Meeting Report

MENOG 17 took place from 19-20 April 2017 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Muscat, Oman. A total of 205 people from 37 countries attended the meeting, with a further 470 following live via webcast.

The meeting was hosted by the Domain Names Administration and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. The sponsors for the event were the RIPE NCC, Omantel, the Internet Society, DE-CIX and Netflix. ICANN were DNSSEC Training Partner for the meeting, while Packet Clearing House and Omantel acted as IXP Tutorial Partner and ICT Partner, respectively.

MENOG PC Chair, Khalid Samara, opened the meeting by thanking attendees for making the effort to travel to Muscat. After a welcoming speech from Mohammed Al Ismaili, there was a RIPE NCC update from Paul Rendek, Director of External Relations for the RIPE NCC, and an update on projects and initiatives from ISOC from Raul Echeberria, ISOC’s Vice President of Global Engagement. Thomas Volmer, Google, gave an overview of the benefits of peering before the session ended with a round of peering introductions.

The session on Peering and Interconnection focused on the need for improved communication regarding data and research in the region. Nishal Goburdhan, from Packet Clearing House, shared the findings of the PCH Survey of Interconnection Agreements. It was particularly interesting that the survey revealed a lack of correlation between IPv6 deployment and GDP, a point that was picked up on again during questions. Alessandro Improta, from the Isolario Project, then gave a talk aimed at encouraging network admins to share their BGP routing data with the research community.

First up in the Peering and Content session, the RIPE NCC’s Johan ter Beest discussed Missed Peering Opportunities in the Middle East. A panel discussion came next, led by Marco Brandstaetter, aimed at addressing such issues as the state of roll out and peering, the ratio of local content being held in cache vs. exchange points, and a number of challenges operators are facing in the MENOG region. It was observed that the relevant operators still have a ‘mentality’ of wanting to take the lead, which militates against effective cooperation. While there was optimism that newly adopted initiatives and strategies are changing this, the general view was that such changes are still in their early stages.

The final session of the day focused on Research and Interconnection. Yousef Torman of the Arab States Research and Education Network delivered a presentation looking at Research and Education e-Infrastructures in the Arab Region. Ahmad Alsadeh and Abdulsalam Alkholidi, both RACI participants, then gave talks. The former looked at practical methods for ensuring security and usability by integrating privacy extensions into CGA so as to resolve both privacy and security issues for IPv6 addresses. The latter provided a detailed analysis of IPv6 readiness, primarily in connection to Yemen, and ended with a list of recommendations for the RIPE NCC and MENOG that would help improve the Internet sector in the country.

At the end of the first day, dinner was held on the grounds of the Crowne Plaza hotel, with attendees gathering to celebrate the 10th anniversary of MENOG.

The second day kicked off with the IPv6 session. Elvis Daniel Velea, of V4Escrow, went over various statistics on IPv4 exhaustion, trends in IPv4 transfers, the related situation in Oman and the ongoing decline in the rate of transfers. Questions were raised as to whether legacy space is being taken up, but Elvis pointed out that we do not, at present, see a significant amount of legacy space being given away in the RIPE region. Next up, Marty Strong gave a talk that served to echo the general call for more IPv6 adoption and broader deployment of RIPE Atlas anchors and probes across the Middle East. The final talk of the session came from Jan Zorz who offered an interesting overview of challenges for deployment, as well as some fixes he’d come up with whilst carrying out real life experiments on NAT64/DNS64.

The DNS session and the closing session took place in one block. The first included a talk from Eric Ziegast, Farshight Security, on Technologies for Resiliency in relation to DNS, and an overview on plans for the DNSSEC KSK Rollover from Champika Wijayatunga, ICANN. Osama Al Dosary then stepped in to moderate the closing session, the first talk of which came from Aftab Siddiqui, ISOC, on the design and deployment of VXLAN. This was followed by lightning talks from Nelly Baz, ISOC Lebanon, Salam Yamout, ISOC, and three RACI participants, Sufyan Faraj Al-Janabi, Tauqeer Safdar and Ahmed Al Eroud.

The sessions having come to an end, Khalid Samara once again took to the podium to thank all present for contributing to what had been a very successful meeting. In closing, he unveiled the new MENOG logo and gave everyone a preview of the design of the new MENOG website, which will go live mid-May 2017. The hosts and sponsors were once again thanked for their support, thus concluding one of the most successful, well-attended, engaging MENOG meetings to date.