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It’s Not The Network

All too often we networkers spend our time defending the network not only from security threats but from blame as the root cause (actual or perceived) of performance problems. The network is guilty until proven innocent. So how do we counter these arguments, put the issue to rest, and uphold the integrity of the network? Logs, logs, logs.

Logs are evidence to support your hypothesis. There are a couple of different types of logs I’d like to talk through and the roles they provide in a tiered approach to troubleshooting.

SNMP – This is one of the first places I go to when an issue is reported. This provides a look at the current state of the network based on polling intervals and traps, and also a place to explore data patterns and trends. Most enterprises will have an NMS solution in place and in my experience this is also a great place to learn the topology of the network(s) when joining a new company. There are many commercial and open source products available and I suggest trying a few different options to find out which works best for you and your team as they all organize and present the data in slightly different manners. Read More »

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IT professionals and end users. Cui Bono?

As a Senior Network Engineer I’ve seen many end-user issues that look like big problems but are actually very simple. The difficulty lies in a lack of understanding between end users and IT teams who support them. In this article, I want to give some advice to improve communications and relationships between these two groups.

Maher Abdelshkour article image Read More »

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My First Cisco Experience

The last 30 years of innovation at Cisco comes from people, and the amazing things that happen when we connect the unconnected. Cisco Champions are a part of that success. By sharing their knowledge and expertise, Cisco Champions play a unique role in contributing and enhancing the way people use technology. In fact, some Cisco Champions have been in the IT industry almost as long as Cisco! To celebrate innovation then and now, we’ve asked Cisco Champions to tell us about their first experiences with Cisco. Cisco Champions are seasoned IT technical experts and influencers who enjoy sharing their perspectives with the community. The Cisco Champions program encompasses different areas of interest, such as Data Center, Internet of Things, Enterprise Networks, Collaboration and Security. Cisco Champions are located all over the world.
(Cisco Champions are not representatives of Cisco. Their views are their own)

Here are their top answers.

I think it was circa 1998/1999. I had a Novell server running as a router between an Ethernet and a Token Ring network. It was taxing the server and I  needed a solution that would take the load off of my poor 3.1 Novell server. I’m sure I used a 2500 series router to solve my problem. Even running at 10Mbps it was a huge improvement.
Keith Townsend
Keith Townsend
IT Advisor
@Virtualizedgeek Read More »

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Top Cisco Innovations

To celebrate 30 years of innovation at Cisco (#We are Cisco), we’ve asked Cisco Champions what they think is the most important Cisco innovation to date. Cisco Champions are seasoned IT technical experts and influencers who enjoy sharing their knowledge, expertise, and thoughts across the social web and with Cisco. The Cisco Champions program encompasses different areas of interest, such as Data Center, Internet of Things, Enterprise Networks, Collaboration and Security. Cisco Champions are located all over the world.
(Cisco Champions are not representatives of Cisco. Their views are their own)

Here are their top answers.

Cisco Nexus Series
The most important innovation for me is the Data Center Networking Solution with Nexus Portfolio N2K, N5K, N7K, and N9K, that allows us to address all challenges for our customers. I really appreciate the new campus solution based on C6800 with IA switches which uses the same technology as FEX. It really simplifies architecture and reduces OPEX with a single point of management.
Bertrand Bordereau
Bertrand Borderaeu
Network Consulting Engineer
@BBordereau Read More »

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802.11ac: More Throughput For One or For All?

In today’s highly mobile society we try to stay as connected as we possibly can, whether that be for instant messaging, email, or keeping up with our favorite TV shows and movies. This obsession for connectivity has stressed the wireless infrastructures that are installed by many organizations. Because of this many organizations are looking to update their systems that support 802.11n technologies or even the older 802.11a/b/g standards. As a consultant it is one of my jobs to help a customer understand the new technology inside and out and make sure their networks are deployed accordingly. One of the major topics discussed when going over 802.11ac is throughput. 802.11ac brings with it a substantial jump in throughput, but there is a price to pay in order to achieve those higher data rates.

test-4Let’s go over a basic first, in wireless technology we use a frequency, or channel, to send our signal from the client to the station (access point). Think of this channel as a lane on a highway or freeway. A single lane carries so many cars per hour. Now if we add another lane in the same direction we can carry double the amount of traffic. This is repeated for each lane that you add. 802.11n and 802.11ac both allow us to combine multiple lanes to act as a single wide lane, allowing for larger traffic to pass. These channels are reflected as 20MHz, 40MHz (2 lanes – 802.11n and 802.11ac), and 80MHz (4 lanes – 802.11ac).

Ok, so we get the hole channel concept now right? So what’s the big deal then if we start combining these channels? Channels = capacity in the wireless world. A channel only has so much bandwidth to provide, you can’t create more, it’s a very finite resource. When our goal is to support hundreds of client devices in a large university auditorium for example, we want more channels as this gives us more overall capacity. If I were to deploy a true 802.11ac network for a university in an auditorium that requires say for example 6 access points I will end up with channel reuse when I avoid DFS channels in 5GHz. The channel reuse will degrade the performance of those access points using the same channel. Now if I deploy the same 6 access points with 40MHz channels I no longer have to worry about channel reuse in that auditorium. Read More »

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