Fellowship Program Testimonials
27th Euro-IX Forum - Berlin
The 27th Euro-IX forum in Berlin hosted 3 Fellows; namely Emmanuel Kwarteng of Ghana Internet Exchange, Nicholas Rouhana of Beirut-IX and Kyle Spencer of Unganda Internet eXchange Point.
Below is their feedback on their thoughts and experiences of the forum, in addition to challenges faced in their own environment.
Nicolas Rouhana: Beirut-IX
Beirut IX was formed back in 1997 by a multi-stakeholder group, and has had lots of operational challenges, namely internal connectivity based on wireless systems which hindered scalability & reliability over the years. Today, BeirutIX is at a major cornerstone; it has just operated Google Caches servers, and is preparing to receive an Akamai node, which is stressing both its fabric and its 'informal' modus-operandi, requiring BeirutIX to look at other models and best practices around the world. Participating in the Euro-IX Forum was really an eye-opener, allowing to meet subject-matter experts, explore business models used by exchanges around Europe and the world (like a very insightful experience from San Francisco !). It was also a great opportunity to network, and learn new tools to manage exchanges (like IXP Manager, BIRD, and others).
The people are fantastic, very open and helpful. The social events gave also appropriate time to 'bond' with the group. The sessions were technical and strategic; I would have preferred having separate tracks for each type, which would allow less participants and more interactions in the sessions. Attending the General Assembly, the elections and budget discussions was also very enlightening as to managing a network of IXPs.
I really thank Euro-IX for this Fellowship Program that allowed Beirut IX to take part in the 27th Euro-IX Forum in Berlin, and especially the opportunity to present the Lebanon case of peering with its challenges in front of the whole network, which really highlighted the differences in Internet eXchanges between developed and developing countries.
BeirutIX will surely be engaging more with the network moving forward, like inviting experts to visit BeirutIX to conduct a workshop locally, or sending staff for internship in other IXs, and why not supporting a future Euro-IX Forum in Beirut.
For more information on Beirut-IX click here
28th Euro-IX Forum - Luxemburg
Nico Tshintu Bakajika: KINIX
Nico Tshintu Bakajika of Kinshasa Internet eXchnage point joined the 28th Forum as a fellow, where he also presented. Nico's feedback is below;
"Since 2016, I have worked as Financial, Administrative and Operations manager for ISAPA-DRC. In addition, since 2012, I am a Financial, Administrative and Operations manager for the RDC-IX Project. The RDC-IX project aims to provide the Democratic Republic of Congo with three Internet Exchange Points in different cities: KINIX as Kinshasa IXP, LUBIX as Lubumbashi IXP and GOMIX as Goma IXP. My vocation is to assist human development for all communities by using the Internet.
With a focus on network interconnection through the Internet Exchange Point, my tasks helping the KINIX development can be defined as: Bringing together Internet operators to know, talk and trust each other; Collecting and publishing data and informing Internet operators that can help to improve the quality of service when using the KINIX facility; Collecting data and managing KINIX according to its Economic Model (Independent Economic Model); Managing ISPA-DRC lobbying and advocacy for KINIX usage and impact in the DRC communities. Achieving these tasks requires strong knowledge on:
Communication techniques; Leadership abilities including project management negotiation
To help the Internet industry thrive in the DRC, the ISPA-DRC board is engaged in learning more about other communities. This is why ISPA-DRC is willing to attend international meetings to share knowledge and activities. In this context, I attended for the first time the EURO-IX Forum. This was an amazing experience, opening my mind the the new ways to plan and act for the Internet Industry in my country. During the Euro-IX 28th forum, my participation was enriched by scheduled sessions and meeting with peering actors. I learned about innovations in the peering field and European IXP experiences and other development partners peering, such as:
Tools for the management of an IXP; Tools for the monitoring of an IXP; Routing in an IXP; New generation networks facilities; Security tools in an IXP; Performance measures of an IXP; IXP economic model
In my capacity as permanent manager of KINIX, the Forum allowed me to exchange with other participants how to manage an IXP, difficulties in the development of KINIX and solutions contributing to the development of KINIX. During this time, I personally met with understanding from participants. In addition, the participants also offered to help KINIX in the development process through donations, network equipment, electrical equipment and capacity building.
My talk during the commercial session, offered me the opportunity to show to the audience the RDC-IX project short, medium and long-term plans. I shared information about the current structure and environment of the KINIX. I also developed different challenges for the continuous development of KINIX.
If all the promises come true, my participation in the Euro-IX Forum would contribute to improve about 75% of challenges, and eventually:
Provide KINIX with network equipment capable of handling large traffic volumes and ensure redundancy ; Provide to the KINIX electricity 24h/ ; Encourage capacity building through training and exchange of experiences; Promote hosting of local content; Encourage the use of the Internet to make public services more accessible to a large public (end users); Develop a national policy to encourage the creation and hosting of local content in the DRC
Personally, I enjoyed the Euro-IX initiative to involve KINIX and let us learn from this experience. In addition, I recommend that roundtables are organised during the forum, where participants can meet in small groups to discuss specific problems."
For more information on KINIX click here
29th Euro-IX Forum - Krakow
Leonard Obonyo: TESPOK/ KIXP
Leonard Obonyo attended the 29th Euro-IX Forum on the Fellowship Program. Leonard is the Research Projects and Grants Manager at Technology Service Providers Association of Kenya (TESPOK), in Nairobi that runs the Kenya Internet Exchange Point (KIXP). We were able to conduct a short interview with Leonard;
1. As a Euro-IX fellow, how did you find the process of application? It was actually easy and straight-forward, as I knew what I wanted.
2. What were your first impressions of the Euro-IX Community?
It was like 'wow'; the networks, people, the experience and topics being covered was awesome.
3. What are your most memorable moments of the forum?
The social "Salt Mine" – it was breath-taking with a lot of history. People are very friendly and engaged in open discussion with others, both professionally and personally. People are welcoming and this encourages engagement.
4. Which session/s did you find most useful?
The technical and commercial sessions, especially the commercial ideas. The reseller programs were most useful for me.
4. What are you going to take back to your IXP?
The tools that were discussed in the technical session - the measurement tools - this is what I would like to take back for implementation. We have recently launched the GRX program, so it would be a good idea to use the reseller program on the new peers.
Anything else to add:
This was a very good experience. It was encouraging,I learnt a lot, increased network, and hope to keep in touch, especially with policy discussions. I also hope to come for a forum once more.
For more information on TESPOK/ KIXP click here
Mauricio Oviedo - CRIX
Participating in the Euro-IX 29th Forum as a fellow was a very productive experience. Being part of the fellowship program allowed me to learn more in detail about the organization, share what we are doing in Costa Rica and our region, and learn from the experience of other IXPs. One of the key points I brought back from the meeting is the importance of automating as much as possible the different processes within the IXP. Being able to hear from first hand how other IXPs did it and the benefits that were obtained gave me a big motivation to start the automation process at CRIX as soon as possible, as well as to promote within my region the importance to do so. I was impressed not only with the high quality of the presentations but also with the variety of topics of the meeting. By learning from how the Euro-IX forums are structured, at LAC-IX we can continue to improve our programs, adding more value to our members, and including discussions that could have every time a higher impact in the different groups, administrative, technical, marketing. Another important point is that on-site participation opens the doors for having a lot of networking with Euro-IX members. Having the chance to speak and share experiences with the participants adds great value to the meeting, specially because getting to know a different Internet Ecosystem as Europe, the challenges and lessons learned by more mature IXPs, and getting new ideas of what else can an IX do could easily accelerate the growth of newer IXPs. I was also very interested in learning more in detail how to manage accurate traffic statistics, and how to use the IX-F platform to have a single repository of data for our Region. Since the fellowship program includes the opportunity to continue being part of Euro-IX for one year, I would like to take the most of it by getting more engaged within the community and participate in other opportunities that may arise. Something that I consider that could be very useful for future fellows is to have an informative session with Euro-IX staff to get to know better the organization, the ongoing projects, benefits of being a member and specially how can they further participate. This could be a requirement for the program and at the same time an easy way for the fellows to have a bigger picture of Euro-IX. Finally, it is very important to keep looking for ways of getting both Euro-IX and LAC-IX to continue working together and to strength the communication channels to ensure the exchange of experience that can make a difference in our countries.
Thanks to the fellowship program I got back to Costa Rica with both good new friends and a lot of homework that hopefully will help with improvement of our IX and also collaborate further in our region.
For more information on CRIX click here