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On the Frontline

by Louise Simmons

The diary of a Cisco engineer as she deals with the best - and worst - that life and users throw at her


May, 24 2011 10:26 AM

Never mind the quality...

I am having a bit of a nightmare with a Service Provider, which, for its own protection, shall remain nameless, over a so-called QoS-enabled MPLS WAN. A fairly sizeable UK public sector organisation has been having problems with an IPT...

March, 21 2011 12:48 PM

What price resilience?

Do you ever feel that, despite your best efforts, things just conspire against you? You really make the effort to design and build your network for resilience, you dual-home all your switches, provide two WAN links into all your remote sites,...

February, 21 2011 02:54 AM

Fast BGP: Whatever next?

I used to be not that fond of BGP as a routing protocol—it just struck me as too complicated and scary. Then I had to spend a lot of time with it and it became a firm favourite. In fact I spent so much time with it that I think my husband...

February, 15 2011 01:46 PM

Just because you can doesn't mean you should

I have been doing some work on a WAN design for a large private sector communications organisation. As usual, the difficult bit has been pinning them down as to what they really need (not want - need) to support their organisation. The list of...

January, 29 2011 12:40 AM

There and Back Again

Something I’ve often had to remind people—especially when they’re starting out in networking—is that it’s very much a two-way street. Traffic has to get from one end of your network to the other—but it has to...

January, 25 2011 12:31 AM

Access list nightmares

I own a chainsaw—well, I live in the country, and for a bit of light relief from networking, I chop logs and cut (small) trees down for our stove. I have never yet cut a branch off a tree while sitting on that branch on the wrong side of...

January, 19 2011 03:18 PM

Why techies shouldn't do budget planning

With a lot of the projects I work on, I have to do the overall design, detailed configs and the bill of materials. It’s always a fine line between trying to spec out the best network I can, and not wasting the customer’s money....

January, 03 2011 08:25 AM

Too clever for its own good?

Sometimes it’s the most basic things that catch you out. We were recently doing some Proof of Concept testing for a large (non-UK) bank that wanted to model part of its international MPLS WAN with a view to providing Layer 2 and Layer 3...

December, 13 2010 01:25 AM

When is a wire not a wire?

In the olden days of serial and coax connections, it was dead simple for network kit to figure out if a connection went down. Everything was direct point to point, and if a cable broke or an interface failed, you lost the carrier signal and knew...

December, 06 2010 01:25 AM

How much bandwidth do you need?

I'm doing some work for a customer who is moving people from one building to another, and using the opportunity to move them to some newer technology. Virtual desktops, a new printing methodology, and more emphasis on collaboration tools. The...

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