As long as IPv4 is the “best” and cheapest solution, we will continue to see a market.  The question then becomes, “what is the expected price for these large blocks?”  We are already seeing $13 to $15 per IP for large holdings, most likely because they are so rare.  Is there a price point where buyers walk away?  Yes, of course, as we are seeing some companies refuse to pay the market price already.  Microsoft and Amazon have deep pockets, so it would be speculation to put a number on their maximum.

This analysis of the 26 single-owner /8s has shown that these large blocks are being transferred in large sub-allocations, and the /8s are not filling the /16 market.  Ten of the 26 have already done some selling, and we expect this trend to continue, to more than double the large block sales made so far.  The IPv4 Market has some legs still!

Sandra Brown, IPv4 Market Group

Engineer internet peering

First @LONAP 100GigE port connected

Akamai hook up with LONAP 100GigE port

Excited to tell you that Content Distribution Networks and LONAP member Akamai have connected at Equinix HEX with our first 100GigE port. This is a testament to the great work done by our engineering team Will, Rob and Tom.

If you aren’t in the business this might not mean that much to you. 100Gigabits per second of connectivity seems difficult to get your brain around. However if you consider that when streaming HD video from the internet you could be using several Mbits per second and that millions of people are also doing this all at the same time then the core of the internet needs to be able to handle a lot of traffic.

When it comes to shifting internet data around the bigger the pipe the better and 100GigE is the current state of production art. The project at LONAP is still only part way through. We are replacing our old Extreme switches with a brand new LAN using Arista.

This is a big investment for LONAP but one that has to be repeated every few years as internet traffic grows and capacity requirements increase. This time around we have been under some pressure from our content provider members to get the 100Gig ports installed. The timing on this occasion is good as the Euro2016 football tournament gets into full sway and folk start watching the matches on the internet. The 100Gig port adds instant capacity. We like to have plenty of headroom on our network at LOANP.

The member and port count at LONAP continues to grow up and to the right. It is a good place to be right now. We are very lucky to have a great community of members. If you haven’t yet registered but plan on coming to the UK and Ireland Peering Forum in Dublin next Monday I’d get your name down. See you there.

PS For what it’s worth I’ll be helping to reduce the pressure on the internet by watching the Wales v England game on the TV in the beer garden at the Strugglers pub in Lincoln. C’mon Wales.

More peering posts on

ecommerce Engineer internet ipv6

NANOG 66 is in San Diego by the sea @LONAP

NANOG 66 – bring your shorts

One of the downsides perhaps of being in the internet plumbing industry is that your Facebook timeline constantly fills up with people  off to conferences in exotic places. Even when they aren’t off to a meeting people are still off to exotic places as they spend their air miles. This week it’s NANOG 66  in San Diego.

San Diego is one of the nicest places you can choose to go to a conference. The other popular destination is Hawaii. I’ve done San Diego but not Hawaii. In fact I tend to avoid conferences that involve long haul travel these days because it’s hard enough submitting your body to a week of conference talks, corridor meetings and the follow on eating and drinking without throwing jet lag into the mix.

Out of curiosity I took a look at the NANOG Facebook group and the NANOG website. The first thing that hit me on Facebook was a comment that told me there were 1002 people signed up for the conference. That’s a lot of people. So many people that you have to figure out how to make the most of the fact that they are all there. The value in these meetings tends not to be in the actual conference material but in the people that attend.

This brings me to my second observation. The list of Platinum Sponsors, organisations that have paid $100,000 to sponsor the three events in the year, includes a business called Addrex. Addrex are an IP address broker. That’s a serious chunk of change they have invested in marketing by becoming a NANOG sponsor. It just goes to show how much money there must be in the IPv4 address game.

internet traffic growthI am more familiar with Sandra Brown and the IPv4 Market Group who very generously sponsored the LONAP dinner last month. LONAP usually sends a couple of people to the NANOG meetings because they are very good recruiting grounds for new members. Most of our big members have come on board as a result of relationships developed at such meetings.

If you are in NANOG this week do take the opportunity to look up Will Hargrave and Richard Irving who will be there representing us.

Business engineering internet

Cisco v Arista

Cisco Arista court case gets judgement

Cisco Arista court case gets judgement in favour of Cisco.  Quite an interesting spat going on in the big wide world of internet plumbing and routing at the moment. Cisco are suing Arista for patent infringement and have been given a judgement in their favour.

Now it seems to be the norm for big companies to go about suing each other these days: witness the long running Apple v Samsung saga, or Samsung v Apple – take your pick. This is no change to the status quo really. Many years ago when I was in the semiconductor business I once got a letter (yes letter) from AT&T or some similar long established telecoms giant saying that we were infringing a patent of theirs. We were using a CMOS process and they assumed that because of this we were using technology that they had patented.

They probably sent them out to every semiconductor manufacturer fishing for a response that they could grab hold of and drill deeper. I threw the letter in the bin and heard no more of it.

AT&T had a revenue generating department that specialised in doing this sort of thing – their patent portfolio was huge.

Nowadays the stakes are very high. Cisco are still market leaders (ref Gartner Magic Quadrant – Who’s Leading The Data Center Networking Market) but Arista are the fastest growing and together with Cisco hailed as leaders.

There are three reference points in respect of this court case:

  1. Cisco’s Mark Chandler (SVP, General Counsel and Secretary General Counsel) in a blog post on protecting innovation naturally takes the line that “copying and misappropriation are not a legitimate strategy”.
  2. Arista founder and CTO Kenneth Duda obviously has his own views here.His blog post entitled Protecting IP or Market Share?  is well worth a read.
  3. The third reference point, apart from the judgement itself is the online outcry from the internet engineering community. The feeling is that there is prior art that covers the meat of what Cisco are claiming as their own patented technology. There is also a sense that the patent authorities do not have sufficient expertise to vet a patent application and that we have to wait for expensive law suits to prove prior art.

Now there’s no way I’m going to get involved in this discussion (apart from the fact that I sort of already have here) other than to say that the only people who will do well out of this will be the lawyers – how much did that blog post cost Cisco? I doubt that it will make any difference to anything in the great scheme of things.

Note when we talk about data center market share we are talking about the core of the internet.

Engineer engineering internet

UKNOF33 – live action from the conference room floor

UKNOF33 is happening today at Bishopsgate deep in the heart of the City of London

UKNOF33 returns once more to Bishopsgate. It feels a bit odd for what are obviously great bunch of guys and gals, famed for their altruism and generous heartedness to be holding a conference deep in the heart of the financial centre of London – a place known for its single minded pursuit of the filthy lucre purely for the sake of it and (allegedly) at the expense of all moral consciousness. That isn’t to say your average network engineer isn’t interested in the green stuff but we do like to think that we perform a good public service as part of the deal.

Nothwithstanding the location, which due to the growth of the conference is one of the few places able to hold all the people wanting to come, UKNOF continues to be one ofthe most worthwhile meetings in the networking calendar.

These UKNOF posts, in line with other conference posts, aren’t necessarily going to cover the presentations verbatim. You can download the slides if that’s what interests you. No, in these posts you get whatever catches my eye. This might be corridor gossip, interesting (editor’s judgement is final as to what constitute interesting) snippets from the talks, or just photos of things that catch my eye.

Feel free to share, comment and generally participate, if you want to. Otherwise it’s good to be back 🙂

If yer interested check out our other UKNOF posts.

Engineer internet

RIPE71 social scenes

It isn’t all work you know – videos from the first night RIPE71 social

The RIPE71 social was a goodun. It’s always a bit of a risk using video recorded at such events because you never know what clarity of diction is going to be achieve, if you get my drift. On this occasion we were all very sensible and I think hte vids are ok to go:)

Engineer internet travel

RIPE71 – end to end reportingish

A RIPE71 story begins. The live blogging feature doesn’t seem to want to show embedded videos so these are pasted into the body of the blog

Engineer engineering internet

UKNOF32 Sheffield Day 2

UKNOF32 Sheffield Day 2

Business internet Net peering

Valeria Rossi defends the not for profit IX model

Valeria Rossi, general manager of MIX is passionate about not for profit IX model

I am in front of the typical “blank page” …

I read “Women in tech – a blog written by women, not a blog about women”, and I wonder if a woman would write about technology differently from a man. But this does not matter, this is not the subject.

In reality I have never much felt gender differences in my job, nor have I suffered from it. At the beginning of my career, I had the chance to work in the IP networks field within the academic world. There, despite “networks design” being predominantly a male activity, gender has never been an issue. I realise that it is not always the case, but either I was lucky or I have always behaved neutrally with respect to gender, avoiding to making it an issue.

I must admit, nevertheless, that things changed 15 years ago, when I started to manage MIX, initially as the technical director and later as its general manager. There I had to make double the effort to persuade a board, composed then and ever since entirely by men, that one specific strategy could be winning rather than an other, or that a particular chance had priority over others.

Nobody has ever challenged my technical choices, but often I had to make an extra effort to assert my credibility in business management and general overview. Do I believe that this has been due, at least partially, to the fact that I am a woman? Yes, I believe so, but now, even in this respect, fortunately or thanks to my skills or perhaps only to my strong determination, this belongs in the past.

I think of how many times I had to act with, and sometimes against the governing board, in order to develop MIX, company that started very quietly and kept with a low profile for several years. This as in a highly vertical Italian market where peering seemed both the keystone and a service competing with the transport and transit services of those offering the peering.

It took years before achieving the IX (Internet Exchange) model which is now recognised everywhere in Europe, open and without barriers, where anyone in possession of an AS is welcome … But effort is part of the game.

In this effort I was supported by my colleagues – who along the years have become friends – and co-founders of Euro-IX. Euro-IX is a successful example of open forum where we debate and coordinate efforts for the benefit of the whole Internet community.

This experience shared together, at the very beginning just with a few people taking the first steps towards the achievement of the IX model, later with a larger community representing every European country and many others in the world, has been for me and consequently for MIX itself a source improvement and growth. Doing it with my friends, was also a life gym.

Actually, those have been important years of learning, both for the people and for the market itself.

Perhaps MIX reached some goals more slowly than others.

Why such an effort?

Well, because in such a rapidly evolving world we have faithfully adhered to the successful European models that espouse openness of the market – firstly in Italy but strongly linked to that of our foreign friends.

Amongst all this only one thing is really written in the stone:

never act in direct competition with our members’ business,

operate neutrally  and

never considering a peering service as a money source in itself.

Every internal battle, every ‘lost’ opportunity, everything has been justified by the strong belief that we had to maintain the super-parties role of IXes and in particular of MIX, without discrediting it by giving in to market dynamics which we do not believe is compatible with the role of an Internet Exchange.

IXs are born within the ecosystem of Internet as neutral substrate, functional to its development. IXs can optimise Internet paths, while enabling the freedom and autonomy of traffic routing, favouring openness against closure, protecting the market from monopolies, and balancing the market logic of transports.

Therefore I do believe that an IX has a big responsibility and must be an example of neutrality. The stability and growth of an IX must guarantee this type of ecosystem.

Rethinking to the Euro-IX experience, I’m now certain that in the domain of IXs, the concept of ensemble is the keystone to success:

On the one side every IX is born to operate primarily inside its country of origin – where it knows the actors, the market dynamics, the political-economical implications, where it knows where it can ‘touch’ the ecosystem to improve it

On the other hand, the ensemble of  IXs can act at a global level, intervening on the dynamics of the overall Internet, which by construction is a whole and only entity.

Unfortunately though, the millstone of the business-oriented is slowly but more and more clearly encroaching on our micro-world, where nowadays the strategy of the ‘IP routes trawling’ seems to prevail over a more global stability and growth.

I do not believe this is the right way ahead, I believe that attempts to predominating can only bring confusion in favour of old market logics.

But when things are changing and moving, there’s more fervour, passion, need to exchange new ideas and possibly to battle too. New efforts? Yes, but this is the amusing part of my job.

Tons of peering content on this blog – see here

Other posts in our women in tech week include:

Geeks do drink prosecco
Network filter bypass solutions
Network Automation

Engineer engineering internet

Life in the network automated future

Network automation – yea baby

A long time ago, in Operations the world was very fragmented – web admins, sysadmins, database administrators.  Now most people at good companies are generalists. Tools allow you to administrate all of the different programs in the same way.  Specialists still exist, but for most day to day operations, specialists are unnecessary.

On the other side, traditional network engineers are in a world all on their own.  Networking companies try to push this mindset, through interfaces and designs that de-emphasize interoperability and certification tracks which emphasize knowledge in single-vendor environments.  Once someone has spent years and thousands of dollars on studying for their CCIE, there is a huge barrier to changing technologies and mindsets.  The emphasis on certifications is just another way to reinforce the idea that network engineers are special and need to be held to a different standard.

We must learn from the Operations DevOps world.  DevOps encourages the use of tools, quick turnover cycles, and intercommunication between teams in order to lower errors while deploying and encourage deployment. Tools allow developers and other technical colleagues to self-service their needs.

This new mindset is required to scale systems up to their current large state.  Even medium sized companies may need to administer huge numbers of systems due to VMs and containerizing services in for security and helping to up the scale.  Network engineers cannot be a single chokepoint in this environment.  As well, network engineers should not have to spend the majority of their day assigning ports and vlans manually.

In the past few years, automation tools and network operating systems have finally become interoperable.  Puppet Labs has led the charge with pushing custom agents for traditional network OS’es (like IOS and Junos), as well as partnering with newer operating systems that can run native agents (like EOS or Cumulus Linux).

Without tools, network changes are usually made manually at the command line. Even cut and pasting a known good configuration can incur errors… so many times in my life I’ve pasted a large configuration, only to have the buffers fill up and part of my configuration left out.  Using network automation tools to commit changes to a central repository can ensure that manual errors are a thing of the past.  Code reviews allow a second layer of protection and automated tests can prevent minor typos from bringing down your network.  Automated configuration pushes ensure that no switch will be forgotten when pushing the latest firewall rule.

Long live the automated future!

Leslie Carr works for Cumulus Networks

Other posts in our women in tech week include:

Geeks do drink prosecco
Network filter bypass solutions

Engineer engineering internet

Who sez geeks don’t do prosecco?

Geeks and prosecco do mix!

I’ve been working within the networking industry since 2007. This isn’t the longest time compared to some of you die-hard industry types, but with my first UKNOF in 2009 I was thrust straight into the fabulous world of ISPs, networking and geeks.

It was an odd industry to join as a young 20-something with a background in midwifery. I had jumped from a world of mums, babies, late-night shifts and a female-dominated workplace to a world of switches, routers, late-night maintenance and more males than I’d previously realised existed.

The strange thing is how similar these two worlds actually turned out to be. It’s true that being surrounded by geeky men (and I mean this in the most complimentary sense possible) has introduced me to characters I’d never have encountered in any other walk of life. In six years, I’ve met some truly strange and fabulous people, and there are even those I’ve met for the first time on multiple occasions (more on this later). It’s also true that I found being the only woman present at a several-hundred-strong conference can be intimidating. But the story I want to tell isn’t one of sexism: it’s of a community of geeks that includes both genders and is becoming more welcoming all the time.

When I first made the shift to the geek-world, there were times when my gender made things harder. Some of my male colleagues couldn’t seem to speak to me or even look me in the eye; some thought I must be a sales person; and others assumed I knew nothing about the industry. Initially, of course, those few were right, but not because of my gender. I lacked experience, and the vast majority of the people I met were very kind about that. They helped me to learn. And in some cases, I suspect that being female made it easier for me. I was such a rare commodity that they easily tolerated my presence and my questions: even the silly ones. And the more enlightened amongst them realised that the silliest questions are sometimes exactly the right ones because they come from a place without assumptions based on specific experience.

Over time my knowledge grew and my face became familiar. For me, the names around me got faces or sometimes the faces got names and a lot of the companies became suppliers or customers (occasionally both). More recently, turning up to events is about greeting old friends but that didn’t happen overnight. It was a gradual process that happened through the industry’s many events.

Many of you will be familiar with the set-up at UKNOF, LINX, LONAP and various smaller geek meets, but those who have never attended might appreciate a brief description. These are not standard sales events or even networking events where your whole purpose is to meet people who might get you the next step up the corporate ladder.  Instead, these events are about the free exchange of ideas; a place to meet up with the real brains behind the internet in the UK. You are uniquely able to hear technical talks about the new ideas that companies are implementing, hear predictions about where things could be heading and encourage strong relationships between companies working together to push the industry forward.

The real work, however, gets started when the day finishes and everyone heads off to the pub. It’s a chance to chat to presenters about their chosen subject and offer a two-way dialogue. The first step, of course, is to congratulate them on a great talk with the gift of beer, and from that beginning some of the most inspirational ideas can be generated. Increasingly, for me, it’s a chance to catch up with friends from conferences past that I had not seen for months or years, and to find out all the great (or sometimes not-so-great) things they have been working on.

Liz Fletcher at LINX

Of course, there are also always going to be those awkward meet-ups where I am re-introduced to someone who has no memory of me whatsoever. I can think of at least two guys that I have met and talked to on two or three occasions before they had any clue who I was. Some of them I suspect remembered little because eye-contact was actually beyond them, and it’s quite hard to put a face to a face when you’ve never seen it. Others perhaps have so much going on inside their heads that the memory had been pushed out to make room for some router config that was way more important. Either way, it can be disheartening when someone doesn’t just forget your name: they forget that a meeting has happened at all.

But the message to take away from this is that it isn’t just about gender or lack of respect. Geeks of all kinds can be prone to finding social situations challenging, and by perseverance, I became a known and respected member of these circles.

As my involvement in the industry developed, so did my love for new pursuits. I think the key driver for being part of this field is a thirst for knowledge and a keen interesting in trying something new. I’m fascinated by new technology but have you ever noticed how an interest in the new and old go hand in hand? My interests started to broaden and I soon realised that there was fun to be had with these geeks. I’m not ashamed to say that I love steam, old buildings, grand Victorian engineering and board games (yes, even the really geeky board games). The more pumping-stations and heritage railways I visited, the more I realised how fascinating these places were. Working in a highly technical field meant that I appreciated the engineering more and more.


Then in 2013 I had been invited out to London for a Friday night gathering and found myself at a loose end on the Saturday. So I did what any single young female would do when she was on her own in London: I went to my favourite steam museum. I was lucky enough to have a suitably geeky friend willing to accompany me and to run around after me as I excitedly gave him a tour. At that point there was no doubt about it: I was a true geek. I had tried to hide it for the whole of my life but my colours were out.

Now I’m proud to admit that I’m a geek who has probably been to more heritage railways than most train enthusiasts. This Valentine’s Day, I took my boyfriend to the same museum. Although I sold it as a treat for him, I can assure you that there was no difference in the enjoyment we got out of it.

Six years into my career-change, I’ve found that respect often comes from being like-minded. People like those people who are similar to them, and I have embraced those geek tendencies. On top of that, I don’t mind getting my hands dirty and that can often go a long way in helping a project move forwards. I’ve slept on data-centre floors, bruised my arms shifting equipment, racked servers and even accidentally knocked out the occasional very important cable (which I’ve come to realise is a rite of passage). I can remember, clearly, a ‘quick trip to the DC’ at the end of a big project where I realised that the vital fibre link between the racks hadn’t been run by our contractors. Without hesitation I spent 12hrs in the DC single-handedly running bundles of fibre. I often wonder how many times I climbed up and down the ladder, but it was too many times to count. Somehow I managed to get the project finished about thirty minutes before the customer arrived on site, and it was worth a gruelling stint to achieve that.

So this post was ostensibly about sexism in the industry. I can tell you a great story about everyday sexism in B&Q if you like, something so shocking that I really didn’t know what to say to the guy. If you are interested in knowing more just comment below and I will tell the story. But beyond those initial awkward encounters and the occasional assumption that I was just in sales, I couldn’t tell you a single industry-related tale. You might want to read about how I battle with male chauvinism every day as part of my job but I can’t tell you that. I work in a male-dominated industry every day and I enjoy every minute of it. I’ve been in charge of multi-million pound network roll outs and I’ve presented every week to a boardroom full of men. I’ve been in charge of teams of network engineers, software developers, cabling engineers, support desk engineers and systems engineers, but not once felt belittled or patronised.

How this has happened I can’t say for sure. I would love to put it down to the way I work. I’m honest when I don’t know something, I’m firm if disagree with a decision, I value peoples’ opinions and I’m willing to learn. I join in with office banter, enjoy the same pursuits as the guys, work hard and avoid at all costs using my gender to influence others.

But I think that in truth it’s about the industry itself being ready to accept women as much as anything else. Over the years I’ve seen big changes. I’m no longer the only female at conferences. There are a whole bunch of us now and as far as I can tell the others are just as passionate and dedicated as I am. It’s great to have some female company to even things up a bit but we need to do more to encourage women to get passionate about networking.

Over the last six years I have realised just how rewarding working in our industry as a women can be. There are some great female role-models so take every opportunity to talk to them, learn from them and emulate them in your own way. They have worked hard to get where they are today.

In short, I love the ISP industry. Wherever life takes me and whenever I wander off I always come back with a passion even deeper for my love of the people, the tech and the vibrancy of an industry that is constantly going from strength to strength. It is driven by a great bunch of people who should be proud of all they have achieved.

I was always a closet geek and I just needed some help to realise it.

Liz Fletcher is a trained Midwife; cable monkey; Project Manager; prolific prosecco drinker; part-time steam train driver; and occasional singer. As of 3/8/2015 she is looking for a new challenge.

Other Women in Tech week posts include:

How to bypass an ISPs filter

End User internet security surveillance & privacy

Anderson Report on Terrorism Legislation

Anderson Report on Terrorism Legislation

The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC, yesterday published his report into investigatory powers. The Anderson report on terrorism legislation is almost 400 pages long and includes 124 recommendations so you need some stamina to plough through it.

Following the report’s publication Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, gave a statement (watch it here) to the House of Commons. She set out a timetable and provided some general comments:

A draft bill (Snooper’s Charter revisited) will be published in the Autumn and subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee. A Bill will then be published early in the New Year with a view to passing a final act before the DRIPA sunset clause come into effects at the end of 2016.

While generally accepting Anderson’s recommendations, May seemed to question the viability of his proposals to require judicial authorisations for warrants, highlighting the need for balancing the responsibilities of the Judiciary and Executive.

In addition to the draft bill, Government will look at a reform of the mutual legal assistance framework (in response to the Sheinwald Report which has not yet been published).

The Anderson Report

Overall approach by David Anderson is as follows:
‘A clear, coherent and accessible scheme, adapted to the world of internet-based communications and encryption, in which:

a. public authorities have limited powers, but are not shut out from places where they need access to keep the public safe;

b. procedures are streamlined, notably in relation to warrants and the authorisation of local authority requests for communications data;

c. safeguards are enhanced, notably by:

i. the authorisation of warrants by senior judges;

ii. additional protections relating to the collection and use of communications by the security and intelligence agencies in bulk;

iii. greater supervision of the collection of communications data, including judicial authorisation where privileged and confidential material is in issue or novel and contentious requests are made;

iv. improved supervision of the use of communications data, including in conjunction with other datasets and open-source intelligence; and

v. a new, powerful, visible and accountable intelligence and surveillance auditor and regulator.’

This forthcoming bill is going to require very careful scrutiny and it will be interesting to see how many of Anderson’s recommendations are implemented. Governments have a habit of listening to these things only when it suits them. Theresa May is already suggesting that she wants the power herself that Anderson is saying should be given to Judges. It’s exactly this situation that we want to avoid.

In principle I don’t think any sane person can object to a government wanting to make it easier for themselves to catch more crooks. However we don’t necessarily need to give them authority to monitor every one of us. Why can’t they stick to just monitoring suspected criminals?

Thanks to the ITSPA secretariat for some of the inputs to this post.

Other Snooper’s Charter posts (lots of them) here.

Engineer fun stuff internet Net

What happened to the router?

Broken router

What happened to this router. Tune in to this blog next week to find out.

Broken router – no use to man nor dog. Well actually the dog had a good play with it.

Engineer engineering internet peering


I have to tell you about RIPE70.

RIPE70 was held in the Okura hotel in Amsterdam. Very nice hotel. Nice pool, sauna, bars etc etc. Amsterdam was very nice too. Great restaurants, picturesque streets and canals. Only downsides were the lethal nature of the roads and the beer. Re the roads you have to look out for cars, cyclists and trams. All on different roadways. I made it back alive. As far as beer goes all I can say is Heiniken. Nuff said.

So far so good. The purpose of this post though is not to tell you what a great time I had. 5* hotel, beer, cocktails, great food etc. It is to reinforce the value of attending such meetings.

Even if you don’t go to the talks, and I did go to a few, the real value is in the corridor chats. At RIPE, just as at most internet conferences, as long as you don’t spout rubbish, you can expect to be sitting down for a coffee with some real heavy hitters in the networking game. Or a beer. Or food.

This industry must be amongst the most egalitarian going. The opportunity to make useful contacts is very real in attending these conferences. You do have to understand how to play the game though.

I remember at the last LINX meeting there were a couple of sales guys stood wearing suits talking to themselves. That’s because they didn’t get it. If the sales people had turned up in jeans, or shorts and t-shirts it would have been a different story.

LONAP attends these meetings because a big proportion of our membership sends engineers to them. It’s a great place for sorting out ongoing issues (planning bandwidth upgrades for example) and meeting new prospects.

It isn’t unusual to have over 50 conversations during a RIPE meeting.  Conversations that might normally be categorised as sales or customer support touch-points. You try having that many useful conversations during a normal business week

They don’t have to be sales conversations. Could be pure engineering idea swapping.

Anyway if you’ve never been you need to sell it to the boss. See ya.

PS check out a load of posts from RIPE69 here.

PPS just got some meeting stats off RIPE:

– 678 attendees checked in
– 166 first-time attendees
– Attendees from 58 countries
– 143 presentations
– 2,691 ratings for presentations submitted

Engineer internet peering

Lonap traffic contines to grow apace

Internet traffic growth at Lonap

The chart in the featured image is the yearly 1 day average internet traffic growth at Lonap.

What you see is effectively a reflection of how the internet is growing. The Lonap traffic includes organic growth plus the addition of new members but the details needn’t concern us really – it’s all up and to the right. It’s pretty much the same story in every IXP (except IXP Cardiff but more on that anon). Also peak traffic on the exchange is quite a bit higher than the numbers shown.

internet traffic growthIn 19 months the traffic has almost quadrupled. It’s also interesting to note the drop off at holiday times – notably Christmas and the school summer holidays .

Lonap, in case you didn’t know is an Internet Exchange Point (IXP) and is one of the two main players in London. London in turn is one of the key points of presence on the internet, Amsterdam and Frankfurt being the others in Europe.

It makes sense for networks to employ peering via an internet exchange for both cost and performance reasons. It also makes sense to use multiple IXPs. Only yesterday the Amsterdam based exchange AMS-IX had an outage. It was apparently human error on the part of a member connecting to the exchange.

This type of issue could happen to anyone, despite lots of efforts to minimise the likelihood of a problem. The point is that when an unplanned outage like this happens networks need a back up solution. Whilst IP transit does the job it would be far better to have a suitable IXP alternative.

These alternatives aren’t always available at a given location but where they are then you should consider using one.

In the meantime internet traffic growth is making this industry an exciting place to be. Check out our other internet peering posts here.

Business internet social networking webrtc Defragmenting today’s communications Comms Federation

In his week as guest curator Rob Pickering of ipcortex now has a post by Amandine Le Pape who discusses WebRTC federation.

I’ve held a view for a long time that the world would be a better place if there were a widely used standard for messaging federation, so that I could for example have one universal public chat address on my business card just like I have a phone number and e-mail address. I know quite a few folks disagree with this, and think that it is a “feature” rather than a bug that they have to use a myriad of apps each with their own private chat space and no interoperability, but I think this is a big usability headache.

Like most things, there is an Internet standard for messaging interop: XMPP, but it doesn’t have the wide adoption of other standards like SMTP for e-mail, or HTTP for the web. In fact it suffered a bit of a body blow when Google dropped support for messaging interop via XMPP from its front line messaging products a couple of years ago – I wrote about this at the time. Whilst XMPP is a well documented protocol, it is over complex with many extensions to do fairly basic operations. A new initiative has emerged from the folks at Matrix which aims to produce a de-facto standard protocol for messaging interoperability – I wish them well and suspect that this is probably our last chance to sort this out. Here is what Amandine Le Pape from Matrix has to say…

Take a look at your smartphone. Chances are, among the various icons on the screen, there are quite a few messaging apps and apps with a messaging capability. Whether text, chat, calling or via video, every week brings a new app to download. We use all these different applications daily – LinkedIn for colleagues, Facebook for family, WhatsApp for the sports club, Viber for some international contacts, Skype for video and that is without even touching messages sent from within other apps.

The only point where these apps and the profiles on them converge, is on your phone. We then have to juggle what app connects me to what person, or holds the information you need. is a new open source and non-profit project aiming to fix the problem of fragmented IP-communications between devices, people and services with a very pragmatic and novel approach. Matrix defines a persistent data layer for the Web, with open federation, strong cryptographic guarantees, eventual consistency and push semantics. Like the Web, Matrix can be used for many purposes, from Instant Messaging to IoT, via VoIP and WebRTC. With it the “missing link” of interoperable calling between WebRTC silos becomes interoperable and as simple as a single HTTP PUT to invite the callee, and a single HTTP PUT for them to answer. Meanwhile, OTT messaging apps can finally federate by synchronizing their conversations into Matrix; letting users own their history and select their preferred app and service.

As an open source project, any developer can use Matrix (it’s all on Github) to easily create and host their own feature-rich real-time communication apps that openly interoperate with one another, or add such features to an existing service whilst building on the Matrix community of users. Existing communication services can also easily join in and integrate with the Matrix ecosystem, extending their reach while participating in this collaborative effort to break down the walls between communication silos.

Matrix is an open project and will stay so because for Matrix to achieve its mission of making all communications services interoperable we believe it needs to be truly open; giving people access to take all the code we produce to use and build on top of it. We need the trust and support of those who want to use Matrix in their own applications and startups and want to see an end to all walled garden applications and closed silos.

We firmly believe in doing what is right for the consumer and the internet user. As people begin to use interoperable communications tools, service providers will have to compete on the quality of their service, security and features rather than relying on locking people into their walled garden. Can you imagine using a phone network that only allowed you to call people on the same network? We genuinely hope that one day, Facebook, Whatsapp, BBM etc will all integrate with Matrix voluntarily.

Once consumers realise they can choose to use their favourite app, from their trusted app provider, and still be able to communicate with friends using competing apps and services, they will likely demand integration and interoperability.
Matrix is here to help foster innovation throughout the Internet. We are making communications safer, more ubiquitous and innovative. Generic messaging and data synchronization across the web will never be quite the same again. The project may well provide the disruption needed to change how real-time data is shared on the Internet, and usher in a new age of services which by default collaborate rather than compete. There is no doubt that a revolution of sorts has begun and Matrix intends to fan the flames.

As a company or an individual, whether you believe that today’s communications are fragmenting and need to change or not, check out the website or follow us on Twitter @Matrixdotorg. We also recently launched our ‘Matrix Console’ app which is free to download from the Google Play or Apple App Store.

Amandine Le Pape is the Co-founder and Business lead for

Previous posts from the ipcortex WebRTC week:

WebRTC – where are the real world applications?
Welcome to ipcortex WebRTC week on

Check out all WebRTC post on here.

Engineer engineering internet

#UKNOF31 internet industry live blogging from the heart of the Manchester

UKNOF31 from Manchester

Welcome to Manchester and UKNOF31. This is the thrice yearly gathering of the networking industry in the UK. Each meeting seems to be bigger and better than the last and today as people converge on the Manchester Central conference centre I have to tell you it’s shorts weather. No incriminating photos though.

You can check out the agenda here and the live blog starts below. The featured pic btw is the kitchen at Akbars where we had the pre UKNOF curry.

Engineer internet peering

Solar eclipse drives dip in UK internet traffic @lonap

internet traffic dip during eclipseInternet traffic dip during eclipse – unusual behaviour for a big news event

We saw an unusual internet traffic dip in traffic across the LONAP network this morning as presumably people downed their devices and went outside to watch the solar eclipse.

I only found out the eclipse was happening yesterday as the papers started to publish guides on how to watch it without looking directly into the sun.

The chart thumbnail on the left shows the traffic building normally for the day. Then as the scheduled time for the event draws nearer you can see the upward curve stops abruptly and then drops down again.

These solar eclipses are, we are told very rare events. The internet traffic pattern that resulted is also rare:)

I was having a late breakfast in London at the time of the eclipse. Between mouthfulls I kept popping outside to see if there was any sign of it. Not a single ray! In fact the sun was nowhere to be seen in London. V disappointing.

LONAP is a London based Internet Exchange Point and I have to say that I am privileged to be on their board. You can check out other peering posts here. As far as I can recall there are no other eclipse related posts:)

internet traffic dip during eclipse – exciting though the eclipse was a disappointment.

End User internet online safety Regs security surveillance & privacy

Julian Huppert MP proposes that the next government implements an online rights framework of principles

Online rights framework will help safeguard privacy

The internet is increasingly key to our daily lives and a crucial part of public policy making with ramifications across all areas. However, too often what we get from politicians is poorly thought through kneejerkery. I’ve seen this myself, on far too many occasions.

Just to pick up a few examples, when we were re-writing the Defamation Bill, there was a proposal being pushed that ISPs should be required to filter out any defamatory content on their network – quite a tall order.

David Cameron has been particularly bad – you may remember his suggestion at the time of the riots that he should be able to turn off social media to avoid panic. It took a lot of work to stop that and make it something that was ‘not even considered’. More recently, he’s been insisting that we should ban any messaging system that cannot be decrypted by GCHQ, completely failing to understand the essential link between encryption and cyber-security.

But this problem strikes the opposition too. There have been some really alarming comments about filtering out legal material online that completely miss the point of what is technically possible or desirable. And of course there are people in each party who do actually get it, although not all of us get to have the necessary influence over our front benches to achieve sensible outcomes.

My party has taken these issues seriously, and there are several things we hope to achieve in this area. One of these is stable sensible regulation – something that almost shouldn’t need to be said. Brilliant new ideas can easily be killed off if regulation is tweaked unexpectedly and long term investment will drop off if there is a risk of irrational rule changes. We as politicians should set a framework of principles, which should then be relatively stable. We should call on technical experts for help and have  discussions with the community and businesses. We can then setting the detailed online rights rules in a rational way. That has to be the best way forward.

I’ve been particularly working to develop a Digital Bill of Rights, setting a basic framework for what people should expect online when it comes to issues like privacy, net neutrality and more. This has become especially important since the Snowden revelations. All of us want security, and all of us want privacy.  How do we try to achieve both of those goals? When should the police or security services be allowed to collect information on us, and for what purposes?

Typically, these issues have been dealt with largely secretively and reluctantly, and with a focus on specific data types. For example, strong controls were introduced on DNA data in the Protection of Freedoms Act, but the Police just sidestepped them when storing biometric information, without even attempting to learn the principles from DNA data.

So those are my two key points – stable and sensible regulation, and a clear principle framework for our online rights. If I’m re-elected I’ll fight for those but it would be great to have more colleagues to help with that.

If you want to help me achieve this vision, please consider helping me out – has the details.

Julian Huppert is Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge. He has a scientific background and is one of a very small minority of our MPs who can grasp issues relating to internet technology.

Although one or two more might creep in that pretty much concludes the week’s posts on advice to the next government. Other political week posts on are linked to below:

James Firth on why government should stop looking to big corporates for tech innovation
Gus Hosein on Data Protection Reform and Surveillance
The Julian Huppert crowd funding campaign here
Paul Bernal suggests government should hire advisers who know what they are doing
Domhnall Dods on Electronic Communications Code reform
James Blessing Says “No matter who you vote for…
Peter Farmer on Ofcom really isn’t an all powerful deity
Dr Monica Horten on Why the Magna Carta applies to technology policy

See all our regulatory posts here.

Business Engineer internet peering

Internet bandwidth trend continues to new peaks almost daily @lonap

Internet bandwidth trend – usage continues to grow

The title of this post might encourage the odd wise crack. Bear s&*%s in woods etc. Of course internet bandwidth use is growing. The point is though that in the past we have occasionally seen big spikes in bandwidth that have subsequently driven average usage and growth. The Olympic games, football world cup and general elections spring particularly to mind.

What we’re seeing now is different. We now have an almost daily general trend upwards rather than a big spike that breaks new records followed by a bit of up and down on the graph. There doesn’t seem to be any one thing driving it. It’s all general internet use.

LONAP is an internet exchange point (IXP) where networks connect with each other to share traffic (called peering). It’s not just general growth in internet traffic that drives the LONAP graphs up and to the right. There is also a realisation that peering is a far better means of accessing the internet than the alternative of commercial transit. Peering at an IXP is not just cheaper. It’s also better quality. Faster. Fewer hops.

There are a number of highly publicised business cases for use of Peering in IP connectivity in the wider commercial internet:

  • Amazon quote a 1% increase in revenue for every 100ms improvement in page load time
  • Yahoo increased traffic by 9% for every 400ms of improvement
  • Google – “slowing down the search results page by 100 – 400 ms has a measurable impact on the number of searches per user of -0.2% to -0.6%”

Using Peering helps to lower latency and underwrites these business drivers. Content providers also like the better user experience that fast page loads bring and they are increasingly moving to join internet exchanges such as LONAP.

From what I can see all IXPs are growing. In London we have two: LINX and LONAP. Both are globally significant. In a world where infrastructure resilience is important operators are increasingly adding to the resilience of their own networks by peering at both London exchanges. London is said to have more AS number (individual autonomous networks or Autonomous Systems) POPs than any other city.  The presence of two major exchanges may be both a reflection of this and a reason why.

These drivers point to a growth in IXP traffic that exceeds that of the general internet. The chart in the featured image above shows the trend at LONAP over the past 12 months. It shows a pretty dramatic doubling of bandwidth usage over the year. This other chart (inset) shows the growth over the last few days. Ignoring weekends you can see a daily trend.


Looking back five years LONAP has been highly successful in growing its business. 5 year membership has grown from 90 to 145 organisations. Bandwidth usage has rocketed from 10Gbps to 100Gbps (151 ports to 256 connected ports) and the turnover has seen a steady growth from £190k to £409k. It must be remembered that as a not for profit organisation the objective is not to grow sales revenues but to hand as much as the profits back to members. The increase in membership numbers and bandwidth is seen as the real added value.

This year we are seeing significant momentum in both new membership applications and bandwidth growth. My gut feel is that when it comes to the end of 2015 we will be looking back at an even greater level of growth. With the internet bandwidth trend only going one way it’s an exciting time to be around. 

Check out other LONAP posts here (I’m on the board of directors so there are a few). General peering posts here and LONAP themselves here.

broadband Engineer engineering internet

Bufferbloat and Virgin Media

Virgin Media Buffering – Bufferbloat spat

Bufferbloat, as most of you will know is the situation in a packet switched network where the packet buffers are so large1 they cause high latency and jitter. Bufferbloat can also reduce the network throughput. This post is all about a guy called Dave Taht and his encounter with Virgin Media buffering issues.

On the face of it the Virgin Media headline speeds are great and one often sees tweets with pictures of speed tests showing near to spec speed results. Virgin’s DOCSIS cable modem tech is far better at meeting theoretical specs than is its various competing DSL technologies. I do however occasionally hear anecdotally about Virgin Media buffering problems with their broadband connections.

This blog post describing the Virgin Media buffering problem due to bufferbloat is a bit of an eye opener.

Dave Taht knows what he is talking about when it comes to network performance and pitched in on a Virgin Media forum to complain about why they weren’t doing anything about their buffering problem. Dave ascribed this Virgin Media buffering problem to bufferbloat. Dave is an expert on bufferbloat – check out his website.

In the forum post Dave offered advice on what to do to sort the buffering problem – there are a number of well established fixes.

Virgin not only deleted his post but blacklisted his IP address. This is quite counter productive. It seems to me it would have made much more sense to fix the issue than throw their toys out of the pram. The former course would have generated lots of good PR. The latter the opposite. Witness my own particular post.

The decision to delete Dave’s post was probably take by a low level supervisory person. If a member of the senior management team had been involved one would like to think they would have taken a different approach. It doesn’t matter now. It is interesting to understand that these consumer service businesses are all played out a 60 thousand feet. It’s a game of throwing enough money at specific macro level functions of the business – usually marketing.

Spending a lot on advertising how great you are goes a long way towards making a sale. Most people are sufficiently disinterested in the detail of how their broadband works to note buffering as an issue. It’s only when something gets really bad that people up sticks and go elsewhere.

I don’t know where buffering is at in the Virgin Media list of priorities – something quite possibly driven by the marketing department. It is a shame that they don’t seem to be wanting to fix it though.

1 The fertile imagination will now see a packet buffer large enough to store a whole movie – you will never get to see it:)

Footnote from Dave Taht this evening: (I take no credit for the result 🙂

Thank you. I got my access restored this morning and updated my blog
post, and will put out more information later today on the mailing
lists I spammed later today – BUT! I have no problem continuing
holding the entire industy’s feet to fire for a while, so I don’t
suggest changing your piece on that front.

However, it would benefit from the addition of an embedded link to
this talk at uknof – which is the shortest talk I gave EVER on this
issue, and thoroughly describes the revolution we could make,
together, if we work at it:

(I don’t remember how to embed videos in html anymore!)

… after which I’d had such hope from the follow-on meeting at virgin
as to walk out walking on air. 2 years ago. 🙁

I certainly would like all ISPs to do a little testing of openwrt +
sqm-scripts with fq_codel (barrier breaker has all the fixes that work
on cablemodems, and has a nice gui and is stable. Chaos calmer has all
the DSL fixes, but is not quite stable and takes some work to use –
but it works on currently shipped things like the wndr4300. )

and publish appropriate settings. It is hard for users to get the
measurements right.

All the home router products that just shipped, got their shaping
algorithms terribly, terribly, wrong and missed DSL and PPPOe
compensation entirely. Sigh.

Engineer engineering internet

Live blogging from UKNOF30

It’s hotting up here at UKNOF30 in Bishopsgate. We are deep the heart of the City of London and the place smells of money. Witness the scene that meets you as you walk into the local Tesco express: a large display of champagne – see the featured image. Times are clearly not hard around here.

Anyway I’m going to serve you with the occasional ad hoc snippet live from the meeting. We’ve had the intros from Keith and now it’s Tim Rossiter from Sky talking about their new core network.

Bad Stuff Business ecommerce Engineer internet online safety Regs security surveillance & privacy

A quick guide to problems that will arise if we implement further internet surveillance measures

Snoopers Charter revisited

The aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo murders has lead to goverment and opposition calling for more internet surveillance. Here are a few points for your consideration.

  1. Storing this data will inevitably result in it being hacked, left on a train/taxi on a laptop/memory stick and details of a government minister affair with another MP being made public. Example here (29 Jan 2015)
  2. The overhead associated with having to gather and store the data in a secure way will be proportionally huge compared to the size of the business and to the number of customers for smaller ISPs. This will result in the government deciding not to force these businesses to store the information and settle just for the biggest 7 ISPs aka the Digital Economy Act. The consequence will be that potential terrorists will just use these smaller ISPs for their internet services leaving a big hole in the “surveillance net”
  3. The resources required to make this happen will be huge. The French government already knew about the Charlie Hebdo killers. They just lacked the feet on the street to keep tabs on them. Diverting staff to managing the data gathering project will mean even fewer feet on the street or divert cash from adding more feet.
  4. The technical challenges with managing sender and receiver data for email clients is not small due to the hundreds of different clients out there with non standard formats.
  5. Most email is in any case encrypted these days and is run on platforms that are not necessarily owned by UK businesses. The difficulties associated with extracting these data will not be small (if not impossible). Ditto social media platforms.
  6. Forcing these platforms to provide a back door into the encrypted data (assuming it will be doable) will erode trust in areas of the economy that also rely on such encryption such as banking and ecommerce.
  7. Businesses will move away from the UK. It will be the start of the rot and leave us with a reputation akin to China et all when it comes to “surveillance society”.
  8. Terrorists will move deeper into darknets and continue to kill innocent people.
  9. On balance I’d spend the money on more feet on the street.

The rush to call for the snooper’s charter to be implemented would result in a bad law that will not have had adequate scrutiny. My wife and one of the kids were in the audience during last night’s BBC Question Time filmed in Lincoln’s Drill Hall. I watched despite it being well after my bedtime.

None of the panellists or the audience really had a grasp on the issues which reflects its highly complex nature. It’s very easy for MPs to support this type of legislation. Most right minded people will agree that it’s a good thing to stop terrorism. It’s just that they don’t understand the implications.

Check out other snoopers charter type posts here.

Engineer food and drink fun stuff internet

#trefbash2014 – the official photos

Last Thursday night the UK internet industry got together in London for trefbash2014, the 5th Annual trefbash. This one was better than ever with Radio2’s Alex Lester putting in a personal appearance and the Adforesight photo booth being a real hit (see live picture gallery).

I’m sure there is lots more to be said but for the now I’ll just leave you with the output of the official photographer. Note the colours. Most people really entered into the spirit of the beach party theme and the only exceptions were where the shirt hadn’t been delivered in time or people had afternoon business meetings to attend

Business internet

Plusnet website down

Plusnet website down – not great for an ISP

Saw on Twitter that the website is down. Somewhat of a faux pas for an ISP. We’ve probably all suffered from such situations but it is usually extremely embarrassing for the team responsible.

I daresay we will find out what happened in due course. This is a fairly major event because one assumes that will have a high availability platform for their site – load balancers, multple ip addresses and servers etc etc. All the usual good stuff. They will also have multiple DNS and multiple connections into the platform.

What it says is that nothing can be guaranteed to have 100% uptime. In many industries these days downtime of such a service will be measured in lost cash. The likes of Amazon, eBay etc.

The industry traditionally most sensitive to such scenarios is finance. I recall years ago a pal telling me he’d been to a data centre in the USA where a major bank had a cage. Inside the cage sat three engineers playing cards. They were there in case there was a network problem. Expensive but just part of the cost of insurance.

This isn’t practical for most businesses so they have to rely on a good partner. I don’t think do any hosting but this would probably harm that side of their business if they have one.

Having been in the situation of running a network which also had data centre resources  I can tell tell you that the only way to ensure a good night sleep is to invest in resources. Qualified staff and quality network design and equipment.

Plusnet will certainly have done this and still have a problem. Hey.

All I can say is that with the plusnet website down the alarm bells will have been ringing at the ISP and a team of guys will be rushing around like blue arsed flies looking to see what is wrong. The best way to get it sorted is to leave them to it.


RIPE69 wrap up – Karaoke BoF

RIPE69 karaoke – excruciating 🙂

T’was a week of excess. Excess conference sessions, excess coffee and excess alcohol. It would be difficult for an outsider to understand that the internet is actually fuelled by coffee and beer. That’s what makes those packets move. No sleep is involved. There is also whisky.

On Thursday night, deep in the bowels of the Novotel, far below anywhere you might see a member of staff at night, unless in pairs, the Karaoke BoF was in full fling. Excruciating, gruesome noises emanated. Wild men sprang from their laptop cocoons. Cockroaches scuttled for the safety of the air-conditioning ducts. Loud music thundered. Lights flashed and dazzled.

Men and women danced in their free conference t shirts. Beer, whisky, whisky, beer. Lights, music, whisky beer. As the night drew on more people arrived to press the momentum of the Karaoke. Microphone fodder.

That night the internet was invented, disassembled and reinvented. DNS, BGP, dark fibre, SDN, IPv6.

5am came. Then breakfast, for the few. There is a rule. Work hard, play hard, and work begins at 9am no matter how hard the play. So the internet keeps working, for the people. Breakfast is optional. The @lonap sponsored coffee station worked overtime.

Then came the wrap-up plenary. After that the doors were closed, 750Mbps of internet pipe shut off and the meeting went into its final session1.

Afterwards we hailed an Uber and made our way to KIngs Cross Station. Preparation for the journey North. Fish and chips accompanied by pints of London Pride. Then we went our separate ways, back to our homes and loved ones and an early night.

What do I remember most about the week. The excellent WiFi access. It is as you would expect from an internet conference.  Next time it is in Amsterdam and they will have 10Gbps of connectivity. That’s a proper broadband connection.

Have a good day now…

1Nod’s as good as a wink to a blind ‘orse.

Engineer engineering internet

Prince Harry special guest appearance at #ripe69 social

RIPE69 social sponsored by LINX on their 20th birthday

Whoever said the conference game is a nice little cushy few days out of the office has clearly never been to one. RIPE69 is in London this week and has an action packed schedule. There is very little downtime.

This is partly because as soon as the day’s official business is over the official unofficial business begins, in the bar. These events are big budget gigs and most evenings there is a social of some kind. A social for the 600 people attending RIPE69 is no small organisational challenge and comes with no small price tag.

Last night’s social was at the Jewel Bar in Picadilly Circus. Jewel directly opposite the tube entrance and was a very easy hop from the conference venue at the Novotel in Hammersmith. RIPE69 also coincides with LINX’s 20th birthday and LINX last night were very generous sponsoring the evening. The internet runs on beer and LINX have done a very good job in organising a number of parties during the year to demonstrate leadership in this space.

Last night was such a big event in the London party calendar that it attracted a number of A-listers. The featured image shows me with Prince Harry. You can see he was surprisingly bashful about having his photo taken with me. Don’t worry. I was able to keep the conversation going.

Being a quiet living type I left before the end to make sure I caught the last tube home. Not everyone was as sensible. A number of walking dead have been seen around the @lonap sponsored coffee station injecting espresso directly into their veins.

I don’t recommend this method of revival. Far better to make yourself get up early and go for a 5 mile run. Clears the head in no time. Never done it meself but I do hear it works wonders:).

Today is only Wednesday. There are three more days of RIPE69 to go!!!

As we are talking about working hard and playing hard I’ll take this opportunity to remind readers that they are invited to #trefbash2014.  Link here password is “friendoftref”.

Engineer internet Net

RIPE69 wireless LAN

RIPE69 wireless LAN is terrific

You have to hand it to our industry. Whenever I go to a conference the WiFi internet access is usually terrific. On this occasion at the Novotel in Hammersmith we have 600 or so engineers crammed into a meeting room. That’s a lot of folk using the internet whilst listening to the talks – most people have their laptops open, just like I have when typing this post.

600 people needs quite a hefty network. In this case you only have to look under the tables to find out how they do it (see featured image).

I’m currently getting 50Megs down and 62 Megs up. Happy days. RIPE69 is my first RIPE meeting. I can’t see it being my last!


datacentre Engineer engineering internet ipv6

Live blogging from #UKNOF29 and Internet Society ION Conference in belfast next week

Look out for live blogging from UKNOF29 and the Internet Society ION conference in Belfast next week.

UKNOF, or the UK Network Operators Forum have really interesting conferences three times a year. I’ve often thought one could fill the blog for  week or two with posts based on the content. The problem is that it takes a long time to write a post based on an individual talk at a conference and at the same time you need to be listening to the talks. it is therefore impossible to write enough posts in a timely manner to do justice to the job. Getting the speakers themselves to turn their talk into a post is also like getting blood out of a stone. Next week at UKNOF29 I’m taking a different approach.

One of the things I’ve noticed about conference talks over the years is that you can probably choose one or two decent slides from each talk and get the gist of what it is all about. The rest is mainly filler. If you had a digest of all that was good at the conference it would save a lot of time and effort. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t go to conferences because a big chunk of their value is in the networking opportunities the bring. However there must be a way to summarise the conference, an exec or engineering summary maybe.

The answer I think is the live blog, The live blog is what they use to provide updates for sporting events.

GOOOAL  1 -1.

Davies strikes the back of the net after a great cross by Evans from the corner post.

Penalty missed – still 1 – 1

You get my drift. Next week therefore at UKNOF29 in Belfast I’m going to try out  new plugin that provides this functionality. I’ve had it since the design of was changed, around the time of the Pissup in a Brewery, but not used it yet.

When people go to these engineering events a lot of the action is on the IRC back channel. I don’t user IRC because it gets too busy although it can provide some interesting insights. I can only cope with so many means of communication. Also I’ve not identified a suitable plug in for the the chromebook yet. The other channel, which is pretty constrained due to its character limitation is Twitter but hashtags don’t seem to have that much effect at these technical conferences. I think it is more the domain of the marketing luvvie.

So I think the live blog could well work for this sort of event, if properly done. The beauty is that It almost only needs a line or two about each talk. Maybe cut and paste of info from twitter, an occasional pic of a slide etc.

It must be said there’s some great looking stuff being talked about next week:

“What went wrong with IPv6” by Dave Wilson of HEAnet (Ireland’s Janet)

“IPv6 only data centres” by Tom Hill of Bytemark

“Broadcast editing and delivering over IP” by by our old friend (he’s knocking on a bit:) ) Brandon Butterworth of the BBC.

Just a snapshot really of what is on offer. UKNOF29 is colocated with The Internet Society ION conference. There is more IPv6 stuff in their agenda which you can check out here.

At the time of writing there are 142 people registered to attend UKNOF29 . This is pretty good going considering you have to get to Belfast to be there.

More UKNOF blog posts here. Check em out. See you at UKNOF29? Come up and say hello.

End User internet Legal net neutrality

Consumer Rights and Net Neutrality

Consumer Rights is a far less toxic term than Net Neutrality.

I’ve previously written for Trefor.Net on the subject of Net Neutrality and what it means to members of the VoIP community. And I think it’s high time for an update, but this time considering consumer rights.

After a promising start the European Union went off the rails, passing a first reading of a text that essentially outlawed 4G services. VoLTE requires prioritisation. Hard line elements on the subject of “net neutrality” managed to convince a strange coalition that it was a good idea to promote their ideological definition just before an election. It was spun as a vote winner, this despite that fact that 999 calls would no longer be treated differently. Consumer rights being protected, were they?

Unforeseen consequences at their worse, which is why I believe that net neutrality is now a toxic term and should be avoided. In fact, I’ve worked on briefing documents that are four pages long that completely avoid the term. I also try to avoid “Open Internet” for similar reasons, as both — as I’ve written before — mean different things to different people.

That’s where consumer rights come into play.

What we want is a level playing field. We want a distribution system for content that doesn’t discriminate against certain types of lawful content for vested reasons. Most of all, we don’t want people misled, and we want consumer rights upheld.

If you ask the average consumer on the street whether Skype and YouTube are part of the internet, anyone other than a recent immigrant from Outer Mongolia that would no doubt answer “no”. By extension, I defy you to find anyone, other than hardcore employees of EE and Vodafone, who would suggest that internet access does not include access to Skype, YouTube, or similar services.

Remember the outrage when people were buying 15 burgers for 99p and it transpired that those burgers were made from horses? It’s the same thing. It’s a basic principle of consumer law that you don’t mislead at the point of sale; be it overtly or through trickery in the small print. Consumer rights need to be protected.

This is why I was so heartened to see Philip Davies MP (Conservative member of Parliament for Shipley) build upon his great performance sticking it to Ed Richards (Ofcom CEO – 40 minutes into the video on the link) on the subject by tabling an amendment to the latest consumer rights bill. This amendment basically just said that you can’t call something “internet” unless it complies with the spirit of everything I’ve said before. For those who are interested, the amended stated;

A term which has the object or effect of permitting a trader to block, restrict or otherwise hinder the access of a consumer to any lawful Electronic Communications Network or Electronic Communications Service on the basis of an unreasonable or unusual definition of “internet access”, “data”, “web access” or similar word or phrase. Nothing in this prohibition shall affect filters for the purpose of child protection.

Electronic Communications Network or Electronic Communications Service shall have the same meaning as in the Communications Act 2003.

tn_own_consumer-rights_tweetPhilip Davies MP is a libertarian Conservative and as a result is one of my favourite MPs. This means he’s often at polar opposites to Her Majesty’s Opposition and an uncomfortable bed fellow with their coalition partners. That makes it even more incredible that the amendment was gladly supported by both the Shadow Minister, Helen Goodman MP and Julian Huppert MP (Liberal Democrat Member for. Cambridge and a good advocate for the technological community). A rare moment of cross party backbench support that, alas, was defeated without Government support, which is still backing the self regulation horse.

All the amendment sought to do was to ensure that the likes of Vodafone and historically EE would be unable to call a spade anything other than a spade and that consumer rights would be upheld. As such, defeat was a great disappointment.

In any event, word on the street is that there may soon be new signatories to the Broadband Stakeholder Group’s Open Internet Code of Conduct. The amendment may get re-tabled in the House of Lords. And The Council of Europe may well get its ducks back in a row.

The battle is one that is very much being fought on three fronts, however the momentum is now behind those of us who just want a level playing field to compete on. Who knows, it might even be over by Christmas.