NetMcr #8, February 2017

February was a slightly quieter month for NetMcr attendance, but despite the success of January spoiling us somewhat, we still had plenty of attendees to fill the chairs of 57 Thomas Street.

For the evening’s event, there were brace of presentations for February, and the first of those was given by returning speaker James Blessing.

James Blessing talking to the crowd about IGPs
James beginning his talk with a little history.

James took us back to basics, with ‘IGP Choices 101’. From the history of IGPs, right through to the differences between IS-IS & OSPF, and why we seem to use them for different applications. There was even an overview of Dijkstra’s algorithm!

The attendees of NetMcr and James giving his talk
IGP design choices can make for a tough crowd, but James kept it engaging!

For a topic that normally invokes one or two flame wars, James managed to curate well-mannered debate on the subject that was – I suspect – of some benefit to us all.

Our second (and final) talk, given by Tim Bray, was entitled ‘IPv6 in Offices’. You might think this could be a relatively straightforward topic, but Tim’s talk explained – with recent real-world experiences – that this is anything but a solved problem, particularly with regards to upstream link resilience (such as ADSL failover).

Tim pointing at his presentation, whilst talking
Tim points, and uses the laser pointer, to highlight something very important indeed

I must say this was really quite an appropriate talk given the current work on BSkyB’s network, and a related/ongoing push from Enterprises to take note of IPv6 (even if uptake is slow today).

As has previously held true, Tim’s insightful talk gave us plenty to discuss throughout the rest of the evening. We’ll just have to hope he can keep thinking of topics to present on!

For those interested, here are the slides for the talks, in the order they were presented on the evening:

  1. Tom Hill & Thom Seddon, “Welcome to NetMcr #8” – (PDF)
  2. James Blessing, “IGP Choices 101” – (PDF)
  3. Tim Bray, “IPv6 in Offices” – (PDF)

NetMcr #7, January 2017

Admittedly there was some trepidation about holding a NetMcr meeting in January. It would be relatively close to the dreaded ‘back to work’ period, and we were struggling to secure talks to fill in the gaps.

The grand attendance of NetMcr January
With all the attendees, we were beginning to run out of seats at 57 Thomas Street!

Thankfully, there was apparently no cause for concern as we received one of the biggest turnouts for any NetMcr event to date! This made sure that our sole presentation had plenty of keen ears, so thank you to everyone that braved the snowy streets of Manchester.

In amongst a lot of healthy socialising, we did have a talk by returning presented, Marek Isalski. This time, Marek was back to speak in more detail about the Mikrotik range of network devices, including both routers & switches.

Marek Isalski giving his talk on Mikrotik devices
Rumours of earlier titles for this talk, in reference to Brexit, are entirely without basis.

Marek propped-up the whole evening with another well-given talk, and one which generated a tonne of extra discussion points to take us well into the rest of the evening’s socialising.

In a slight departure from the norm, during the standard outro presentation, we – the NetMcr organisers – also floated a couple of ideas with the room:

  • Creating our own mailing list for announcements (not discussion)
  • Designing some basic marketing materials (posters, basic business cards)

Both of which were well received by those in attendance, and thus we have resolved to implement both actions as soon as we can.

For those interested, here are the slides for the talks, in the order they were presented on the evening:

  1. Tom Hill & Thom Seddon, “Welcome to NetMcr #7” – (PDF)
  2. Marek Isalski, “Mikrotik  & RouterOS” – (PDF)

NetMcr #6, December 2016

In early December, on Thursday 8th – just before everyone started getting busy with the usual festive celebrations – we were back at 57 Thomas Street for the final NetMcr of 2016.

The crowd at 57 Thomas Street
Despite being a little light, we were delighted with the turn-out for December.

We even found a poor, unsuspecting Network Engineer, enjoying a quiet post-work beer by the window. After hearing about NetMcr and what we had planned, he was more than happy to join us. What are the chances?

The first talk for the evening was about CZ.NIC‘s extremely popular Turris Omnia router, given by familiar face Mike Hughes. Many talks have been given about this device over the years, primarily by CZ.NIC themselves, however Mike was also kind enough to go into some ‘real world’ detail on his experiences of using one as a daily (wireless) router at home.

Mike Hughes presenting on the Turris Omnia
Mike began with a history of how the Turris Omnia came to be.

Despite a few complications on VLAN setup, it sounded like the Turris was serving Mike well. No doubt it’ll cross the minds of those in the room when they’re next considering their home network.

James Blessing continued the evening with the second of our two talks, this one entitled ‘1984 was not a training manual‘. There will be no second-guesses granted as to the topic of his talk – it was of course, a history of the UK Government legislation on surveillance. Specific regard to how past, current & new laws interact with ISPs was given.

James Blessing presenting '1984 is not a training manual'
James’ talk had everyone on the edge of their seats; very pertinent subject matter.

James’ talk was, as expected, a fantastic account of the legislation involved, and we were all particularly grateful to have someone with his breadth of expertise to speak on the topic.

For those interested, here are the slides for the talks, in the order they were presented on the evening:

  1. Tom Hill & Thom Seddon, “Welcome to NetMcr #6” (PDF)
  2. Mike Hughes, “Experiences with the Turris Omnia” (PDF)
  3. James Blessing, “1984 was not a training manual” (PDF pending)