Understanding Internet Infrastructure: an Overview of Technology and Terminology

15 November 2009 - A Workshop on Internet Governance for Development in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt


Concise Description:
The workshop will provide an educational, factual backdrop to the policy debates which will be the focus of the IGF. Many people in the civil society and intergovernmental spheres, whose interest in Internet governance is relatively recent, are potentially disadvantaged in fully participating in the debate by the abstruse technical terminology and concepts. This workshop will serve as a layperson’s introduction to the topology of the Internet, providing definitions and explanations for key terms like transit, peering, hot-potato, exchange point, root and top-level domain name server, routing and forwarding, and the International Standards Organization’s seven-layer protocol model.

The sponsoring coalition’s composition is purposely intended to be nonpolitical, focusing instead upon the objective facts of the engineering basis of the Internet, and its composition ensures its adherence to multi-stakeholder principles. Coalition members represent the governmental, NGO, civil society, Internet governance, and commercial sectors, from both developing and developed nations, and the northern and southern hemispheres. A comprehensive spectrum of backgrounds and interests are represented: domain names, number resources, content provision, critical infrastructure, academic networking, datacenters, and regulatory oversight. Moreover, the three speakers each have backgrounds in both commercial and noncommercial networking, with a historical perspective spanning the rise and fall of many different networking technologies. They represent two ethnicities, both genders and three continents. Likewise, the workshop provides different perspectives on the issues under discussion because the backgrounds of the speakers are academic, commercial, governmental, NGO, Internet governance, and technical community, and each speaker has a very different background of professional experience. 

The Coalition and this workshop are organized in a manner that promotes the terms of the Tunis Agenda in general and paragraphs 8, 9, 18, 23(a), 23(c), 26(g), 27(j), 49, 50(b) and (c), 51, 53, and 72 more specifically.