APRICOT 2017, Ho Chi Minh City

A guest blog post by Jonathan Brewer, 2016/17 conference attendance grant recipient.

People ask me what APRICOT stands for a couple times a year or more. I spell out the acronym, and they tune out. It's a mouthful for sure! What's important is that it's a meeting meant for the people who make the Internet run; and an opportunity to meet, to share, and to learn.

APRICOT has been going for 21 years now, and every year it finds a new city. Last year it was in Auckland. The year before it was in Fukuoka, Japan. And this year it was in Ho Chi Minh City, from the 20th of February through the 2nd of March. It's ten days of workshops, tutorials, talks, and informal meet-ups we call "birds of a feather" sessions. 

This year InternetNZ funded my attendance at APRICOT and I made the most of it!

The first five days of every APRICOT is a workshop week. I attended a hands-on workshop on the Border Gateway Protocol. BGP is the magic that's used to connect networks of computers together, and nearly every telco in the world uses it. Besides BGP, there were workshops on DNSSEC, Network Management, Network Security and Virtualisation technologies.

Over the weekend there was a mini-conference on network security run by FIRST. (Yep, another acronym. Hang in there!) Security professionals and researchers talked about how networks defend against and respond to attacks.

The main conference week had talks from both APRICOT and APNIC. The latter acronym is the organisation that manages IP addresses for the Asia-Pacific region.

APRICOT talks tend toward the technical matters of Internet operations, often focusing on resilience. We all want to understand the best way to keep our networks going in the face of disaster, be it natural or man-made.

APNIC sessions tend towards policy matters. Part of APNIC's mission is to provide the best possible IP address registry services to its members. Letting members shape policies helps achieve that. Hearing what other Regional Internet Registries are doing helps too.

While I spent much of my conference week watching technical talks I also spent a bit of time sharing. In the Peering Forum I gave a talk on how Pacific Island telcos connect to each-other. In a tutorial, I spent 90 minutes giving a crash course on IoT technologies. And in Birds of a Feather sessions run by friends, I talked about the RIPE Atlas project and  Community Wi-Fi networks.


(Photo taken at the end of the 90 minute IoT tutorial)


If your day-to-day job is operating networks, I think APRICOT is one of the most useful conferences you can attend. Next year it'll be held in Kathmandu, Nepal - and you should come along!

So are you still wondering about all those acronyms? APRICOT is the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Conference on Operational Technologies, and it's run by APIA, the Asia & Pacific Internet Association. FIRST is the Forum for Incident Response and Security Teams. APNIC is the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre.

Jonathan Brewer designs and builds networks for broadband, public safety, utilities, and the Internet of Things.

Jonathan received $3,500 in funding from InternetNZ to attend the 2017 APRICOT Conference. For more info about our community grant funding visit our funding page.