The Life of an IPv6 Newbie

My name is Alicia O'Brien and I work in the IPv6 Consortium. I am a senior Computer Science major at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). This past spring I decided I no longer wanted to give out UNH parking tickets (and be public enemy #1) and I needed a Computer Science related job. I had taken a tour of the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) during my Introduction to Computer Science class. I wasn't sure if I had the right skill set for the job until my Computer Science friends told me that a position at the UNH-IOL did not require any prior networking knowledge. I was informed that the UNH-IOL staff would teach me everything I needed to know. When I applied and eventually was hired into the IPv6 Consortium, I had no idea what IPv6 even stood for and promptly Googled the unfamiliar acronym.

After a few weeks of terminating Ethernet cables, a task I do not miss, I received my first device. It is a snazzy IPv6 Server I referred to as Hermione until discovering it had to be restarted between each test case so that it performed Duplicate Address Detection ( the process of checking whether my devices target address is already in use). Testing conformance and interoperability of my device has taught me a lot about IPv6, the new standard protocol for the Internet and about life in a professional office. So far I have enjoyed performing Interoperability testing because I find controlling different devices through the terminal to be quite interesting compared to just using the terminal to update files as I normally do.

Having worked here for six weeks now, I have learned a great deal, but still feel like I've barely scratched the surface. There have been some ups (being paid to take a networking class) and some downs (restarting my device twenty times a day), but overall it has been a good learning experience and much better for my future than giving out tickets to every car in the commuter lot, A-Lot, without a commuter pass (so many)! Testing real products from well-known companies has been eye opening and I think working at the UNH-IOL will definitely help my transition from college to the “real world”.

Alicia O'Brien, Student Technician