In short: It’s doable and your government should support it!
Over 4 years ago, the Go6 Institute started a discussion with the Slovenian government about the idea for a Slovenian IPv6 roadshow project. This would include a web portal with basic technical and deployment information about the IPv6 protocol, as well as one-day basic IPv6 workshops that would be free for everybody to attend, but more importantly, outside of the capital city (Ljubljana).
The motivation behind this initiative was the fact that the majority of IPv6 related conferences, meetings and workshops were usually held in Ljubljana as the density of Internet experts in that area is higher than elsewhere. But is using this as a reason to organize IPv6 events there fair? We thought not, and this resonated with Internet experts living outside the Ljubljana region.
“If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain…”
People from busy IT departments, enterprises, operators and other parts of industry are involved with their work and don’t have the time and resources to travel for several hours to join a workshop about something they are not entirely sure they need to know about. Of course, usually after joining a meeting or workshop they realize how important the knowledge is and change their mind, but before this happens, they have hesitations about whether it is a good use of their time.
The aim was to change this mentality by bringing an IPv6 workshop to their city that is free to attend, and to encourage them to see IPv6 as part of their future professional expertise and required knowledge.
The Slovenian government always stressed the importance of providing education and learning opportunities to everyone in the country, so we saw the perfect opportunity to partner this vision with increasing knowledge and awareness of IPv6 awareness. We therefore need to thank the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and Arnes, the Slovenian NREN for supporting this pilot project.
This project was announced in September 2015, and needed to be completed before the funding expired at the end of 2015. We decided to divide the project into two parts – developing a web portal with IPv6 information in Slovenian, as well as organising two IPv6 workshops in Nova Gorica and Maribor – two cities at diametrically opposite ends of the country.
The web portal now proudly lives at https://ipv6.si/ and is still under development, but the content is nearly complete and should be available next week. The aims is to gather together IPv6 information in Slovenian to become a reference point for any citizen needing to understand and deploy IPv6 in their networks and services. Our wish is to continue to develop the portal – adding new protocols, tutorials and workshop materials over time.
The two IPv6 workshops took place this week on 15 December 2015 in Nova Gorica, and 17 December 2015 in Maribor. The first had over 80 participants, whilst the second had around 40 participants, so both can be considered a great success. Arnes also recorded the proceedings of the Maribor workshop which will appear on https://ipv6.si/ shortly.
Participants were highly interested in learning about IPv6 and Matjaž Straus Istenič and Luka Manojlovič introduced them to the IPv6 protocol, how to start, and the importance of gaining a lot of experience in order to be able to run trouble-free networks and services
The workshops also covered why we need to implement IPv6, addressing and making address plans, accompanying protocols, ICMPv6 services, and the usage of different auto configuration mechanisms such as SLAAC and DHCPv6. More advanced topics included DNS and IPv6, privacy and traceability in IPv6, a look at IPv6 security issues, and transitional mechanisms like A+P (MAP), 6to4, NAT64 and others.
One of participants said after the workshop: “If you guys had not organised this workshop, I would not have learnt about IPv6 to the extent that the whole thing would catch my attention and interest to start testing and experimenting with it. Quite simply, I have too much other work and would not have been able to reprioritize my other assignments to start learning about IPv6 from the Internet. I live and work nearby and in a single day I learned the basics of IPv6, lost the fear of an unknown new protocol, and actually obtained enough knowledge to encourage me to start playing with it at home. When I get comfortable with it, I’ll start thinking about implementing it at work…”
From the feedback received, it’s clear this initiative was welcomed as a good to way to encourage people to deploy IPv6. We therefore plan to talk our government and NREN about continuing this activity next year, as the web site is nearly ready, workshop material has been prepared, and a team well trained in its use.
We’d like to thank everyone who made this pilot project happen, including the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport; Arnes; IZUM Maribor; Šolski center Nova Gorica; Go6 Institute, the Internet Society; and other everyone else that helped make the workshops a bit better.
We’re also interested in hearing if there are similar initiatives in other countries, and would encourage other governments to support the deployment of IPv6 in this way.