Understanding Internet infrastructure: an overview of technology and terminology

8 November 2012 - A Workshop on Other in Baku, Azerbaijan


This workshop builds upon successful previous workshops in Rio, Hyderabad, Sharm El Sheikh, Vilnius, and Nairobi. This workshop has been offered at the very beginning of each IGF, in order to afford new IGF participants an overview of the sometimes-obscure terms of art of the Internet governance and technical communities. The workshop provids an educational, factual backdrop to the policy debates which are the focus of the IGF. Many people in the civil society and intergovernmental spheres whose interest in Internet governance is recent are disadvantaged in fully participating in the policy debate by abstruse technical terminology and concepts. This workshop serves as a layperson's introduction to the topology of the Internet, providing definitions and explanations for key terms like transit, peering, exchange point, root and top-level domain name server, routing and forwarding, and the International Standards Organization's seven-layer protocol model, as well as an overview of the constellation of Internet governance organizations and their respective roles and responsibilities. This background, provided at the very beginning of each year's sessions, gives participants the background to decode the arguments presented in other sessions through the remainder of the week. Each year, this workshop also serves to introduce a number of volunteers who serve as mentors to new participants throughout the week, continuing to answer questions, make introductions, and provide further information. The main purpose of this workshop is to ensure that new attendees' first encounter with the Internet Governance Forum is a warm and welcoming one.

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