Summary of ngNOG VIII, University of Benin: 03 -09 Nov, 2013

The 8th edition of the annual Nigerian Network Operators' Group (ngNOG) Workshop and Meetings were successfully hosted by the University of Benin (Uniben) from –03rd -09th November, 2013.. Instructors and organizers however were at the ancient city of Benin from the 31st of October, 2013 for the workshop set-up.

The 2013 ngNOG Workshop was declared open by the Vice Chancellor University of Benin, Prof. O. Oshodin (who was represented by Prof. Stella Chiemeke, The Director of ICT Uniben). The workshop was closed with a celebratory dinner hosted by the Bandwidth Consortium (BWC)

Despite the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike, Sixty two (62) delegates from 18 Institutions and Organizations from all over the country participated in the five parallel tracks offered at the 2013 ngNOG workshop in Benin city. This number is however low compared to the 92 delegates from 32 Institutions and organizations represented at the ngNOG 2012 workshop held in Kaduna. The event also recorded the lowest number of delegates to the ICT Strategy, Policy and Management (SPM) track.

The distribution of the 62 delegates to the 2013 workshop tracks is given below:

  • 11 System Administration (SA)
  • 28 Internet Infrastructure (II)
  • 14 Internet Services and Applications (IS)
  • 3 ICT Strategy, Policy and Management (SPM)
  • 6 Applications and Content Development (ACD)

Host University of Benin (Uniben) led institutional representation with 25delegates. It was followed by the the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria with 6, and Usumanu Danfodio University, Sokoto(UDU) with 5 delegates.

12 of the delegates were sponsored by the The Bandwidth Consortium (BWC) for her member institutions.

Participation rate for women at ngNOG Benin was 7%. This is the lowest female participation ever experienced with the ngNOG events. It was 26% in 2006; 13% in 2007; 14% in 2008; 19% in 2009; 33% in 2010; and 12% at ngNOG Ife in 2011 and 14% in 2012.

The opening ceremony was well attended by all delegates and some principal officials of the University of Benin.

Boot Camp

This year’s boot camp was attended by over 40 participants who were taken through the Linux and IP basics to ensure that all participants are equipped with requisite skills for the commencement of the workshop

Workshop and Meetings

As is customary with the ngNOG events for the last few years, the tracks held in parallel were the Application and Content Development, Internet Services, Internet Infrastructure, System Administration and Strategy, Policy and Management.

The Strategy, Policy and Management track recorded the lowest ever experienced in the ngNOG events. Only three participants were present.

The Appropriate Power Technology track did not run at this years edition.

The evening events was well attended by delegates and very crucial issues were discussed during these evening meetings: Issues like, way forward for ngNOG and NREN mandate.

Social Events and Sight Seeing

The University of Benin management hosted delegates to a cocktail on Monday the 4th of November; the cocktail was attended by top officials of the University and all delegates.
Delegates were shown round the ancient Benin city and a visit to the museum in the evening of Friday the 8th of November.

The closing dinner was proudly sponsored by the Bandwidth Consortium (BWC). Delegates were treated to a very nice dinner with entertainment by the University of Benin theater arts group.


We are grateful to the various Institutions and Firms, who contributed instructors and presenters. They include: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (OAU); Yaba College of Technology, Lagos; University of Jos; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Benin; Bayero University Kano; The Bandwidth Consortium; Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN) ; NISTech Ltd; Eko-Konnect; and Meed Networks.

We continue to thank our international friends who are never far away from us, as well as our membership and friends at home.

The Bandwidth Consortium was a distinguished Corporate Sponsor of ngNOG 2013. The conference bags were donated by Meed Networks this year.

ngNOG Benin is a profound statement in so very many ways. It is proudly dedicated to the amazing courage, commitment and support of the delegates, instructors and organizers, hosts, the LOC and interns, the host community and our supporters.

Discussion Lists

To participate in Research and Education activity discussion on the Forum mailing lists, please visit http://abuja.forum.org.ng/mailman/listinfo

There are several mailing lists that you can join based on your interest. Existing subscribers can also edit their preferences there.

ngNOG 2013 Workshop and Meetings

2013-11-03 00:00
2013-11-08 23:59

The 8th edition of the annual Nigerian Network Operators' Group (ngNOG) Workshop and Meetings will be held this year at the University of Benin (UniBen) from the 3rd - 9th November 2013.

The ancient city of Benin which is known for it's traditions and timeless artworks is the capital of Edo State in southern Nigeria. It is a city approximately 25 miles north of the Benin River and is situated 200 miles by road east of Lagos.

Participants will be accommodated at the Precious Palm Royal Hotel

Thank you as we look forward to your participation at the 8th edition of the ngNOG Workshop and Meetings.

Much ado about a broadcast

I write this to remind us admins of the little things that sometimes cause us big headaches and the importance of monitoring which is very easy to neglect.

While I was onsite last month visiting a BWC member institution, the network admin happened to log into his router and saw one of his local interfaces receiving up to 40Mbps traffic. This is a network that rarely gets 10Mbps on that interface. On closer inspection using the Torch feature of the Mikrotik RouterOS, we found that a handful of local computers were sending unusual broadcast traffic painted to look like netbios and DHCP. As first-aid, we filtered the offensive ports and the impact on the router subsided... only to resurrect on different ports a few minutes later.

Although the attacking entities could change ports, they continued to originate as broadcast traffic so that was one common denominator. You can't just block all broadcast traffic, can you? If you do, true DHCP, Netbios and all other traffic that relies on broadcast announcements wouldn't work. With managed switches however, you can limit the percentage of broadcast traffic that each port can send.

As a better fix, we added broadcast rate limits on all the switches (Cisco and HP) within the campus that allowed us to do so. Yes, one more reason why you should have managed switches. The good news now is that for those institutions that consider themselves financially challenged, you can get Managed 5-port Gigabit switches for less than N20,000. You can be creative and use these on building-to-building links within your network so you can easily isolate/contain segments with anomalies. The ones running Mikrotik SwOS include broadcast-limiting as well as a number of other high end features.

Traffic spewing worms are very common with pirated Windows systems that do not have up to date patches. For those who may not understand the impact of a few unpatched MS Windows computers with worms, consider this:
You have a 24-port switch each with a 100Mbps port. Computers on a number of ports start spewing out traffic at the speed of their network cards. Because it is a directed broadcast, they are sending say 10Mbps to every other computer in the same subnet. All of a sudden, the switch finds itself handling 10Mbps times the number of computers in the subnet. If the switch does not die while processing this spurious traffic, it passes it on to the gateway which presumably has at least one leg in the problematic subnet. If your router is not well configured, it wastes CPU cycles handling the rubbish. I also think routing your networks will help reduce the impacts of directed broadcasts though some people say the overhead of multiple routers is a disadvantage.

In the final analysis, monitoring is good and long term monitoring is even better. Without traffic utilization graphs, nobody would have noticed that Internet bandwidth was not being utilized to the maximum. Without interface monitoring tools, we wouldn't have known which interface to investigate further. Without network segmentation, the building in question wouldn't have been located quickly.

However, without looking into your network often enough, you might not be able to tell the difference between the "normal" and the "abnormal". A step further would be to collect long term data from netflow or traffic-flow capable devices for better visibility into what's going on within your network. Think nfsen, cacti and company. Free and easy to install (sometimes even as virtual machine appliances for the busy/lazy/smart)

Intelligent Building..how ready are you?

Umar Uba
December 2012.
Intelligent Building – How ready are you?
The objective in intelligent building is to maximize energy efficiency and to enhance work performance by combining environmental system technologies.
The intelligent building takes energy management system a step further. The purpose is not just to control energy consumption but also to operate the other systems in the building in the most efficient way.
Imagine when a home tells you the garage door is not shut. When a house tells you the light in the baby’s room is left on. Or when the house shuts the windows and power up the air conditioners because it senses you inside and also senses the temperature indoor will make sweat.
The list goes on and on. How ready are you to invest in such a structure?
Conveniences are known to dominate the automobiles and aircraft industry only. These are temporary accommodation for human comfort. Imagine setting out on a journey of about three hours in a very comfortable vehicle. In reaching your destination leaving the keyless car entry to enter your apartment you have to fiddle with the key to unlock the entrance. Fiddling with a switch to lit the room and a fan regulator to provide air and then switched on the air conditioner. How long will it take you to settle in? All the comfort you had enjoyed enroute will be wasted before you pick up again.
What does a building need to be intelligent? Several factors are required to enhance your building to make it intelligent these include:
Power back up system. Not only having a stand-by generator but having a fully back-up of average requirement to last through the rainy day. This is achieved by the use of inverter and battery banks to store energy.
Embedded solar installation. This is done to be part of the structure either of roof, windows and walls. The solar panels are mounted to fit into the structure.
Structured Cabling. This is considered during the initial design embedded during the construction to contain features such as; Network system, Detectors and Fire alarm systems.
The need to have a building intelligently cannot be over emphasized. The security system having couples of camera and monitors with switches to activate alarm in the case of break in. The sense to monitor fire/smoke in a volatile area. Economic saving in energy consumption as the system shut the use of it as you exit, thus saving utility bills.


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The INEC's DDC Machines - their limited use in the 2011 election

Umar uba
Kashim ibrahim library
Ahmadu Bello University
May 2011
The INEC’S DDC Machines – their limited use in the 2011election.
Being under the shadow of networks for a while now , I have come to terms with the progressively changing technology of computers and their networks.
The possibility of having a perfect election in the country for the 2011 was clearly the vision of INEC. This, of course was at their finger tips with these machines in use.
The decision of the government to acquire this technology and put it to use was to completely eliminate the fallacies of elections at all levels.
Computers and networks are required to handle these operations with the trained personnel having them on their laps. The operations solely rely on waves and power.
Firstly, the technology of the computer is beyond the limit of INEC’s operations to exhaust. These computers can even do more. It all depends on what we want them to do.
With what the government concur, to play with the dummies, the finger prints, image capture and data which are the key elements required during the registrations all powers were within the finger tips of the operators. These data once captured remain within the system for its own consumption only unless we use the waves and signals to extract them out either in print or stored in magnetic form.
Secondly, the network aspect of the technology is the medium that shares these resources among the dummies and other locations. It goes beyond the eyes, it is either in waves, light or metal (copper) it’s the wedding ring of computers.

Finger prints which have a probability of one in a million being the same is a major item field required for specicificity. In Nigeria, we have an average of 120- people having the same finger prints. Then comes the picture, this is prone to duplication with twins, kins. The probability of having a duplicate is high. Lastly, could the data/information such as name, age, telephone no etc all be wrong or untraceable?

The computers and other networks equipment are the hard wares that are physically visible to perform these jobs. To use this equipment, software is required to communicate between them. This side of the ddc machines is as important as the other. As the banks have succeeded in centralizing their operations with added limitations so also these machines could be made to follow suit. The software must have the ability to sort the data with accuracy how ever much it is to create very useful information in a millisecond. This ability of the software is far beyond what human calculation could handle.

The INEC registration machines must have come with this software and that was why the registration was a success. Unfortunately the software failed to attend to the issues of multiple registrations and duplicate data entry. This should be the character of each machine. It was as a result of this failure we had people registering in multiple places. These multiple registrations, for some were not deliberate but as result of a system failure during the initial registration. A case so many was when patrons registered and the personnel came back the next day and claimed the system has crashed therefore people must re register. Such cases came out with multiple registrations as the system failed to sort out the duplications.

What was expected from these machines was a similar enquiry and response we do get when registering the yahoomail or gmail address. In such instance the system must be connected to the inter-net. As we register it sifts through it if such a name or data had ever been entered. It then came out with an option. This was because the data provided by us was once entered by someone else. Therefore we have a different identity. The ddc machines could have done more owing to inclusion of finger-print and image.
Another failure of the INEC machines is the lack of wide Area networks for the wards and local government polls, metropolitan Area network for the states polls or the internet for the online one time national polls.

How best to use the ddc machines during elections:
(With everything being equal) having a good working machine with a well programmed software and an excellent network the hope of having a perfect election is at our finger-tips. If all the above conditions are satisfied, and the registration was conducted successfully with all data edited and sorted out all we will require is the fingertips recognition inter face and touch screen to make a perfect election.
Once you place your finger it simply recognizes you and displays a screen of ballot boxes. You then place the other finger tip and select the party of choice. As you release the first finger the screen disappears and waits for the next person. This operation takes barely two minutes.
The authenticity of this is that it can’t be manipulated and two people can’t vote at a time and one person cannot vote twice.
If all these are done, the next and subsequent elections in the country by a determined INEC to have a free, fair, credible and honest election will be hailed not only in Nigeria but world wide for a well handled election.

Umar Uba 2011

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