By Gerard Best
MONTEGO BAY—Anyone interested in the development of the Internet in Caribbean may have already heard of CaribNOG, the Caribbean Network Operators Group. Over the past decade, this volunteer-based community of computer engineers has grown into a formidable influencer in the regional technology arena. Today, its twice-yearly regional gatherings are among the most highly anticipated events on the Caribbean’s tech calendar.
CaribNOG facilitates education and training for those in the Caribbean responsible for designing, deploying and maintaining computer networks. This year, when the three-day event kicks off on April 20 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, CaribNOG will be breaking new ground.
“The Caribbean’s technology landscape is evolving rapidly, and CaribNOG plays a key role in helping the region keep pace with global trends,” said Bevil Wooding, one of the founders of the organisation.
“The same challenges experienced across networks in larger regions are now confronting networks in the smaller, resource-constrained markets of the Caribbean,” he said. “From cyber-attacks and network outages to malicious software and challenges of scaling networks to meet growing demand, network administrators have to constantly adapt and evolve.”
Wooding (pictured above) has a unique vantage point into the intriguing world of Internet engineers, infrastructure and bottom-up decision making. As one of the region’s leading voices in the technology arena and an Internet Strategist with the technology research non-profit, Packet Clearing House, he has been instrumental in growing CaribNOG’s influence regionally and internationally.
“At the eleventh regional gathering of CaribNOG this week, we’re expecting our largest turnout to date, with participation from network operators, telecommunications regulators, academics, Internet service providers, engineering and computer science students, special interest groups and government representatives, drawn from across the region and around the world,” he said.
That’s no surprise. The Montego Bay event has attracted the attention of major international technology players such as Google, Akamai, the Latin American Internet Registry (LACNIC), the Internet Society (ISOC) and the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN).
“CaribNOG 11 is being hosted in conjunction with ARIN’s public policy meeting as part of an ongoing collaboration between the two groups to increase awareness in the region of various Internet policy and technical developments,” said Jamaican-born Stephen Lee, CaribNOG’s program director.
Lee is a network engineer and CEO of US-based technology solutions provider Arkitechs. He added that CaribNOG also receives strong support from the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), the inter-governmental agency responsible for information and communications technology in the CARICOM region.
“CaribNOG has worked closely with the CTU over the years to educate government officials about technology trends and their impact on public policy.”
The array of high-profile technology experts expected to speak at CaribNOG 11 includes Shernon Osepa, Manager, Regional Affairs for Latin America and the Caribbean at ISOC, Albert Daniels, Senior Manager of Stakeholder Engagement for the Caribbean at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, Bill Woodcock, Executive Director of Packet Clearing House, and Owen De Long of Akamai.
Also among the slate of presenters are representatives from local and regional organisations such as the Organisation for Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the University of the West Indies (UWI), the Government of Jamaica and Cable and Wireless.
CaribNOG 11 runs from April 20 to 22 at the Half Moon Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Free online registration is available at CaribNOG’s official website, www.caribnog.org.