Tag Archives: networking

The Net Neutrality Debate – A Supply/Demand Perspective – V. Sridhar, Sasken

(This is a liveblog of a lecture on Network Neutrality by V. Sridhar, a Fellow at Sasken. This talk was delivered as a part of the Turing100@Persistent Lecture Series in Pune. Since it is being typed as the event is happening, it is not really well structured, but should rather be viewed as a collection of bullet points of interesting things said during the talk. For more information about Dr. Sridhar, see his website)

The Problem of Net Neutrality

The principle of “Net Neutrality” states that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally. Thus, the principle states that network service providers (i.e. the telecom companies) should not be allowed to discriminate (i.e. limit or disallow) on network connections and speeds based on the type of traffic. Thus, for example, under net neutrality, a telecom should not be allowed to disallow BitTorrent Downloads, or limit bandwidth for Skype or Video streaming, or provide higher speeds and better quality of service guarantees for just traffic generated by iPhones or US-based companies.

Telecom companies are trying to introduce systems by which different levels of service are provided for different types of traffic, because, they argue that network neutrality is not economically viable.

The Demand for Network Services

  • Mobile broadband and 3G traffic is increasing exponentially
    • Even in India! In the last 7 months there has been 78% growth in 3G traffic, and 47% growth in 2G. India loves mobile broadband
    • Users are getting hooked to 3G. An average 3G user consumes 4 times more data than a 2G user. 3G is an acceptable alternative to wired broadband
    • Mobile data is growing fastest in smaller towns and villages (category B & C circles)
  • Video, voice, and streaming data are taking up huge chunks of bandwidth

NetHeads vs BellHeads

There are two major approaches to the network: the traditional telephone providers who come from a circuit switched Telephone background (the BellHeads), and the people who come from the packet-switched internet protocol background (the NetHeads). The BellHeads believe that the network is smart, endpoints are dumb; they believe in closed, proprietary networks; they expect payment for each service; often with per-minute charges; they want to control the evolution of the network and to control everything about the network. They want strong regulations. The NetHeads philosophy is that network is dumb, and endpoints are smart. So users should take all the decisions; they believe in an open community; and they expect cheap or free services, with no per-minute charges; they want the network to evolve organically without regulations.

To a large extent, the NetHeads are for net neutrality and the BellHeads are in favor of abolishing net neutrality in favor of carefully controlled tiered traffic.

The Supply Side

Land-line penetration is decreasing. On the other hand, mobile penetration continues to increase and is showing no signs of saturation. Fixed-line is losing its relevance, especially in case of emerging countries in India. Which means that increasing chunk of the internet bandwidth is going to be consumed by mobile devices.

LTE (the Long Term Evolution) mobile network is the fastest growing network ever. 300+ different operators all over the world are investing in LTE. This will come to India soon.

Mobile technologies are improving, and individual devices will soon be capable of handling 1Gbps data connections. This means that the capacity of the core network will have to go up to provide the speeds that the device is capable of consuming. And the NetHeads are making good progress and being able to provide high capacities for the core networks.

The problem is that the mobile spectrum is a scarce resource, and will soon become the bottleneck. The other problem is that chunks of the spectrum have to be exclusively allocated to individual operators. And then that operator has to operate just within that chunk.

The Problem of the Commons

When people have shared, unlimited access to a common resource, then each will consume the resource without recognizing that this results in costs for everyone else. When the total amount that everybody would like to consume goes above what is totally available, everybody suffers. This is a problem which will affect the mobile spectrum. The spectrum gets congested, and bandwidth suffers.

How to solve the congestion problem?

  • Congestion pricing. For example, cheaper access after 9pm is an instance of congestion pricing – an attempt to convince some of the users to consume resources when they’re less congested.
  • During periods of congestion, bandwidth is scarce and hence should have high prices. On the other hand, when the network is not congested, then the additional cost of supporting an additional user’s downloads is minimal, hence the user should be given free or very cheap access.

The Net Neutrality Debate

Net neutrality believes that the maximum good of maximum people will happen if networks service providers do not discriminate amongst their customers.

No discrimination means:

  • No blocking of content based on its source, ownership or destination
  • No slowing down or speeding up of content based on source, ownership or destination

Examples of discrimination:

  • In 2005, Madison River Communications (an ISP) blocked all Vonage VoIP phone traffic
  • In 2007, Comcast in the US, restricted some P2P applications (like BitTorrent)
  • In 2009, AT&T put restrictions on what iPhone apps can run on its network
    • Disallowed SlingPlayer (IP based video broadcast) over it’s 3G network
    • Skype was not allowed to run over AT&T’s 3G network

The case for net neutrality:

  • Innovation: Operators/ISPs can kill innovative and disruptive apps if they’re allowed to discriminate
  • Competition: Operators/ISPs can kill competition by selectively disallowing certain applications. For example, if AT&T slows down Google Search, but speeds up Bing Search, this can cause Google Search to die.
  • Consumers: Operators/ISPs will have a strong grip on the consumers and other players will not get easy access to them. This will hurt the consumers in the long run.

The case against net neutrality:

  • Capacity is finite. Especially in the case of mobile broadband (because the spectrum is limited)
  • If there is no prioritization, a few apps will consume too much bandwidth and hurt everybody; and also it reduces the service provider’s motivation to increase bandwidth
  • Prioritization, and higher pricing for specific apps can be used to pay for new innovations in future network capacity increases

Broadband is a two-sided market:

  • Apps and Broadband is a two-sided market.
    • Both, applications and bandwidth are needed by consumers
    • Without applications, users will not consume the bandwidth, because they have nothing interesting to do
    • Without bandwidth, users will not use applications, because they’ll be too slow
    • Hence both have to be promoted simultaneously
  • How should a two-sided market be handled?
    • Usually, one side should to be subsidized so it can grow and help the other grow
    • e.g. Somebody needs to break this cycle and grow one side of this market, so that the other can then grow
    • For example, Google (an app/content provider) is buying fiber and providing 1Gbps connection in Kansas for $70 per month. Thus Google is subsidizing the bandwidth increase, and hopes that the users and apps will increase in proportion.
  • Regulatory and Policy implications
    • Two ways to handle this:
      • Ex Ante: come up with regulations and policies before problems occur
        • Because lawsuits are expensive
        • US is trying to do this – they have exempted mobile providers from net neutrality principles
        • Netherlands has passed net neutrality regulations – first country in the world. Mobile operators are not allowed to disallow or discriminate against services like Skype
        • Rest of Europe: public consultations going on
      • Ex Post: Let the problems occur and then figure out how to deal with them
  • Net Neutrality and India
    • No mention of net neutrality in the NTP (National Telecom Policy 2012)
    • Fair Usage Policy (FUP)
      • Is against net neutrality (maybe)
      • It discriminates against users, but does not discriminate against applications
      • But it is indirect discrimination against applications – because users who use BitTorrent and other bandwidth heavy applications will be more affected by FUP
      • Affects innovation – because users are discouraged from using innovative, bandwidth heavy applications

Event Report: The Work and Impact of Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf

(This is a liveblog of the Turing100@Persistent Lecture on Bob Kahn and Vint Cerf by R. Venkateswaran, CTO of Persistent Systems. Since it is being typed as the event is happening, it is not really well structured, but should rather be viewed as a collection of bullet points of interesting things said during the talk.)

Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn

Vint Cerf: Widely known as the father of the internet. He is President of the ACM, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, Chairman of the ICANN and many other influential positions. In addition to the Turing Award, he has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 and was elected to the Internet Hall of Fame in 2012.

Bob Kahn: Worked at AT&T Bell Labs, MIT, then while working with BBN, he got involved with the DARPA and Vint Cerf and they together worked on packet switching networks, and invented the IP and TCP.

The birth of the internet: TCP and IP. 70s and 80s.

  • The Internet:

    • The first 20 years:
      • Trusted network
      • Defense, Research and Academic network
      • Non-commercial
      • Popular apps: email, ftp, telnet
    • Next 20 years:
      • Commercial use
      • Multiple levels of ownership – increased distrust and security concerns
      • Wide range of apps: email, WWW, etc
  • What did Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn do?

    • The problem:
      • There were many packet switched networks at that time
      • But very small, limited and self contained
      • The different networks did not talk to each other
      • Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn worked on interconnecting these networks
    • The approach

      • Wanted a very simple, and reliable interface
      • Non-proprietary solution. Standardized, non-patented, “open”
      • Each network talked its own protocol, so they wanted a protocol neutral mechanism of connecting the networks.
      • Each network had its own addressing scheme, so they had to invent a universal addressing scheme.
      • Packets (information slices) forwarded from one host to another via the “internetwork”
      • Packets sent along different routes, no guarantees of in-order delivery. Actually no guarantee of delivery
      • Packets have sequence numbers, so end point needs to reassemble them in order
    • The protocol

      • A “process header” identifies which process on the end host should be delivered the packets. This is today called the “port”
      • Retransmissions to ensure reliable delivery. And duplicate detection.
      • Flow control – to limit number of un-acknowledged packets, prevent bandwidth hogging
      • A conceptual “connection” created between the end processes (TCP), but the actual network (IP) does not know or understand this
      • Mechanism to set up and tear down the “connection” – the three-way handshake
      • This are the main contributions of their seminal paper
    • The Layered Network Architecture
      • Paper in 1974 defining a 4 layered network model based on TCP/IP.
      • This later became the basis of the 7 layer network architecture
    • The Internet Protocol
    • Packet-switched datagram network
    • Is the glue between the physical network and the logical higher layers
    • Key ideas:
      • Network is very simple
      • Just route the packets
      • Robust and scalable
      • Network does not guarantee any thing other than best effort
        • No SLA, no guarantee of delivery, not guarantee of packet ordering
      • Dumb network, smart end-host
      • Very different from the existing, major networks of that time (the “circuit-switched” telephone networks of that time)
      • No state maintained at any node of the network
    • Advantages
      • Can accommodate many different types of protocols and technologies
      • Very scalable
    • The Transport Layer
    • UDP
      • Most simplistic higher level protocol
      • Unreliable, datagram-based protocol
      • Detect errors, but no error corrections
      • No reliability guarantees
      • Great for applications like audio/video (which are not too affected by packet losses) or DNS (short transactions)
    • TCP
      • Reliable service on top of the unreliable underlying network
      • Connection oriented, ordered-stream based, with congestion and flow control, bi-directional
      • State only maintained at the end hosts, not at the intermediate hosts

Internet 2.0 – Commercialization

  • The birth of the world wide web: late 80s early 90s
    • Tim Berners-Lee came up with the idea of the the world-wide-web
    • 1993: Mosaic, the first graphical web browser
    • First Commercial ISP (Internet Service Provider) – Dial up internet
    • Bandwidth doubling every 6 months
    • Push for multi-media apps
  • Push for higher bandwidth and rich apps
    • Net apps (like VoIP, streaming video) demand higher bandwidth
    • Higher bandwidth enables other new applications
    • Apps: email, email with attachments, streaming video, intranets, e-commerce, ERP, Voice over Internet, Interactive Video Conferencing
  • Dumb Network no longer works
    • Single, dumb network cannot handle all these different applications
    • Next Generation Networks evolved
    • Single, packet-switched network for data, voice and video
    • But with different levels of QoS guarantees for different services
  • Clash of Network Philosophies: BellHeads vs NetHeads (mid-90s)
    • Two major approaches: the BellHeads (circuit switched Telephone background), and the NetHeads (from the IP background)
    • BellHeads philosophy: network is smart, endpoints are dumb; closed, proprietary communities; expect payment for service; per-minute charges; Control the evolution of the network; want strong regulations
    • NetHeads philosophy: network is dumb, endpoints are smart; open community; expect cheap or free services; no per-minute charges; want network to evolve organically without regulations.
    • These two worlds were merging, and there was lots of clashes
    • BellHead network example: Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) network
      • Fixed sized packets over a connection oriented network
      • Circuit setup from source to destination; all packets use same route
      • Low per-packet processing at each intermediate node
      • Much higher speeds than TCP/IP (10Gbps)
      • A major challenge for the NetHeads
    • Problems for NetHeads
      • To support 10Gbps and above, each packet needs to be processed in less than 30ns, which is very difficult to do because of all the processing needed (reduce TTL, lookup destination address, manipulate headers, etc)
      • As sizes of networks increased, sizes of lookup tables increased
      • Almost read to concede defeat
    • IP Switching: Breakthrough for NetHeads
      • Use IP routing on top of ATM hardware
      • Switch to ATM circuit switching (and bypass the routing layer) if a long-running connection detected.
      • Late 90s, all IP networking companies started implementing variations on this concept
    • MPLS: Multi-Protocol Lable Switching
      • Standard developed by IP networking companies
      • Insert a layer between TCP and IP (considered layer 2.5)
      • Separates packet forwarding from packet routing
      • Edges of the network do the full IP routing
      • Internal nodes only forward packets, and don’t do full routes
      • Separate forwarding information from routing information, and put forwarding info in an extra header (MPLS label – layer 2.5)
      • MPLS Protocol (mid-97)
        • First node (edge; ingress LSR) determines path, inserts MPLS label header
        • Internal nodes only look at MPLS label, and forwards appropriately, without doing any routing and without looking at IP packet
        • Last node (edge; egress LSR) removes the MPLS label
        • Label switching at intermediate nodes can be implemented in hardware; significant reduction in total latency
      • MPLS is now basis of most internet networking

Internet 3.0: The Future

End of the network centric viewpoint. (Note: These are futuristic predictions, not facts. But, for students, there should be lots of good project topics here.)

  • Problems with today’s internet
    • Support for mobility is pretty bad with TCP/IP.
    • Security: viruses, spams, bots, DDOS attacks, hacks
      • Internet was designed for co-operative use; not ideal for today’s climate
    • Multi-homing not well supported by TCP/IP
      • Change in IP address results in service disruption
      • What if you change your ISP, your machine, etc?
      • Cannot be done seamlessly
    • Network is very machine/ip centric (“Where”)
      • What is needed are People-centric networks (“Who”) and content centric (“What”)
      • IP address ties together identity and location; this is neither necessary, nor desirable
  • Three areas of future research:
    • Delay Tolerant Network (DTN) Architecture
      • Whenever end-to-end delay is more than a few 100 milliseconds, various things start breaking in today’s networks
      • DTN’s characterized by:
        • Things that are not always connected to the network. For example, sensor networks, gadgets, remote locations. Another Example: remote villages in Africa have a bus visiting them periodically, and that gives them internet access for a limited time every day.
        • Extremely Long Delays
        • Asymmetric Data Rates
        • High Error Rates
      • Needs a store-and-forward network
    • Content-centric Networks
      • Instead of everything being based on IP-address, how about giving unique identifiers to chunks of content, and define a networking protocol based on this
      • Strategy: let the network figure out where the content is and how to deliver it
      • Security: the content carries the authorization info, and unauthorized access is prevented
    • Software Defined Networks
      • Virtualizing the Network
      • Search the net for: “OpenFlow”
      • Hardware Router only does packet forwarding, but end applications can update the routing tables of the router using the OpenFlow protocol. App has a OpenFlow controller that sends updates to the OpenFlow agent on the Hardware Router.
      • In the hardware/OS world, virtualization (VMWare, Xen, VirtualBox) are slowly taking over; OpenFlow is a similar idea for network hardware
      • Oracle, VMWare have had major acquisitions in this space recently

Turing100 Lecture: Vint Cerf + Bob Kahn – “Fathers of the Internet” – 8 Sept

Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn invented TCP and IP, the two protocols at the heart of the internet, and are hence considered the “Fathers of the Internet”. For this and other fundamental contributions, they were awarded the Turing award in 2004.

On 8th September, R. Venkateswaran, CTO of Persistent Systems, will give a talk on the life and work of Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn as a part of the Turing 100 Lecture Series organized by Persistent in Pune on the first Saturday of every month (although this month it was shifted to the second Saturday).

In addition, this Saturday’s event will also feature a talk on “Net Neutrality: The Supply and Demand Side Perspective” by Dr. V Sridhar, a research fellow with Sasken.

About the Turing Awards

The Turing awards, named after Alan Turing, given every year, are the highest achievement that a computer scientist can earn. And the contributions of each Turing award winner are then, arguably, the most important topics in computer science.

About Turing 100 @ Persistent Lecture Series

This year, the Turing 100 @ Persistent Lecture Series will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth by having a monthly lecture series. Each lecture will be presented by an eminent personality from the computer science / technology community in India, and will cover the work done by one Turing award winner.

The lecture series will feature talks on Ted Codd (Relational Databases), Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn (Internet), Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie (Unix), Jim Gray, Barbara Liskov, and others. Full schedule is here

This is a lecture series that any one in the field of computer science must attend. These lectures will cover the fundamentals of computer science, and all of them are very relevant today.

Fees and Registration

This is a free event. Anyone can attend.

The event will be at Dewang Mehta Auditorium, Persistent Systems, SB Road, from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday 8th September. This event is free and open for anybody to attend. Register here

Ajit Shelat, 1 Sept 2010

(Pune based serial entrepreneur, Ajit Shelat, passed away yesterday. This article and photo are by flickr user drona and are taken from this page. They’re reproduced here under the terms of the Creative Commons (BY-NC) license under which that page is published.)

Ajit Shelat

My friend Ajit Shelat passed away today. He was driving on the Mumbai-Pune Highway, and had an accident at about 530pm September 1, 2010.

He was a fellow alumnus and contemporary of IIT-Mumbai.

Trained entirely in India, he was perhaps the first Indian engineer who designed and developed a very complex LAN security chipset at Nevis Networks, entirely based out of Pune, India.

He was a co-founder of RIMO technologies, Switch-on Networks(with Moti Jiandani), and Nevis Networks. Switch-On Networks was sold to PMC-Sierra for $300M+.

He supported a wide variety of environmental causes and an avid hiker and naturalist. A prolific entrepreneur himself, he generously gave his time and money to his favorite causes: The environment, education and entrepreneurs.

Said Yatin Mundkur, a venture capitalist at Artiman Ventures, who used to work for Ajit at Godrej Industries, in the mid-eighties: “I am who I am today, because of Ajit. And a lot of us who reported to him at Godrej would gladly say that.”

I will fondly remember the many hikes I took with him, and particularly the many discussions I had with him during the early X Window System days.

He is survived by his wife Radha Shelat and daughter Arundhati, and mother and sister.


(Ajit Shelat was most recently the President and CEO of Nevis Networks, a company that he was trying to turn around after he and his partners had acquired the assets of the company from the previous investors. PuneTech had interviewed Ajit just before this. He is survived by his wife, Radha Shelat, (VP Engineering, and India MD of Librato, previously CTO of Symantec Pune & Veritas Pune), and daughter.)

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ITpio.org Pune Event: Need of Networking for IT Professionals

What: Inaugural session of the Pune Chapter of ITpio.org – IT Professionals of Indian Origin, featuring talk on “Need of Networking for IT Professionals” by Khanderao Kand, Director of SOA at Oracle
When: Saturday, 3rd October, 5pm to 6pm
Where: Zinnia conference room, 4th floor, Building B, Symantec Software, near Hotel Mahabaleshwar, Baner Road
Registration and Fees: This event is free for all to attend. No registration required.

Need of Networking for IT Professionals

By Mr. Khanderao Kand, Principal Architect/ Director SOA Architecture at Oracle Corp, USA.

Khanderao Kand, M Tech, IITB, is a Principal Architect / Director SOA Architecture at Oracle Corp, USA. He is involved in the development of Oracle’s SOA Suite. He provides Architectural consultancy to more than fifty projects of Oracle’s next generation Fusion Applications to architect their solutions around SOA and BPM. More than 50 Apps architects and almost two thousand developers work in the project. He has been involved in the development of various industry standards like BPEL 2.0, SCA-Assembly, SCA-BPEL etc. He is socially active and has a national level role in a leading voluntary organization.

About ITpio Pune

ITpio is a worldwide networking association of IT Professionals of Indian Origin. ITPio aims to bring professionals in the fields of hardware and software together for their career and personal development while contributing back to the IT profession and community. ITPio aspires to represent the interests of Indian IT Professionals in the policies and issues related to Information Technology.

For more information, call the coordinators :

Nihar Mehta, +91 98509 96348, nihar_n_mehta@yahoo.com
Anurag Agarwal, +91 98812 54401, anurag@kqinfotech.com
Ravindra Sahasrabudhe, +91 98903 81929, ravigs@hotmail.com
Swarraj Kulkarni, +91 98500 23426, swarraj_k@yahoo.com
Ajit Deshpande, +91 98224 48602, adeshp1@gmail.com

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Pre-Proto Startup Networking event – July 24

Proto.in Logo
Click on the logo to find all punetech articles about proto

Proto.in, the premier startup event in the country, is happening in Pune this Saturday, so the who’s who of the startup world will descend upon Pune. This is a chance for Pune’s entrepreneurs and wannapreneurs to meet interesting people. Unfortunately, proto.in had limited seats and they are all gone, so, on popular demand, proto. in has created a pre-proto networking event for all those who will not be at proto.in – to give them a chance to network with the visitors who are coming in to town for proto.in.

The event will be on Friday, 24 July, from 5pm to 7pm at Hall No. 5, MCCIA Trade Tower, ICC Complex, S.B. Road. A fee of Rs. 100 will be collected at the door. If you want to attend, send an email to Maya at maya.m@mentorsquare.com.

What to expect at the event? There will be some sort of a panel discussion on “Transforming Business Environments.” I have no idea what that means, and the topic is so generic that I’m sure the discussion will also be generic. But don’t let the prescribed agenda fool you. The agenda and panel discussion is only there to get all the people in one room. The real benefit of going to such events is the networking that happens before and after (and some of it during) the event. You meet people who can help you find customers, people who can provide some useful service to your startup, people who just generally give you some insightful piece of advice that can change the course of your startup, people who over time become advisors for your startup (we met the most important advisor of our startup at one such event).

3 hours and Rs. 100 is a low price to pay for all these opportunities.

India/China better markets today for tech startups – Ajit Shelat, SVP, Nevis Networks

Ajit Shelat Nevis Networks
Ajit Shelat, Senior Vice President of Engineering, Nevis Networks

Nevis Networks, a mostly-Pune-based-company (with “official” headquarters in the US, and an additional center in China), builds network switches and other network hardware that allows a company to secure it’s internal network from attacks and to enforce identity-based security policies. The company’s LANenforcer product family transparently protects the network from external malicious attacks, and also allows restricting access to different network resources based on users’ identities according to policies set by the system administrators. This can be customized to ensure different levels of access to different classes of users, employees, contractors, guests and other third parties. In addition, the product allows detailed reporting, auditing, employee activity reports that make it possible to analyze security breaches in very granular detail. And because it is hardware based, all of this is delivered in realtime with very low latency.

Nevis Networks’ customers range from financial services, healthcare, education and defense contractors and they deploy Nevis LANenforcers to protect sensitive network resources and assets, with an intention of reducing the overall costs and time to resolve security breaches and conduct network audits. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, CA, with additional R&D centers in Pune, India and Beijing, China.

The ongoing recession has hit Nevis Networks hard, and it downsized a very large fraction of its workforce late last year. On top of that, on Monday, in a report title “LSI Acquires Manpower Team of Navis Networking”, CXOToday implied that the company (which they alternately identified as Navis Networks or Nevis Networks in the article) had shutdown and the team taken over by LSI. Specifically, this is what CXOToday said:

With recession being an opportunity to invest for big MNCs, LSI Technologies, a provider of innovative silicon, systems and software technologies has acquired the team of Navis Networking based at Pune. With the R&D unit based out of Mountain View, California shutting down, LSI has acquired the manpower of the captive R&D centre in India.

After hearing from PuneTech readers that this report is misleading, we caught up with Ajit Shelat, Senior Vice President of Engineering for Nevis Networks, to learn that the reports of Nevis’ demise have been greatly exaggerated. Here is a quick report of the conversation we had with Ajit:

On the news that LSI has “acquired” the “manpower” of Nevis but not the company.

The report by CXOToday is misleading. What actually happened is much simpler. Due to the economic downturn last year, Nevis Networks was looking to downsize some of its workforce. A friendly interaction between the respective managements of Nevis and LSI led to movement of some of Nevis manpower to LSI. This was a simple case of Nevis ex-employees being hired by LSI en masse. It does not represent any sort of acquisition or even agreement between Nevis and LSI. And these are certainly not the entire team of Nevis Networks India, as implied by the CXOToday article.

In any case, Nevis networks is not shutting down. It continues to execute on a with strategy and focus.

On the current status of Nevis Networks

Nevis networks core team is still there and it is going strong. In fact, the last quarter was quite good and has been the best quarter for Nevis since the inception of the company.

What has happened is that due to the downturn, Nevis shifted its focus away from the US market to the India and China markets, reduced its workforce in the US and in India, and this new strategy appears to be working for them.

On the surprising fact that India/China are better markets than the US market

Since Nevis Networks is selling cutting edge technology, one would have expected US to be the logical market for these products. However, people really underestimate the extent of the effect the economic recession is having on the market there. While the markets really melted around September 2008, the signs have been obvious for at least an year before that, and starting Nov/Dec 2007, Nevis had started planning its strategy of shifting focus away from the US market to the India/China markets.

In tune with their new strategy, Nevis substantially reduced its India workforce. They continue to support existing customers in the US, but new customers are coming mainly from India – which is apparently not affected by the recession as much. In general, it is easier for a company with mainly Indian promoters to sell in India than in other countries.

China is another country where sales are expected to grow – Nevis is in the process of stengthening its sales presence in China. The Chinese market, having a significantly different character, takes a longer ramp up time to achieve its full potential – though a very good start has been made in terms of immediate sales. Like other markets, achieving full potential is really a function of getting the right people on the ground, and building the right relationships and customer confidence. All this effort is justified by the fact that the Chinese market has the potential to scale up dramatically.

More about Nevis Networks

Nevis Networks was founded in 2002 with the intention of building a network security solution with high speed and low latency, using its proprietary ASIC-based technology. As of last year, Nevis had raised a total of US$40 million in three rounds of funding from premier venture capital firms New Enterprise Associates, BlueRun Ventures (formerly Nokia Venture Partners) and New Path Ventures LLC. We are told that their funding situation has recently changed and an announcement to this effect is expected in the next couple of weeks.

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How To Effectively Use Linkedin For Professional Networking: 30 DOs and DON’Ts

Once in a while a technology feature/product really appeals to you, and you have that ‘Aha! Experience’. “Why didn’t I think of this before? This makes perfect sense!”  I felt the same way when I first signed up on Linkedin in 2004. Linkedin was a fairly small, unknown networking portal back then. It surely has come a long way!


My first reaction was, here I have a way to maintain a ‘dynamic address book’. Other address books maintained in email programs are ‘static’. They have to be manually updated, and get out of synch when your contact changes jobs/schools/location/etc. I gradually started building my network in 2004. Over the past 4 years, I have been able to grow my network significantly through Linkedin. Various new features have been added over this period those greatly enhance networking capabilities. Features focused on tracking former colleagues and classmates were very helpful in finding these old friends.


Today, I have a large contact base of over 500 contacts. I extensively use Linkedin to keep track of my network (changes/updates/etc.) as well as for finding new connections. The recently introduced ‘connections update’ feature is extremely useful. You can get daily alerts about changes in your network (profile changes, network changes, etc.)


I think of a Linkedin profile as a summarized background with specific emphasis on specialties and areas of interest. The Linkedin framework if leveraged effectively can help you build an excellent network. [Note -To me ‘recruitment aid/job hunting’ is a tactical objective for using Linkedin; ‘networking’ is a more strategic objective in my view.]


In this article, I will discuss ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of effective Linkedin usage, based on my experience. These points are specifically written for a new linkedin user or someone who doesn’t use it extensively, but wants to learn more. I have benefited greatly from following these simple guidelines in building my network and staying in touch with it.


Dos & Don’ts


0. Maintain brief, accurate and current profile information about yourself. Clearly list your specialties and provide a brief summary.


1. Update the correct geographic location. For users in India, there is a known issue/bug regarding Indian zip codes and how linkedin interprets it. E.g. Entering Pune area zip codes will end up displaying ‘Satara Area’ as your location. Similar issues are also there with a few other major cities in India. Until this is fixed, I would not populate anything in the zip code field (just put ‘111111’). That way, the location will show up as ‘India’.


2. Update a non-work email address on your profile.


3. I personally am not a big fan of recommendations. If you really have a good recommendation from someone senior, then put it up, otherwise don’t put them just for the sake of it. Do restrict the number of recommendations.


4. Ensure that education experience is correctly updated. This is very important.


5. As far as possible, avoid chronological gaps in your profile.


6. Do ensure that you have correct names and tenure for your companies and educational institutes. Typos here will prevent you from effectively using the class-mates and colleagues feature.


7. Avoid writing a long winding description of your experience. Remember, a linkedin profile is a ‘profile’ and not a detailed resume.


8. Use the ‘My Company’, ‘My Website’ links to add information about your company websites, your blog, websites that you are involved with, etc.


9. Remember, Linkedin is a professional networking tool, and not a social networking tool. Hence keep the profile/language/messages professional.


10. After you have finished all updates, do view your profile once, to check for any obvious typos or formatting errors.


11. Send invites to all key professional contacts from your address book. Use some discretion here. Sending invites to people who may not recognize you (people with whom you have had limited interactions) could result in rejections.


12. First send invites to those contacts that are already signed up on Linkedin. Probability of them connecting with you is higher than someone who is not already on Linkedin.


13. Leverage the class-mates and colleagues feature to find and link with former co-workers and school & college friends. This feature lets you send invites without having the email address. However, if you send invites to too many folks who don’t recognize you, and who end up rejecting your invite – you might end up in some linkedin trouble! Linkedin can temporarily put a hold of sending any further invites if you accumulate too many rejections.


14. While leveraging your contacts list to connect with someone in your 2nd or 3rd degree separated network, make sure you write a brief and clear note (to your contact, as well as the end recipient).


15. Avoid sending ‘Spam Invites’. In general, maintain some guidelines regarding who are trying to connect with. There are no hard and fast rules, but I usually try to restrict this to people I have met with in context of some business meeting/seminar/conference/networking event. I hate invitations that come from people who I haven’t even met or exchanged any emails!


16. Do monitor the ‘Just Joined Linkedin’ tab. Often times one of your friends/colleagues would show up on this list. You can directly send an invite to this person, if you already have their email id and add them to your contacts list.


17. Avoid participating in too many irrelevant groups. A few relevant groups can help you in two ways. 1) I like to look at linkedin group as an ‘electronic T Shirt’. It’s a way to proclaim to the world that you belong to a specific alumni or professional association. 2) A way to exchange discussions and establish contacts with other members of the groups. I am a big fan of #1 and don’t think linkedin is doing great with #2. Probability of getting connected to someone, whom you send an invite just because you are on the same group, is pretty low. Also, the quality of discussions on linkedin groups today leaves a lot to be desired compared to Google or Yahoo groups.


18. I personally prefer to not to hide the contacts list from my connections. This is subjective, and I know some people who keep the list private. However, I think this creates a negative (anti-networking) perception in the mind of their contacts.


19. If you are really adding some confidential person (e.g. competitor, etc.) to your connections list, then keep the network private. However, the best solution would be not to add such people to your network in the first place!


20. If you actively use multiple email addresses, do enter them into your linkedin profile. This way, if you receive an invitation on any of these email ids, it will automatically show up on your linkedin homepage. This will also prevent linkedin from accidentally creating two different accounts for you. If this happens, send a note to linkedin support and I believe they can merge the two accounts.


21. Linkedin recently started providing a way to update a one-line status about your activity. Use it, where it makes sense. I know some people who abuse it by changing the tag line literally everyday. This can be counterproductive. Remember, this is not like a tag line on your instant messaging device.


22. Try to maintain some communication with your contacts (in some cases, even once a year is sufficient). I know many people who absolutely forget about some of their contacts for years, after adding them.


23. However DO NOT SPAM your network. If you want to forward or send messages that you think are relevant, do so very carefully and make sure you send it to that subset of your network that will find it ‘relevant’!


24. Recently, linkedin started supporting ‘linkedin apps’. I have used the wordpress plugin thus far and it is a very good way to selectively display articles summary from your blog on your profile. Applications like Trip It also look interesting.


25. Create a personalized name (like a login name) for your linkedin profile. This way, your linkedin profile will display in the www.linkedin.com/in/YOUR_USER_NAME format (e.g. www.linkedin.com/in/aparanjape) instead of some complicated alpha numerical id.


26. Make your profile ‘public’ for search engines. This way, it will show up on web searches.


27. Once in a while, it’s a good idea to backup your contacts. This can be done by exporting your contacts list into Outlook or into an Excel File.


29. Do you use the new analytics feature ‘People who looked at this profile also viewed…’ This can sometimes come with terrific suggestions!


29. ‘Who has viewed my profile’ can also provide some interesting insights from time to time.


30. ‘People you name know’ is another new powerful feature that can suggest some good potential connections.


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Events: Pune OpenCoffee Club meeting & Startup “lunch” combined today

The Pune OpenCoffee Club and the Pune Startup “Lunch” events are being combined into one event to be held today (Friday, 4th April) at 5:30pm on the terraces of Bookeazy on BMCC road. (No, there will be no lunch at 5:30pm.)

The Pune OpenCoffee Club (POCC) is an informal club for people interested in the Pune startup ecosystem to meet regularly for discussions, exchange of ideas and networking. The Pune Startup Lunch is gathering where people interested in working for startups can meet founders of startups to get an idea of the possibilities.

Mukesh Singhal of Canaan Partners will also attend to mingle with entrepreneurs. He is also interested in meeting with startups on Saturday. Send him an e-mail at msinghal@canaan.com if you are interested.

The event is free and open for all. You should attend if you are:

  • A founder of a startup
  • Interested in starting a startup someday
  • Interested in working for a startup
  • Generally interested in the Pune startups ecosystem

Details of venue and directions are here. See here to get an idea of who have already confirmed attendance attending.