ISOC Fellow Shares Experiences with Cutting-Edge V6 Net

By: Carolyn Duffy Marsan

Date: July 6, 2015

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The IPv6 Operations (v6ops) working group had an opportunity to learn first-hand about the promises and pitfalls of IPv6 deployment in India, thanks to a presentation from Internet Society Fellow and IETF newcomer, Suprita Lnu.

“I thought she did an excellent job, and I wasn’t the only one,” said Fred Baker, cochair of the v6ops working group. “Comments in the room and on Facebook were very complimentary.”

Lnu is a network engineer with Mumbai-based broadband service provider Reliance JIO Infocomm, which is deploying v6-only 4G services across India. Her role there is the design and implementation of fiber-to-the-home services, and she works closely with vendors on standardization of Internet Protocol/Multiprotocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS) devices and their configurations. She has been following IETF working group activity and Request for Comments (RFCs) for seven years, but until now hadn’t participated in a meeting or contributed a document.

Lnu was sponsored to attend IETF 92 via the Internet Society’s Fellowship to the IETF Programme, which supports technology professionals from developing economies. Programme participants are paired with a mentor and are expected to contribute to the IETF’s work. The goal of the programme is to increase the diversity of IETF participation and to foster global awareness of the Internet’s premier standards body.

Lnu’s mentor at IETF 92 was Baker, a former IETF chair and current Cisco Fellow, who was impressed with her from their first contact.

“I concluded that not only would she benefit from meeting the IETF, but the IETF would benefit from meeting her,” Baker said. “She is on the design team for a network in a developing country that is, from scratch, deploying an IPv6-only network with an IPv4 overlay for legacy systems. While that is the point we will all eventually reach, she and her company are among those blazing the path.”

For Lnu, attending the IETF meeting in Dallas was “a dream come true.”

“I wanted to get more insight into the IETF working process and guidelines of the working groups and RFC development,” she said. “It was great to meet Xing Li from CERNET Center/Tsinghua University, author of the MAP-T Draft, which we have been testing extensively for implementation in our own network, and to discuss some of the challenges we were facing. His experience with his implementation at CERNET is indispensable for our testing and implementations.”

Lnu said she had a wonderful time at IETF 92, especially interacting with other v6ops contributors. She intends to follow up her experience by writing documents about Reliance JIO Infocomm’s v6 deployment experiences and operational challenges.

“The opportunity to attend an IETF meeting in-person for the first time can only be [repaid] by my continuous contribution to the whole community,” she said. “The whole process of RFC creation, from its birth as a draft to being assigned a number with RFC status, is now clear… Authoring an RFC now feels achievable.”

Lnu said she feels more confident about sharing her ideas on the v6ops mailing list, as well as other IETF and Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) working groups whose meetings she attended, including Softwire, IS-IS for IP Internets (isis), Software Defined Networking (sdnrg), Network Function Virtualization (nfvrg), and BGP-Enabled Services (bess).

“I was glad to be able to scribe the meeting minutes for the Radext (RADIUS Extensions) working group,” she said. “It gave me the opportunity to closely understand the workflow and draft process.”

But the highlight of IETF 92 for Lnu was giving a presentation at the v6ops meeting.

“The brilliant opportunity provided by V6OPS chairs Fred Baker and Lee Howard to present [our] IPv6 deployment status, operational challenges, and MAP-T trial experience was one of the most prestigious moments for me,” she said. “Meeting Chris Grundemann, [former] director of the Internet Society Deploy360 Programme, was also great and [having] him appreciate my presentation in the v6ops working group was very encouraging.”

Suprita intends to bring what she learned about the IETF back to her peers at Reliance JIO Infocomm and the South Asian Network Operators Group (SANOG), which meets in August in Mumbai. She also plans to increase her involvement with the V6OPS, SOFTWIRE, and ISIS working groups.

“The Internet Society Fellowship to the IETF Programme is an awesome initiative to involve people from developing and emerging countries into the IETF process,” she said. “This is a win-win situation for both the parties and is highly appreciated.”

Baker said Lnu was an ideal candidate for the Internet Society Fellowship to the IETF Programme.

“I’m looking for not only a contribution to the fellow’s education and career, but a contribution by the fellow to the IETF,” Baker said. “That’s the type of person I would like to invite to the IETF.”