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Networks in Paradise! (or It's Christmas for the NOC!)

7 Nov 2014

The network for the IETF is a bit of a unique beast.

Pallet of networking gear for IETF 91
Pallet of networking gear for IETF 91

It has elements of a service provider network, an enterprise network, and a campus network, has to be setup in just a few days, and has some of the most … ahem … knowledgeable, users on the Internet. It also is built entirely of donated equipment, using donated circuits with a largely volunteer team.

Both for this meeting and the next one in Dallas, our friends at Time Warner have generously donated two 1G Internet links, providing fast IPv4 and IPv6 connectivity for all attendees.

The equipment we’ve been using for the last few years have been routers donated by Juniper (Thanks Juniper!) and switches and wireless equipment from Cisco. This year, Cisco has generously made a huge donation to upgrade the switching and wireless gear and setup the IETF for the next few years. We’ve upgraded all the switches to handle modern software and support a 10G core. We’ve also swapped out all the older 802.11n capable wireless access points for the newer, faster and more capable 802.11ac units. We’ll also have a new server infrastructure for 2015. Many thanks to Dave Ward, Hoang Pham, Joe Clarke, and Shaun Jones of Cisco for all their help making this donation a reality!

Bringing this new kit to Hawaii presented a few challenges. While having lots of new gear is exciting, having a solid IETF network is the ultimate goal. We shipped both the new gear, plus a core of the old kit “just in case”. We’re using tried and true configurations, making as few changes as is reasonable to meld this pile of shiny kit into the IETF network we all know. The NOC team has been onsite since Monday, and as expected, the road has been a bit bumpy and there are a few things to file, but everything seems to be working. In just an hour or two at Noon on Friday, we’ll be activating the IETF presence in the guestrooms (the ietf-hotel SSID and a somewhat unique way of getting wired access … look for mail to 91all), as well as the public space (the ietf-public and ietf-public-a SSIDs). The Hilton technical staff have been a great help to get this all working!

As usual, the Terminal Room and the help desk will be opening on Sunday afternoon. Please come by and let us know if you have any questions or issues, or submit them to It’s certainly possible that with all this new equipment that there may be some incompatibilities and we’d love to know about them as early as possible!

Finally, let me take a moment to thank our NOC team. We’ve got volunteers from all over the world that donate huge amounts of time, expertise and hard work to make the network what it is. We also have the deployment help of our contractor VeriLAN, who has been a great partner for many years. If you see any of the NOC in the halls, please thank them for everything they do!

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