Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A conference Cuban networking officials and informal networkers should attend -- meet MikroTik

MikroTik is manufacturer of wireless communication systems that ETECSA, the Ministry of Communication, schools, universities, Infomed, etc. should be aware of. They will have a chance to meet MikroTik at a full-day conference in Havana on January 15th. (The conference is free, but pre-registration is required).

I had never heard of MikroTik until they informed me of the upcoming conference. It turns out MikroTik is a Latvian company that has been making WiFi equipment since 1996 and, while they have some home and small office routers, their focus is on wireless ISP and industrial installations.

As shown below, they have world-wide distribution (they run conferences in 8 languages), but have focused much of their effort in developing nations:

MikroTik distributors -- in Havana one day?

After looking at some videos of past conferences and perusing their Web site, it is clear that MikroTik is an engineering-driven company and attendees can expect engineering and case-study content at the conference. Here are some of the presentations:
  • Como evitar los ataques de seguridad más frecuentes
  • Integracion de Mikrotik en la implementacion de WISP
  • Ingenieria de Tráfico con Mikrotik
  • Internet en alta mar - conectividad, seguridad y prevención de averías solucionados con Mikrotik
  • Alimentacion autónoma y control de clima para equipamiento inalámbrico
  • Estudio sobre pruebas de estrés en una red Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n
They do a lot of these conferences and archive videos of the presentations on YouTube. For example, here are the 12 presentations at their conference in Spain this year.

MikroTik conference in Madrid, October 2015

I began this post with a list of government organizations that might be interested in MikroTik, but this conference will also be of interest to the hobbyists and others who are working on informal local area networks and members of the Cuban tech startup community.

I have argued in a number of posts that Cuba should look for ways to introduce competition in the provision of Internet connectivity and software development, while remaining self sufficient. The same applies to the provision of equipment. From what I gather, it seems that Huawei is Cuba's dominant infrastructure equipment supplier -- the government and perhaps the informal networking community should take a look at MikroTik.

Update 2/1/2016

The MikroTik wireless Internet users meeting was held on January 15th, but the location was moved at the last minute. Regardless, Diario de Cuba reported that 100 people attended the conference.

They said the majority were Street Net adminstrators, but representatives of foreign firms, embassies and non-governmental organizations were also there. There were also attendees from universities (UCI and CUJAE), Banco Popular de Ahorro, the Youth Club, Copextel. customs officials and network specialists from the Ministry of Telecommunications.

Cuba should consider MikroTik offerings along with Ubiquity, Huawei and others -- fair, open competition will benefit the people.

If you missed the conference and have Internet access, you can see videos of five of the presentation here. Two on operating a wireless ISP and one on rural Internet installation in Portugal and Guinea Bissau seem to be quite relevant to Cuba.

Below are a few photos from the conference and there are more here.

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