January 20, 2022

Packet Pushers

Juniper Networks’ SD-WAN Can Now Be Operated Via Mist Cloud

Juniper Networks’ SD-WAN appliances and software can now be fully managed from Juniper’s Mist Cloud. It’s part of Juniper’s larger goal to Mist-ify its LAN and WAN portfolio. Juniper’s SD-WAN product is based on the Session Smart Routers (SSRs) from Juniper’s acquisition of 128 Technology. Customers can now use Mist Cloud to onboard SSR hardware, […]

The post Juniper Networks’ SD-WAN Can Now Be Operated Via Mist Cloud appeared first on Packet Pushers.

by Drew Conry-Murray at January 20, 2022 09:59 PM

January 19, 2022

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Introducing netsim-tools Plugins

Remember the BGP anycast lab I described in December 2021? In that blog post I briefly mentioned a problem of extraneous IBGP sessions and promised to address it at a later date. Let’s see how we can fix that with netsim-tools plugin.

We always knew that it’s impossible to implement every nerd knob someone would like to have when building their labs, and extending the tool with Python plugins seemed like the only sane way to go. We added custom plugins to netsim-tools release 1.0.6, but I didn’t want to write about them because we had to optimize the internal data structures first.

January 19, 2022 07:09 AM

Packet Pushers

Beau Williamson: The Man Who Lived His Bucket List

  Stream 1 October 2013: CCIE#1346 didn’t like it. In fact, he despised it so much that even after the edits he never posted the recommendation on his LinkedIn profile. The endorsement passage was strong and to the point; after having had his book, Developing IP Multicast Networks, for years and using it constantly, I […]

The post Beau Williamson: The Man Who Lived His Bucket List appeared first on Packet Pushers.

by Kam Agahian at January 19, 2022 02:10 AM

XKCD Comics
Potaroo blog

IP Addressing through 2021s

Time for another annual roundup from the world of IP addresses. Let's see what has changed in the past 12 months in addressing the Internet and look at how IP address allocation information can inform us of the changing nature of the network itself.

January 19, 2022 12:00 AM

January 18, 2022

Packet Pushers

VaporIO Brings Infrastructure, Networking On-Demand For Dynamic Edge Services, And VMware Is Interested

This article was originally posted on the Packet Pushers Ignition site on June 15, 2021. There’s a growing need at the provider edge to let customers provision services closer to users and data sources. What do I mean by the ‘provider edge’? In the case of application infrastructure with low-latency connectivity for mobile, industrial, and […]

The post VaporIO Brings Infrastructure, Networking On-Demand For Dynamic Edge Services, And VMware Is Interested appeared first on Packet Pushers.

by Kurt Marko at January 18, 2022 04:00 PM

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Layer-3 Carrier Ethernet

One of ipSpace.net subscribers asked for my opinion about Adaptive IP, a concept promoted by one of the optical connectivity vendors. As he put it:

My interest in Carrier Ethernet moving up to Layer 3 is to see if it would be something to account for in the future.

A quick search resulted in a marketecture using Segment Routing (of course) and an SDN controller (what else could one be using today) using Path Computation Element Protocol (PCEP) to program the network devices… and then I hit a regwall. They wanted to collect my personal details to grace me with their whitepaper, and I couldn’t find even a link to the product documentation.

January 18, 2022 07:49 AM

January 17, 2022

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Running IS-IS over Unnumbered Ethernet Interfaces

Last time we figured out that we cannot run OSPF over unnumbered interfaces that are not point-to-point links because OSPF makes assumptions about interface IP addresses. IS-IS makes no such assumptions; IPv4 and IPv6 prefixes are just a bunch of TLVs exchanged between routers over a dedicated layer-3 protocol with ridiculously long network addresses.

Could we thus build a totally unnumbered IP network with IS-IS even when the network contains multi-access segments? It depends:

January 17, 2022 07:04 AM

XKCD Comics

January 16, 2022

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Building a BGP Anycast Lab

The Anycast Works Just Fine with MPLS/LDP blog post generated so much interest that I decided to check a few similar things, including running BGP-based anycast over a BGP-free core, and using BGP Labeled Unicast (BGP-LU).

The Big Picture

We’ll use the same physical topology we used in the OSPF+MPLS anycast example: a leaf-and-spine fabric (admittedly with a single spine) with three anycast servers advertising 10.42.42.42/32 attached to two of the leafs:

January 16, 2022 07:58 AM

January 14, 2022

The Networking Nerd

Wi-Fi 6 Release 2, Or Why Naming Conventions Suck

I just noticed that the Wi-Fi Alliance announced a new spec for Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. Long-time readers of this blog will know that I am a fan of referring to technology by the standard, not by a catch term that serves as a way to trademark something, like Pentium. Anyway, this updated new standard for wireless communications was announced on January 5th at CES and seems to be an entry in the long line of embarrassing companies that forget to think ahead when naming things.

Standards Bodies Suck

Let’s look at what’s included in the new release for Wi-Fi 6. The first and likely biggest thing to crow about is uplink multi-user MIMO. This technology is designed to enhance performance and reduce latency for things like video conferencing and uploading data. Essentially, it creates multi-user MIMO for data headed back the other direction. When the standard was first announced in 2018 who knew we would have spent two years using Zoom for everything? This adds functionality to help alleviate congestion for applications that upload lots of data.

The second new feature is power management. This one is aimed primarily at IoT devices. The combination of broadcast target wake time (TWT), extended sleep time, and multi-user spatial multiplexing power save (SMPS) are all aimed at battery powered devices. While the notes say that it’s an enterprise feature I’d argue this is aimed at the legion of new devices that need to be put into deep sleep mode and told to wake up at periodic intervals to transmit data. That’s not a laptop. That’s a sensor.

Okay, so why are we getting these features now? I’d be willing to bet that these were the sacrificial items that were holding up the release of the original spec of 802.11ax. Standards bodies often find themselves in a pickle because they need to get the specifications out the door so manufacturers can start making gear. However, if there are holdups in the process it can delay time-to-market and force manufacturers to wait or take a gamble on the supported feature set. And if there is a particular feature that is being hotly debated it’s often dropped because of the argument or because it’s too complex to implement.

These features are what has been added to the new specification, which doesn’t appear to change the 802.11ax protocol name. And, of course, these features must be added to new hardware in order to be available, both in radios and client devices. So don’t expect to have the hot new Release 2 stuff in your hands just yet.

A Marketing Term By Any Other Name Stinks

Here’s where I’m just shaking my head and giggling to myself. Wi-Fi 6 Release 2 includes improvements for all three supported bands of 802.11ax – 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz. That means that Wi-Fi 6 Release 2 supersedes Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, which were both designed to denote 802.11ax in the original supported spectrums of 2.4 and 5GHz and then to the 6GHz spectrum when it was ratified by the FCC in the US.

Let’s all step back and realize that the plan to simplify the naming convention of the Wi-Fi alliance for marketing has failed spectacularly. In an effort to avoid confusing consumers by creating a naming convention that just counts up the Wi-Fi Alliance has committed the third biggest blunder. They forgot to leave room for expansion!

If you’re old enough you probably remember Windows 3.1. It was the biggest version of Windows up to that time. It was the GUI I cut my teeth on. Later, there were new features that were added, which meant that Microsoft created Windows 3.11, a minor release. There was also a network-enabled version, Windows for Workgroups 3.11, which included still other features. Was Windows 3.11 just as good as Windows for Workgroups 3.11? Should I just wait for Windows 4.0?

Microsoft fixed this issue by naming the next version Windows 95, which created a bigger mess. Anyone that knows about Windows 95 releases know that the later ones had huge new improvements that made PCs easier to use. What was that version? No, not Windows 97 or whatever the year was. No, it was Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2 (Win95OSR2). That was a mouthful for any tech support person at the time. And it showed why creating naming conventions around years was a dumb idea.

Now we find ourselves in the mess of having a naming convention that shows major releases of the protocol. Except what happens when we have a minor release? We can’t call it by the old name because people won’t be impressed that it contains new features. Can we add a decimal to the name? No, because that will mess up the clean marketing icons that have already been created. We can’t call it Wi-Fi 7 because that’s already been reserved for the next protocol version. Let’s just stick “release 2” on the end!

Just like with 802.11ac Wave 2, the Wi-Fi Alliance is backed into a corner. They can’t change what they’ve done to make things easier without making it more complicated. They can’t call it Wi-Fi 7 because there isn’t enough difference between Wi-Fi 6 and 6E to really make it matter. So they’re just adding Release 2 and hoping for the best. Which will be even more complicated when people have to start denoting support for 6GHz, which isn’t universal, with monikers like Wi-Fi 6E Release 2 or Wi-Fi 6 Release 2 Plus 6E Support. This can of worms is going to wiggle for a long time to come.


Tom’s Take

I sincerely hope that someone that advised the Wi-Fi Alliance back in 2018 told them that trying to simplify the naming convention was going to bite them in the ass. Trying to be cool and hip comes with the cost of not being able to differentiate between minor version releases. You trade simplicity for precision. And you mess up all those neat icons you built. Because no one is going to legitimately spend hours at Best Buy comparing the feature sets of Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E, and Wi-Fi 6 Release 2. They’re going to buy what’s on sale or what looks the coolest and be done with it. All that hard work for nothing. Maybe the Wi-Fi Alliance will have it figured out by the time Wi-Fi 7.5 Release Brown comes out in 2025.

by networkingnerd at January 14, 2022 09:06 PM

My Etherealmind
ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Video: Local Area Network Addressing

In the Local Area Network Addressing video (part of How Networks Really Work webinar) I covered numerous obscure LAN addressing details including:

  • There’s no layer-2 address in Fibre Channel frames (because FC is routing not bridging);
  • Why is the multicast bit lowest bit (0x01) in first byte on Ethernet but highest bit (0x80) on Token Ring or FDDI;
  • How some NIC manufacturers never got the memo on what OUI really means.
You need Free ipSpace.net Subscription to watch the video, and the Standard ipSpace.net Subscription to register for upcoming live sessions.

January 14, 2022 07:17 AM

XKCD Comics

January 12, 2022

My Etherealmind
Packet Pushers

Want To Create Content? Consider The Packet Pushers’ Community Blog And Newsletter

If you’ve got “Create Content” as a 2022 goal but aren’t sure how to start, consider the Packet Pushers’ Community blog or our Human Infrastructure newsletter. We welcome articles from folks in networking and IT who have ideas to share or the inclination to write, but don’t have the interest in setting up their own […]

The post Want To Create Content? Consider The Packet Pushers’ Community Blog And Newsletter appeared first on Packet Pushers.

by Drew Conry-Murray at January 12, 2022 04:32 PM

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Feedback: Recursive BGP Next Hop Resolution

The Recursive BGP Next Hops: an RFC 4271 Quirk blog post generated tons of feedback (thanks a million to everyone writing a comment on my blog or LinkedIn).

Starting with Robert Razsuk who managed to track down the original email that triggered the (maybe dubious) text in RFC 4271:

The text in section 5.1.3 was not really targeting to prohibit load balancing. Keep in mind that it is FIB layer which constructs actual forwarding paths.

The text has been suggested by Tom Petch in discussion about BGP advertising valid paths or even paths it actually installs in the RIB/FIB. The entire section 5.1.3 is about rules when advertising paths by BGP.

January 12, 2022 06:27 AM

XKCD Comics

January 11, 2022

Packet Pushers

I Can Hardly Contain(erize) Myself!

Happy New Year! Last year I wrote a series of blogs under the “Infrastructure as Software” banner exploring how to build a Django three-tiered application from pyATS that parsed network state data. Now that I’ve built a working Django application locally the challenge is to make it available to others. README After I had built […]

The post I Can Hardly Contain(erize) Myself! appeared first on Packet Pushers.

by John Capobianco at January 11, 2022 10:44 PM

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Just Out: netsim-tools Release 1.1

New Year break was probably my busiest time (programming-wise) in years. Jeroen van Bemmel continued generating great ideas (and writing code and device configuration templates), and I found myself saying, “why not, let’s do the right thing!” more often than I expected. In parallel, Stefano Sasso fixed configuration templates for Junos, Mikrotik Router OS, and VyOS, and we were good to go.

To give you an idea of how fast we were moving: issue #84 was created on December 22nd, Sunday’s pull request that pushed release 1.1 into the master branch was #135 (GitHub numbers everything you do sequentially).

January 11, 2022 08:01 AM

About Networks

2021 IT Blog Awards finalist!

IT Blog Awards Finalist 2021

I have the honor of having my blog selected as a finalist in the 2021 IT Blog Awards, hosted by Cisco. It is a privilege and a great joy for me to have my blog selected for the fourth consecutive year! Congratulations also to all of the other finalists, who all produce great and valuable content! Click here to vote and choose the winner of the 2021 IT Blog Awards. If you want to vote for my blog, you can find it under: “Let’s talk about Network“, thank you in advance…

The post 2021 IT Blog Awards finalist! appeared first on AboutNetworks.net.

by Jerome Tissieres at January 11, 2022 07:01 AM

January 10, 2022

Packet Pushers

Marvell’s OCTEON 10 Challenges All Comers For DPU Supremacy

This article was originally posted on the Packet Pushers Ignition site on July 9, 2021. The ascendance of Software Defined Networking (SDN) has catalyzed a renaissance in specialized hardware designed to accelerate and offload workloads from general-purpose CPUs. Decoupling network transport and services via software-defined abstraction layers lets a new generation of programmable networking hardware […]

The post Marvell’s OCTEON 10 Challenges All Comers For DPU Supremacy appeared first on Packet Pushers.

by Kurt Marko at January 10, 2022 04:30 PM

My Etherealmind
ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Running OSPF over Unnumbered Ethernet Interfaces

Remember the unnumbered IP interfaces saga? Let’s conclude it with the final challenge: can we run link-state routing protocols (OSPF or IS-IS) over unnumbered interfaces?

Quick answer: Sure, just use IPv6.

Cheater! IPv6 doesn’t count. There are no unnumbered interfaces in IPv6 – every interface has at least a link-local address (LLA). Even more, routing protocols are designed to run over LLA addresses, including some EBGP implementations, allowing you to build an LLA-only network (see RFC 7404 for details).

OK, what about IPv4?

TL&DR: It works, but…

January 10, 2022 07:04 AM

XKCD Comics

January 08, 2022

Packet Pushers

Carriers Are Scaling Backbones With Merchant Silicon & Disaggregated, Distributed Networking

This post originally appeared on the Packet Pushers’ Ignition site on August 20, 2021. For both individuals and businesses, the past 18-months have vastly increased their reliance on the Internet to access cloud services, online retail and entertainment venues and each other via high-definition video conferences. In the period from just before the initial SARS-CoV-2 […]

The post Carriers Are Scaling Backbones With Merchant Silicon & Disaggregated, Distributed Networking appeared first on Packet Pushers.

by Kurt Marko at January 08, 2022 06:00 PM

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Worth Reading: Free Software Is a Gift

I’m positive that this pointer to The Gift of It’s Your Problem Now by Avery Pennarun will generate similar comments to the blockchain one: “he’s an idiot, and you’re an idiot for wasting my time posting this”.

That might be true, but in that case he’s my kind of idiot, and you shouldn’t complain about a gift anyway – there are tons of high-quality lolcats videos waiting for you instead.

January 08, 2022 09:09 AM

January 07, 2022

The Networking Nerd

Make Sure You Juggle The Right Way in IT

When my eldest son was just a baby, he had toys that looked like little baseballs. Long story short, I decided to teach myself to juggle with them. I’d always wanted to learn and thought to myself “How hard can it be?” Well, the answer was harder than I thought and it took me more time that I realized to finally get the hang of it.

One of the things that I needed to learn is that adding in one more ball to track while I’m trying to manage the ones that I had wasn’t as simple as it sounded. You would think that adding in a fourth ball should only be about 25% harder than the three you had been working with before. Or, you might even believe the statistical fallacy that you’re only going to fail about a quarter of the time and be successful the rest. The truth is that adding in one more object makes your entire performance subpar until you learn to adjust for it.

Clogging Up the Pipe

I mention this example because the most obvious application for the juggling metaphor is in Quality of Service (QoS). If you’ve ever read any of the training material related to QoS over the years, you’ll know that an oversubscribed link doesn’t perform poorly for the packets that are added in at the end. When a link hits the point of saturation all of the data flowing down the pipe is impacted in some way, whether it’s delays or or dropped packets or even application timeouts.

We teach that you need to manage congestion on the link as a whole and not just the data that is added that takes you over the stated rate. This is why we have queuing methods that are specifically tuned for latency sensitive traffic like voice or video. You can’t assume that traffic that gets stuffed in at the start will be properly handled. You can’t assume that all data is just going to line up in an orderly fashion and wait its turn. Yes, the transmission queue on the device is going to process the packets in a serial manner, but you can’t know for sure what packets are going to be shoved in the queue without some form of management.

It’s important to understand that QoS is about the quality of the experience for all consumers of the link and not just a select group. That’s why texts will teach you about priority queuing methods and why they’re so inefficient. If the priority queues are the only ones getting served then the regular queues will fail to send traffic. If users get creative and try to mark their packets as priority then the priority queue becomes no better than the regular queue.

QoS for Your Brain

All of these lessons for juggling packets and prioritizing them within reason don’t just resonate with technology. The same principles apply to the work you do and the projects and tasks that you take on. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve thought to myself “I can just handle this one little extra thing and it won’t make a big difference.” Except it does make a big difference in the long run. Because adding one more task to my list is just like adding one more ball to the juggling list. It’s not additive. It adds a whole new dimension to what you’re working on.

Just like with the bandwidth example, the one extra piece added to the end makes the whole experience worse overall. Now you’re juggling more than you can handle. Instead of processing what you have efficiently and getting things done on time you’re flipping back and forth trying to make sure that all the parts are getting worked on properly and, in the end, using too much time inefficiently. Add in the likelihood that this new task is “important” and gets placed near the top of the list and you can quickly see how the priority queue example above is fitting. When every task is critical, there are no critical tasks.

Prioritize Before The Piles Happen

As luck would have it, the best way to deal with these issues of juggling too many tasks is the same as dealing with oversubscription on a link. You need to understand what your ability to deal with tasks looks like. Maybe you can handle eight things a day. Are those eight complex things? Eight easy things? Four of each? You need to know what it takes to maximize your productivity. If you don’t know what you can handle then you’ll only find out you’re oversubscribed when you take on one thing too many. And it’s too late to turn back after that.

Next, you need to manage the tasks you have in some way. Maybe it’s a simple list. But it’s way easier if the list has a way to arrange priority and deal with complicated or less critical tasks after the important stuff is done first. Remember that something being complex and critical is going to be a challenge. Easy tasks can be knocked out and crossed off your list sooner. You can also make sure that tasks that need to happen in a certain order are arranged in that way.

Lastly, you need to model the QoS drop method. Which means saying “no” to things that are going to oversubscribe you. It seems inelegant and will lead to others getting frustrated that you can’t get the work done. However, they also need to understand that if you can’t get the work done because you’re tasked with too much you’re going to do a poor job anyway. It’s better to get things done in a timely manner and tell people to come back later than take on more than you can do and disappoint everyone. And if someone tried to get creative and tell you their task is too important to put off, remind them that every task is critical to someone and you decide how important things are.


Tom’s Take

This is absolutely a case of “do as I say, not as I do”. I’m the world’s worst for taking on more than I can handle to avoid making other people feel disappointed. No matter how many times I remind myself that I can’t take on too much I have been known to find myself in a situation where I’m oversubscribed and my performance is suffering because of it. Use this as an opportunity to get a better handle on juggling things on your side. I never got good enough to juggle more than four at once and I’m okay with that. Don’t feel like you have to take on more than you can or else you’ll end up working in a circus.

by networkingnerd at January 07, 2022 09:56 PM

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Video: Cloud Services Hierarchy

Remember the Cloud Models, Layers and Responsibilities video by Matthias Luft? He continued his introduction of cloud services with Cloud Services Hierarchy, explained the differences between infrastructure, platform, function and software as a service, and concluded with a there’s no free lunch message.

You need Free ipSpace.net Subscription to access this video.

January 07, 2022 07:12 AM

XKCD Comics

January 06, 2022

Packet Pushers

Cloud-Native Networks Are Here To Stay: Get Certified To Succeed

The following post is by DriveNets. We thank DriveNets for being a sponsor. At service providers and network operators, demand for new and talented staff is on the rise, but with the ongoing move to software-based approaches and the cloudification of networks, the types of skills they are now seeking is changing. So in line […]

The post Cloud-Native Networks Are Here To Stay: Get Certified To Succeed appeared first on Packet Pushers.

by Sponsored Blog Posts at January 06, 2022 02:54 PM

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Feedback: Cisco ACI Deep Dive

In 2021, we completed one of the longest ipSpace.net webinars: Cisco ACI Deep Dive (almost 13 hours of content1). One of the participants found it extremely useful:

I really like the technical detail of the webinar and the way it is composed. Mario also does a good job in explaining all the complexity in a clear way without oversimplifying. All the sessions help to build up an understanding on the inner workings of the ACI solution, because they deliver technical details in depth piece by piece.

I also liked his take on the value of this webinar:

I’m always amazed on how much other (offical) training vendors under deliver in their courses that cost thousands of dollars, compared to the real expert level stuff you’ve got here.

Hope you’ll like the webinar as much as he did – you can get it with Standard or Expert ipSpace.net Subscription.

January 06, 2022 07:03 AM

January 05, 2022

Packet Pushers

An Application-Layer Approach To Multi-Cloud Network Fabrics

This post was originally published on the Packet Pushers’ Ignition site on September 21, 2021. It sounds trite to say that enterprise IT environments are multi-cloud, but the extent of cloud heterogeneity might shock those not paying attention. A recent survey found that 44 percent of organizations had more than half of their workloads deployed […]

The post An Application-Layer Approach To Multi-Cloud Network Fabrics appeared first on Packet Pushers.

by Kurt Marko at January 05, 2022 11:00 AM

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Recursive BGP Next Hops: an RFC 4271 Quirk

All BGP implementations I’ve seen so far use recursive next hop lookup:

  • The next hop in the IP routing table is the BGP next hop advertised in the incoming update
  • That next hop is resolved into the actual next hop using one or more recursive lookups into the IP routing table.

Furthermore, all BGP implementations I’ve seen used multiple recursive next hops (if available) to implement load balancing toward the BGP next hop – that’s how we made EBGP load balancing work in Stone Age of networking.

January 05, 2022 07:41 AM

XKCD Comics

January 04, 2022

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Microsegmentation Terminology

While I liked reading the Where to Stick the Firewall blog post by Peter Welcher, it bothered me a bit that he used microsegmentation to mean security groups.

I know that microsegmentation became approximately as well-defined as cloud or SDN1, but let’s aim our shiny lance 2 at the nearest windmill and gallop away…

January 04, 2022 08:43 AM

Potaroo blog

BGP in 2021 – The BGP Table

At the start of each year, I have been reporting on the behaviour of the inter-domain routing system over the past 12 months, looking in some detail at some metrics from the routing system that can show the essential shape and behaviour of the underlying interconnection fabric of the Internet.

January 04, 2022 05:00 AM

January 03, 2022

Packet Pushers
ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

netsim-tools: New in December 2021

Tons of new things were added to netsim-tools in December 2021:

  • Pete Crocker contributed support for Fortinet devices. You can configure IPv4, IPv6 and OSPF. More details…
  • Jeroen van Bemmel contributed support for Nokia SR Linux and SR OS (including initial device configuration, OSPF, ISIS, BGP, and SR-MPLS).
  • I added Vagrant box names for IOSv, CSR and vSRX on VirtualBox. You still have to build the boxes, but at least you won’t have to change the default settings.

But wait, there’s more ;)

January 03, 2022 09:13 AM

XKCD Comics

January 01, 2022

The Networking Nerd

Double the Fun in 2022

It’s January 1 again. The last 365 days have been fascinating for sure. The road to recovery doesn’t always take the straightest path. 2021 brought some of the the normal things back to us but we’re still not quite there yet. With that in mind, I wanted to look back at some of the things I proposed last year and see how they worked out for me:

  • Bullet Journaling: This one worked really well. When I remembered to do it. Being able to chart out what I was working on and what I needed to be doing helped keep me on track. The hardest part was remembering to do it. As I’ve said before, I always think I have a great memory and then remember that I forgot I don’t. Bullet journaling helped me get a lot of my tasks prioritized and made sure that the ones that didn’t get done got carried over to be finished later. I kind of stopped completely at the end of the year when things got hectic and I think that is what led me to feeling like everything was chaotic. I’m going to start again for 2022 and make sure to add some more flair to what I’m doing to make it stick for real this time.
  • More Video Content: This one was a mixed bag. I did record a full year of Tomversations episodes as well as the Rundown and various episodes of the On-Premise IT Roundtable podcast. The rest of my plans didn’t quite come to fruition but I think there’s still a spot for me to do things in 2022 to increase the amount of video content I’m doing. The reason is simple: more and more people are consuming content in video form instead of reading it. I think I can find a happy medium for both without increasing the workload of what I’m doing.
  • More Compelling Content: This was the part I think I did the most with. A considerable number of my posts this year were less about enterprise IT technical content and more about things like planning, development, and soft skills. I spent more time talking about the things around tech than I did talking about the tech itself. While that does have a place I wonder if it’s as compelling for my audience as the other analysis that I do. Given that my audience has likely shifted a lot over the last decade I’m not even sure what people read my blog for any longer. Given the number of comments that I get on IPv6 posts that were written five or six years ago I may not even be sure who would be interested in the current content here.

Okay, 2021 was a mixed bag of success and areas for improvement. My journaling helped me stay on task but I still felt a lot of the pressure of racing from task to task and my grand ideas of how to create more and do more ultimately fell away as things stayed busy. So, where to go from here?

  • More Analytical Content: Some of the conversations I’ve had over the year remind me that I have a unique place in the industry. I get to see a lot of what goes on and I talk to a lot of people about it. That means I have my own viewpoint on technologies that are important. While I do a lot of this for work, there are some kinds of analysis that are better suited for this blog. I’m going to spend some time figuring those out and posting them here over the year to help create content that people want to read.
  • Saying No to More Things: Ironically enough, one of the things I need to get better at in 2022 is turning things down. It’s in my nature to take on more than I can accomplish to make sure that things get done. And that needs to stop if I’m going to stay sane this year. I’m going to do my best to spread out my workload and also to turn down opportunities that I’m not going to be able to excel at doing. It may be one of the hardest things I do but I need to make it happen. Only time will tell how good I am and turning people down.
  • Getting In Front of Things: This one is more of a procedural thing for me but it’s really important. Rather than scrambling at the last minute to finish a script or get something confirmed, I’m going to try my hardest to plan ahead and make sure I’m not racing through chaos. With all the events I have coming up, both work and personal, I can’t afford to leave things to the last minute. So I’m going to be trying really hard to think ahead. We’ll see how it goes.

Tom’s Take

My January 1 post is mostly for me to keep myself honest over the year. It’s a way for me to set goals and stick to them, or at the very least come back to the next January 1 and see where I need to improve. I hope that it helps you a bit in your planning as well!

by networkingnerd at January 01, 2022 06:07 PM

December 31, 2021

XKCD Comics

December 29, 2021

XKCD Comics

December 27, 2021

The Networking Nerd

Holiday Networking Thoughts from 2021

It’s the Christmas break for 2021, which means lots of time spent doing very little work-related stuff. I’m currently putting together a Lego set, playing Metroid Dread and working on beating Ocarina of Time again.

As I waited for updates to download on Christmas morning I remembered how many packets must be flying across the wire to update software and operating systems for consoles. Even having done a few of the updates the night before I could see the traffic to those servers started to get a bit congested. It’s like Black Friday but for the latest patches to keep your games running. Add in the content that needs to be installed now in order to make that game disc work, or the download-only consoles for sale, and you can see that network engineers aren’t going to be a dying profession any time soon.

I’m a bit jaded because I come from a time when you didn’t need to be constantly connected to use software or need to download an update every few days. Heck, some of the bugs in Ocarina of Time have been there for over twenty years because those cartridges are not designed to be patched, having been created before a time when you could barely get online with a modem, let alone wirelessly connect a console.

I also am happy that upgrading devices in the house means fewer and fewer older units performing poorly on the wireless network. As more devices require me to connect them to the network for updates or app connectivity, I’m reminded that things like the Xbox 360 need low data rates enabled to work properly and that makes me sad. But I also can’t turn them off for fear that nothing will work and my children will scream. I don’t think spending a ton of money to get rid of an 802.11b client is really that big of a deal but I’m happy to see them go when I get the chance.

Likewise, I’m going to need to upgrade my APs a bit now that I have clients that can actually use 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6). Even the older clients will get a performance boost. So It’s a matter of catching a good AP on sale and getting it done. Since I don’t use big box APs I just have to look a bit harder.


Tom’s Take

Make sure you give a shoutout to your friendly neighborhood network engineer for all their hard work making sure the services we’re currently consuming stayed up while the skeleton crew was carrying the pager this weekend. We’ve seen a lot of services crash on Christmas morning in recent years because of unexpected load. Also, give yourselves a hand for keeping your own network up long enough to download the latest DLC for a game or ensure that your new smart appliance can talk to the fancy app you need to use to control it. Let’s make it through the rest of the year with the change freeze intact and start 2022 off on the right foot with no outages.

by networkingnerd at December 27, 2021 04:23 PM

Packet Pushers

Make The Most Of 5G/LTE SD-WAN Links With Fortinet Wireless WAN Gateways

Fortinet's FortiExtender cellular gateways support multiple LTE or 5G connections. The FortiExtender can be placed in the best physical location to get a mobile signal, and then tied back into an SD-WAN appliance to provide an active link or failover option in an SD-WAN deployment.

The post Make The Most Of 5G/LTE SD-WAN Links With Fortinet Wireless WAN Gateways appeared first on Packet Pushers.

by Sponsored Blog Posts at December 27, 2021 03:00 PM

XKCD Comics

December 24, 2021

XKCD Comics

December 22, 2021

Potaroo blog

ICANN DNS Symposium

ICANN hosted a Resolver Operator Forum in mid-December, and the session had several interesting presentations that I would like to comment on here.

December 22, 2021 12:30 AM

XKCD Comics

December 20, 2021

ipSpace.net Blog (Ivan Pepelnjak)

Highlights: Dynamic Negotiation of BGP Capabilities

The Dynamic Negotiation of BGP Capabilities blog post generated almost no comments, apart from the #facepalm realization that a certain network operating system resets IBGP sessions when the sole EBGP session goes down, but there were a few interesting comments on LinkedIn and Twitter.

While most engineers easily relate to the awkwardness of bringing down a BGP session to enable new functionality (Tearing down BGP session, as a solution reminds me rebooting a host, as a solution.), it’s not as easy as it looks. As Adam Chappell put itDynamic capability renegotiation does tend to sound a bit like changing the tyres while still moving. Very neat if you can pull it off but so much to go wrong…

December 20, 2021 06:44 PM