I am Thilina Dhanushka Kalahe Pathirana a Network/Systems Engineer from Lanka Education and Research Network (LEARN). As a postgraduate in Information Security and an experienced computer network professional, I am engaged in various network, systems and security related deployments, training and community driven functions. Following is a brief bio on me.
As soon as I graduated from University of Kelaniya (UoK) in 2010, I joined their staff as a temporary demonstrator to do lectures on office courses for freshers. But at that time, as I was a CCNA holder, I was selected to do the Network Admin tasks as there was a vacant position called Assistant Network Manager. Meantime I got the chance in lecturing for students in Computer Hardware and Networking as well.
I worked for UoK for about 2 and half years and during that time, in 2011 I was able to configure IPv6 in University Core networks which become one of the first IPv6 installations in Sri Lanka. Also, I was able to engineer a Wi-Fi solution which covered most of the crowded areas in the university and it is considered to be the first university-wide Wi-Fi solution in Sri Lankan universities. Also during that time, I had to manage around 20 technical staff who were responsible for maintaining computing assets. UoK is consist of more than 85% of non-IT users and it was a great challenge handling them as it was my first job. During that period I also gained the City and Guilds Electronic Engineering Diplomas and UK Engineering Council Graduate Diploma as I was passionate about electronics as well.
In 2013, I got an offer from Virtusa (Pvt) Ltd in Colombo to join them as a Specialist Engineer. I got engaged in off-shore activities of British Telecom and Phillips Healthcare, where I had the chance to experience how real-world IT guys work. Also, it was a great opportunity for me to learn a lot of technical things in Linux and Cisco environments.
My career at Virtusa was a short one of about 9 months as UoK re-invited me by offering a permanent position as Assistant Network Manager. With this official assignment I was able to expand the Wi-Fi project and today it is one of the biggest non-isp owned Wi-Fi networks in Sri Lanka with centrally managed carrier grade AP’s and more than 4000 concurrent users.
During that time we were able to provide IPv6 end-user connectivity and today UoK is the biggest IPv6 user base in LEARN community ( http://www.learn.ac.lk/wg/IPv6). Also in 2015, I was able to connect UoK wireless network with eduroam becoming the first university to do so in LK. Because of this, I got the chance working with “Extending eduroam in the Asia Pacific” (XEAP) project and promote eduroam in Sri Lanka. Along those work, I was able to introduce VOIP system, perimeter security systems, a helpdesk system and many more to UoK.
Also during that time I had chance to implement vmware based virtualized systems for UoK and to upgrade their core network to 10G with the adoption of Cisco Nexus devices.
As I was interested in cybersecurity, I obtained my master’s in information security from the University of Colombo and it helped me a lot in maintaining security policies at UoK which was introduced also by me while I was working there as a temporary net admin.
Due to my working capacities, I was recruited by LEARN to establish the Technical Assistance Centre which servers our members in many ways helping them in various technical matters. Also one of my current goals is to build the LEARN cloud which will provide hosting and HPC capabilities. Also as a part of the APAN IAM working group I got the chance joining with GEANT’s BACKFIRE project which will focus on extending edugain to AP region.
Apart from the technical experience I have, I had several local and international trainings such as on Campus Network Design, SDN, Security, Routing, etc. These helped me to implement some of the services within LEARN community and to mentor some of the community parts as well. As a trainer I was able to contribute to most of the training workshops hosted by LEARN on eduroam, Linux, Security, Monitoring systems, etc.
I was selected as a fellow for the APNIC 44 meeting and got the chance in participating in the first ever SDN workshop hosted by APNIC staff. Due to my skills I was invited to become a fellowship committee member for APNIC46 as well.
Additionally, to my job, I volunteer in activities of ISOC-lk, IGF-SL, LKNOG, Computer Society Sri Lanka and some other community forums, especially in Security. I am an executive member of ISOC-lk and a founding member and current Treasurer of LKNOG.
It was a great opportunity to host the LKNOG1 in Colombo on 2017 as a flagship event which aroused the tech hunger within the local community. Organizing LKNOG1 was a good experience as I was in-charge of designing the website, event schedules, registrations and live telecast which had IPTV and YouTube streaming. Compared to other NOGs, LKNOG1 was a big success with only few organizers including me.
Because of the commitments at the LKNOG1 event, I got the chance of becoming a member of the program committee of SANOG 32 for August 2018. Then the LKNOG2 was in Colombo and I became one of the instructors for the workshops and it was a great involvement with the community.
Apart from those experiences, I involved in the PC of APRICOT 2019 which was in South Korea during the last week of February 2019 and in parallel with APAN47 meeting. APAN47 was a major event we announced LIAF, the LEARN Identity Access Federation which will be the Sri Lankan representation to edugain federated identity services under my involvement.
With my work at LEARN as an engineer as well as a trainer, I got the chance in becoming an ISOC fellow to IETF104 meeting which was in Prague in March 2019 and this was a real deal in meeting experts of the industry as well as sharing ideas.
I was handling a major role in SANOG34 organizing committee which was scheduled to be in Colombo, Sri Lanka during the first week of August 2019. But due to security concerns we had to shift the venue to Kolkata, India. Now I represents LEARN in the Program Committee of SANOG34.
and the Journey Continues…