February 21, 2020
Last night, cloud infrastructure provider DigitalOcean hosted one of their meetups at the AMS-IX office. These meetups are a way for developers and software architects to share knowledge, learn new things, start discussions and meet new people. Two speakers give a short new angle on a technology topic, this time ‘How the internet works.’ AMS-IX is pretty relevant for that, so they were in the right place.
After a few drinks and chats, the evening kicked off with Olaf Kolkman of the Internet Society. Olaf started with a short overview of the history of the internet, describing some key moments like the introduction of packet switching and the use of the internet protocol. He described that the internet is based on a few core principals, like best effort (packet loss is a feature), decentralization, openness, and decoupling of the application from the network. These principals defined the success of the internet today and are also of great value for openness and innovation in society. The discussion however also touched matters like the rise of the huge tech companies and the question of where to bring in regulation.
The second speaker of the evening was Jaap Akkerhuis of NLnet Labs. The focus of his talk was the Domain Name Protocol. Akkerhuis explained that the protocol in itself was a very simple exercise and functions pretty well. However, it was initially developed to serve just a couple of hundred sites, and it grew to be used by a billions of users. This brought all sorts of new problems, like sloppy implementations, sloppy configurations, man-in-the-middle attacks and other ‘tricks.’ He also discussed the privacy and security aspects of DNS and their consequences on internet government policies.
The last visitor of the evening was the pizzaman delivering about 20 boxes of pizza. So the meetup was not only interesting for the mind, but very tasty as well. A big thanks to DigitalOcean for allowing us to host this event.