In order to achieve our vision of a vibrant community of NRENs, UbuntuNet Alliance carries out various capacity building exercises throughout the year under the AfricaConnect3 project. One of such workshops is the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) scaling techniques workshop. This workshop is meant to help build techniques for Network Engineers from our member NRENs and was held in 2 phases throughout this year. We caught up with Mr. Mwiza Mhango, Network Engineer at the Malawi Research and Education Network (MAREN) who successfully completed both these phases, to get some of his views on how he has benefited from being part of these workshops.
This year, UbuntuNet Alliance has carried out two workshops on BGP scaling techniques for NRENs of which you took part in. How important is such a training in your field?
- This was a very important training because it has touched almost every angle of BGP techniques that can easily be referenced whenever there is a need for BGP network deployment, scaling and optimization.
In the two workshops carried out this year, you and your colleagues were trained in topics including Peer groups, Route Reflectors and BGP Communities. In what scenarios can the skills gained in these topics be useful to you and to the operations of your NREN?
- These are aimed at among others reducing the administrative work of a network engineer or administrator thereby creating more room for productiveness and efficiency.
Can you mention some examples in which you felt the knowledge gained from such a training came into good use whilst you were on the job?
- This has helped a lot with understanding the network issues faced by our clients and therefore resolving such issues collaboratively with our ISPs.
Gaining additional training and qualifications comes at a cost in many other fields, and sometimes may require relocation. How important is it that UbuntuNet Alliance continues to freely offer capacity building exercises to its member NRENs throughout the region?
- This is very important as many NRENs benefit from the training, there will always be a positive impact on research, education and national cyber security.
UbuntuNet Alliance issues a certificate to all participants who complete training in the BGP Scaling techniques for NRENs workshop. What are your thoughts on this?
- It is a good motivation for participants.
What other training Workshops would you like to see UbuntuNet Alliance carrying out in order to build capacity of network engineers within the research and education community?
- As we are moving towards the era of Internet protocol version 6 (IPv6) addresses, Africa is one of the continents that has remained behind with the adoption of IPv6 addresses according to google statistics. Therefore, it will be great to have IPv6 training so that NRENs within the region can start adopting IPv6 addresses.
As the Regional Research and Education Network, we aim to have a community of well trained NREN staff in order to help benefit the research and education community in our region. Keep up with the events carried out throughout the year by viewing the UbuntuNet Alliance events site and also following us on our social media platforms.