Keep Ukraine Connected
2022-07-22, 21:40–22:30, Battery 🔋

In March 2022 the Global NOG Alliance (GNA) started the Keep Ukraine Connected task force to help network operators in Ukraine during and after the invasion. These are our experiences. A simple idea turned into an interesting logistics puzzle with a steep learning curve into customs rules.

What started as a simple idea ("Our goal is to help network operator groups, I'm sure there is more that we can do than hosting their websites and email when there is a war going on) turned into a global aid campaign. We have shipped a truck full of network equipment to Ukraine, and that was only a tiny part. Many companies and individuals from around the world have donated money, hardware and software to help the Ukrainian network operators. Everything from WiFi access points and PoE switches to be used in the bomb shelters to full-rack core routers for rebuilding their infrastructure.

In the end the logistics are the hardest part. Finding warehouses to temporarily store the donated hardware to getting help shipping equipment across borders and through complicated customs rules (network devices are dual-use goods, and convincing customs officers that a truck full of gear qualifies as humanitarian aid can be a challenge…)

I'm an internet engineer in the broadest sense of the term. I started in 1995 with a small ISP in Apeldoorn (NL), and in those days you had to do everything yourself: from configuring the router (singular) to compiling the kernel and software for your webserver and email server.

I studied computer science at the University of Twente and have been a self-employed consultant since 2010, doing projects for enterprise and ISP customers. Since 2021 I have been working for 6connect, a company that makes enterprise DDI (DNS & DHCP & IPAM) software.