Attending APNIC 48 2019

Blog by Joylyn Puairana – fellow APNIC 48

On Friday 28th June 2019, I came to work in the morning and was sitting in front of my working PC and suddenly saw this email from APNIC popped up. I opened and it said “ACCEPTED”. I was so excited and over the moon and said to myself, “yes I got it”. At first, i shared my exciting news with my working colleagues. After work I went home and shared with my partner. He was very helpful and encouraged me how and what to do during my travel.

Each year APNIC arranges two huge conferences – the first is held as a conference track of APRICOT and a second as a standalone conference. Each year, the APNIC community come together for policy development, education, information-sharing, decision-making and networking both professional and social.

I was very lucky to attend APNIC48 in Chiang Mai, Thailand (5 to 12 September 2019) as a fellow. I was the only fellow selected from Solomon Islands and joined with other professional fellows from Bhutan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, France, Guam, India, Myanmar, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timo Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Vietnam. We combined in with the crowd of mixed cultures so nicely and are still in touch with each other.

APNIC 48

APNIC conferences are divided into two sessions. The first five days are for hands-on workshops and the last three days are for the conference. I received the fellowship for both the sessions. This is first time attending this APNIC event.

Gaining hands-on experience during the workshops

APNIC offered four workshop tracks during APNIC 48: Advanced BGP & ROV, Introduction to SDN, Network Security and IPv6 Development. I went for Network Security because of my role as core network engineer (Circuit/Packet Switch). I wanted to learn more and new things so that when I returned to my job, I could implement it.

The Net Sec workshop covered security fundamental, Threat pragmatic, crypto basic, Honeypots & Honey net , penetration testing, infrastructure security, RPKI, IDS & Suricata, DSN security etc. There were labs after each topic which were very helpful and they gave us more knowledge about the topics been thought. We came to know new security technologies and new schemes of securing our data that we didn’t even think of in our daily life.

Our instructors were highly skilled security experts who are working day and night to secure the Internet. Having the opportunity of interacting with them was so educating and profitable and they were very kind enough to share with us. Also have a great time to interacting with other fellows during the workshop. We are like family. I was already surprised with the workshop week but the conference week provided us with even greater value. For myself, i really learned a lot of new things during the Net Sec workshop.

Networking with the big and different people

This was my first ever international conference. On the first day of the conference, the entire lobby was crowded by the shining stars of the Internet industry. I don’t expect to see that kind of crowd.

There are so many big people whose groundbreaking hard work brought the Internet to this level gave valuable speeches on their chosen topics. The best part was after each session they mingled with each of us, listened to each of our interests and shared their contacts. 

In a small country like Solomon Island, we work, we eat and we go to bed. However, somewhere in a corner of this universe a bunch of people are working so hard, putting all their knowledge and energy to create a secure Internet. They are also looking for ways to transfer the knowledge to developing countries like us so that we can experience a better Internet and can develop our local community. I feel proud that I met them in person and received their attention. I can’t thank APNIC enough for this opportunity.

An opportunity of lifetime helps with getting ahead

Like APNIC, there are many other non-profit organizations that are there to assist us. They provide fellowship as well. We have so many resources available. We just need to look around and need to stretch our hands.

Before attending this conference I was so lost as a beginner. Information Security is a huge area and I didn’t know where to start from. Attending the workshop and conference didn’t make me an expert overnight, but it left a huge impact on me. It helped me to think in a different and better way.

This was also my ever first travel alone outside my country Solomon Islands. It is hard to describe in words that how special it was to me. I may get more fellowships in future but those will not be like this one. APNIC 48 is very close and special to my heart and the sweet memories with my fellows makes me emotional. It was learning with fun and also making and meeting new networks. 

Ten days we were away from our families. We laughed together, we helped each other and networking. We promised one thing that no matter where we are after this conference we will contribute to present a secure and better Internet to our next generation and will help to develop our local community.

Hopefully someday, at another conference, I will get to see those favorite fellowship faces again, to laugh and share, and to make new promises! 

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