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NANOG 91: A Look into the Latest Trends in Networking

Justin Ryburn
Justin RyburnField CTO


NANOG 91 gathered network professionals to discuss emerging trends and challenges in networking. The event featured keynotes and technical sessions focused on critical areas such as cloud-induced network complexities, the advent of network digital twins, IPv6 deployment, network automation, and BGP routing security. In this post, Justin Ryburn, Field CTO, summarizes his takeaways from the event.


The North American Network Operators’ Group (NANOG) hosted its 91st meeting from June 10-12, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri. This conference, essential for network professionals, brought together industry experts, engineers, and innovators to discuss the latest developments and challenges in networking. Kentik is a proud sponsor of NANOG 91 so I was able to attend. Here’s an overview of the highlights from the agenda and what you missed if you couldn’t make it.


NANOG 91 was held at the Loews Kansas City Hotel. Since I’m based in St. Louis, the trip to Kansas City, Missouri is an easy one for me, and I’d been looking forward to this event. The Loews itself has a great setup for a NANOG conference. There’s plenty of meeting space, an open-concept lobby bar, and lots of hotel rooms for attendees. Being downtown it’s an easy walk to restaurants and other hotels. I did talk to several attendees who had challenges getting flights to and from the Kansas City airport. That’s the one downside to this location, but the upside is NANOG 91 attracted many attendees from the Midwest who hadn’t been to a NANOG in many years due to travel restrictions from their employer.

Keynote sessions

Opening remarks and keynote

NANOG 91 kicked off with a welcome from the Program Committee and the event host, setting the tone for an event focused on trends and best practices in networking as well as collaboration among peers. The keynote address, titled “TCP Terminates on the Floor: The Ebbing Tide of Networking Expertise,” delivered by Corey Quinn from The Duckbill Group, offered a candid exploration of the unintended complexities introduced into networking by cloud adoption. Corey brought his unique blend of humor, expertise, and practical wisdom to NANOG 91, setting a thought-provoking tone for the conference. If you have never heard Corey present, you should definitely check this one out.

Day 2 keynote: Network Digital Twin

Day 2 kicked off with a keynote by Kireeti Kompella from Juniper Networks titled “Network Digital Twin.” If you haven’t heard Kompella present, you’re really missing out. He’s been a thought leader in networking for many years and was one of the inventors of the MPLS protocol. In this talk, Kompella explored the concept of a network digital twin (NDT) – a digital replica of a real network. He discussed the potential benefits of NDTs in the context of increasing network automation. The talk covered what NDTs are, how they could be built, and what they could be used for. The focus was on sparking discussion and collaboration, not on specific products or implementation plans.

Technical sessions

NANOG 91 featured a wide range of other technical sessions covering various aspects of network engineering and operation. Here are a few interesting topics:

  • IPv6 Deployment and Challenges (example)
  • Network Automation and Orchestration (example)
  • Building and Operating Cloud-Native Networks (example)
  • BGP Routing Security and RPKI (example)
  • Network Monitoring and Measurement (example)

Networking beyond the sessions

In addition to the structured sessions, NANOG 91 provided ample networking (the human kind) opportunities. Whether it was during the evening receptions, lunch breaks, Beer N Gear, or impromptu discussions in the hallways, attendees exchanged ideas and fostered new professional relationships. Personally, I serve on NANOG’s Mentorship Committee, where we focus on welcoming new attendees into the NANOG community as well as helping pair mentors and mentees together for career growth. This is part of NANOG’s culture to help grow these relationships.

Why NANOG 91 matters

NANOG 91 was a critical event for those involved in network operations. It brought together thought leaders and practitioners to share their knowledge, tackle pressing challenges, and explore the technologies driving the next generation of networks. As the world becomes more connected and data traffic continues to grow exponentially, discussions and innovations at events like NANOG are crucial for staying ahead in the ever-evolving landscape of network technology.

For more details and to access presentation slides and recordings, visit the NANOG 91 agenda page.

Whether you’re a network engineer looking to stay current or an organization aiming to future-proof your infrastructure, NANOG conferences offer invaluable insights and networking opportunities. Mark your calendars for NANOG 92 (October 21-23, 2024 in Toronto, Canada), and plan now to be part of the conversation shaping the future of networking.

This article originally appeared on Justin Ryburn’s personal blog. Kentik is grateful that we have so many incredible writers on our team, and that they’re willing to share their work with us!

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