From Gender and Tech Resources

This HowTo has been copied from the wiki of the hackerspace Technologia Incognita (located in Amsterdam)


Internet Plumbing

Internet Plumbing is a word-game with multiple layers of meaning (ha! a recursive pun ;-)

Women role models in computing.jpg

Series of Tubes

Ubiquitous and complicated as plumbing?

  • Internet as a utility
  • just like "plumbing" (water & sewage), there is underlying "technology" to it, so complex, that no-one seems to grasp how all of it works
  • 60% of the population of the planet does NOT have "teh Internets", and 30% does not have plumbing either (


Protocol stack hourglass 1.jpeg
  • TCP/IP
  • IPv4, IPv6: Internet Protocol (IP) addresses
  • NAT: Network Address Translation
  • DNS: Domain Name System
  • ASN: Autonomous System Number
    • used for BGP routing (Border Gateway Protocol)
  • IXP: Internet eXchange Point
  • SMTP
  • HTTP
  • CDN


750px-Ipv4 address.svg.png

500px-An example of theoretical DNS recursion-nl.svg.png Becha-Autonomous-system.png

More-dolls-fig2.jpg 200px Email-tmp3163.jpg



  • youtube hijack
  • How IXP's work
  • Net of Rights

Security, Privacy, Avoiding Censorship


MeshNet: "Hackers and philosophers building an utopia together":

November 2014: Nature will have the last word, on Future of Technology, RIPE69

UnCivilization: critical thinking about Internet & capitalism:

Playfull: Internet Simulator:

  • Alternative Network Deployments: Taxonomy, characterization, technologies and architectures


Comparing OSI & TCP / IP layers

Original borrowed from:

TCP / IP Model OSI Model
Layer OSI Layer Protocol data unit (PDU) Function Examples
Application 7. Application Data High-level APIs, including resource sharing, remote file access, directory services and virtual terminals TLS, FTP, HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, SSH, Telnet, BGP!
6. Presentation Translation of data between a networking service and an application; including character encoding, data compression and encryption/decryption CSS, GIF, HTML, XML, JSON
Transport 5. Session Managing communication sessions, i.e. continuous exchange of information in the form of multiple back-and-forth transmissions between two nodes RPC, SCP, NFS, PAP,
4. Transport Segment (TCP) / Datagram (UDP) Reliable transmission of data segments between points on a network, including segmentation, acknowledgement and multiplexing NBF, TCP, UDP
Network /
3. Network Packet Structuring and managing a multi-node network, including addressing, routing and traffic control AppleTalk, ICMP, IPsec, IPv4, IPv6
2. Data link Frame Reliable transmission of data frames between two nodes connected by a physical layer IEEE 802.2, L2TP, LLDP, MAC, PPP, ATM, MPLS
1. Physical Bit Transmission and reception of raw bit streams over a physical medium DOCSIS, DSL, Ethernet physical layer, ISDN, USB

Cross-layer functions:

  • ARP is used to translate IPv4 addresses (OSI layer 3) into Ethernet MAC addresses (OSI layer 2).
  • Domain Name Service is an Application Layer service which is used to look up the IP address of a given domain name. Once a reply is received from the DNS server, it is then possible to form a Layer 3 connection to the third-party host.
  • etc


Explaining complex concepts using layers is a useful abstraction.

Goal here is to illustrate layers by practical examples, and point out owners, developers, dangers, mitigations & alternatives.

This is not exactly technically correct, for the detail oriented people! 
Number Layer name Example Practically Owner Developed by Vulnerabilities / Dangers Mitigation / Securing Alternatives
9 Organisation / Political (Internet) Governance technical community, civil society, governments IGF (Internet Governance Forum), UN, ITU, IETF, ICANN, awareness, take part! someone will build a new *net, AlterNet :-)
8 Individual / Financial Operating System (OS) + choice of software Linux, FreeBSD, Minix...; iOS, Android, Windows... User! programmers & developers: FLOSS community;
Apple, Google,Micro$oft
backdoors, surveillance, spying on users; lock-in; monopoly; community participation; unionization of programmers; see articles here [yy] knowledge, self-empowerment, solidarity
7 Application 7.3 -> VoIP skype
7.2 -> SMTP email
7.1 HTTP: web, WWW web sites! LoLCats! individuals, on their own servers!
blogs (blogspot?), mainstream media, hosting companies; CDNs (Akamai, Amazon...); corporations: Google, Facebook, Twitter... YouTube..
W3c, IETF censorship; silos; walled gardens; commercialization, consumerism; technically: httpS, SSL, TLS; Tor;
politically: activism, digital human rights; associations of users;
torrent! p2p! alternative social media!
6 Presentation HTML, CSS, JSON
5 Session BGP (actually layer 7...) routing: exchanging AS reachability info via gossip: based on trust & peering agreements!
physical routers by routers: Cisco/Juniper (commercial monopolists ;-)
Large ISPs; Tier1 / Tier2 ; IXPs!! RIRs give out AS numbers "routing-wg" @ RIPE; *NOGs! (nano, nlnog, grnog; peering forums; Euro-IX); IETF; Open-Source community ; hackers "route hijacks", government regulation & takeover (killer switch), hierarchies; technically: BGPsec, IRR, RPKI;
politically: influencing governance
p2p protocols, Betman [xx]; MPLS, SDN; Tor?!
4 Transport UDP -> e.g. DNS (see above!) User; Registrar, Registry, ccTLD, gTLD, ICANN, US government! DNS OARC, IETF, root-nameserver operators, ICANN, IGF/UN/ITU "balkanisation", US hegemony; internationalization; censorship; technically: DNSSEC, DANE ; Tor;
politically: participating in governance
Alternative trees; blockchain (namecoin); etc
3 Network Internet / IP ifconfig; IPv4, NAT,, IPv6 no-one: IP addresses are "leased"!
RIR PDP, IANA, IETF hierarchy, run-out, incompatibility, market forces; surveillance IPSec Blockchain? GSM? Radio?
2 Data-link MAC addresses, Ethernet device drivers, WiFi drivers licensed to users Broadcom, Realtech, INTEL.. patents, closed source, Intellectual Property Laws open source SW, open HW  ?!
1 Physical Network connections Ethernet cables, WiFi antennas, fibers, satellites, satellite dishes, base-stations, under-sea cables  ; POTS (old-fashioned phones -> BBS, dialup) Individuals
communities, ISP, "carriers", corporations, governments,
commercial companies, governments
"ownership" models; hierarchy of server-client model; pollution & distraction of Earth; surveillance commoning; shared infrastructure; development of sustainable technologies (?!), recycling; awareness & activism Community WiFi, Project Loon, Drones
HW - end user equipment Computer, tablet, phone... User Commercial companies: Apple, Siemens, Samsung... Un-ethical manufacturing, security backdoors, pollution caused by e-waste disposal, Hard: Open HW movement; fair-phone; DIY, Repair Cafes, fair-trade...

Participate, take action, join

Next topics

Traceroute Much?

At the end of the tutorial, you should watch this video and spot all the places where he is completely WRONG: