Last week, Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility followed Deborah Huyler and Andrew Torres, two Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team students, as they set up wireless access points, provided network troubleshooting, and soaked in the sights and sounds of NBA All-Star 2015. They shared their stories from Madison Square Garden, the Barclays Center, and other event venues through journal entries, photo slideshows, and videos!

Read about Andrew’s experience on NBA All-Star Sunday!:

My final days working with the NBA’s IT Team in New York City were a little slower than before, as the weekend’s events kicked off, from the Slam Dunk Contest to the Three-Point Shootout.

I’ve been fortunate enough to get a behind-the-scenes look at the practices and rehearsals for the various events, including some of the musical performances — everything looked great!


In the Barclays Center on Friday, one of the engineers gave me a tour of the executive viewing rooms in the mid-level of the stands. He described how the Voice over IP (VoIP) phones were set up and how the displays were programmed. I thought it was interesting, especially as I watched the displays change with a missed call or a pending voicemail. Since it was my first time dealing with IP phones, I thought it was a nice introduction to operating these devices.

Halfway through the Slam Dunk competition on Saturday night, the wireless network went out and was no longer showing up for new users. Luckily, the engineers anticipated the problem, knowing that it could happen due to the size of the switches they were using.


On Sunday, we worked at Madison Square Garden during the All-Star Game. It was the main event of the weekend and it ran flawlessly — there were no issues! I sat near media members, where I assisted with any connectivity issues.

We watched the player interviews right after the game, and even watched players and celebrities walk through the back tunnels. We used radios to communicate with the NBA’s IT team, and the radios stayed quiet for almost the entire night. The event ran just as it was planned with no issues or delays.


As unfortunate as it is, my time here in New York City has ended. The things I observed and learned from this experience have opened my eyes to a whole new side of the networking world.

Taking part in this great experience would never have happened had the NBA and Cisco Networking Academy not given us this amazing opportunity. I’d like to say thank you on behalf of myself and the fellow Cisco Dream Team members for giving us the chance to work at such a life-changing event.

Read about all of Andrew and Deborah’s experiences at NBA All-Star 2015.


Austin Belisle

No Longer with Cisco