Quality of Service

Imagine driving down a three lane highway at a decent (legal) speed. It’s a beautiful day with the sun high in the sky and a nice cool wind coming in through the window. All is going well. In just a few minutes you should be at your destination. Suddenly, all you see in front of you are red lights. You roll to a stop and realize that ahead of you is construction, converting the three lane highway into a single lane snooze-fest. The construction bottleneck has slowed traffic down to a crawl. Hopefully other drivers will let you in as you inch towards the next lane. If only there was a way to just jump to the front of the lane. Well, in this scenario not so much. However, if this was a network full of layer 2 and layer 3 devices, we would have some ways to organize the traffic in a way that the important traffic (cars) keep moving efficiently through the bottlenecks. Continue reading Quality of Service

The Importance of Network Documentation

You just purchased a fancy new bookshelf from your favorite store that gives furniture funny names. You carefully place the gigantic box for this bookshelf, or as they call it a “bookenspiel” in your living room and cut the box open. There are a so many parts! The manufacturer seems to have crammed in half the world into the box. Building this bookshelf looks a bit daunting now. At the store, the bookshelf did not look like it would be this complicated to build. You continue taking bags of parts, boxes of parts and pieces of wood out. If it was not for the instruction manual you would have flung everything out of a window. The instruction manual lets you build the bookshelf. It takes half a day, but you get it done. However, imagine for a moment if there was no instruction manual. This half a day build becomes a full day or much longer. As a matter of fact, it might be so frustrating you give up. That instruction manual makes a huge difference. Documentation matters. Continue reading The Importance of Network Documentation

MPLS: Creating an Internet Off-ramp

Yes, MPLS circuits are still being used by companies out there. Shocking! Well, actually it’s not. Even though there continues to be growth in low-cost broadband connections, some companies still utilize MPLS circuits back to their data centers from their branches around the world. Companies continue to use these circuits to connect their sites to each other. The reasons for this varies from company to company. Perhaps it is security, stability or even just a long provider contract that keeps them out there. Either way, MPLS will still be in play for some time. Many companies have not fully embraced the cloud. They host important applications in-house in a data center. Some companies funnel their branch traffic through their data center as its heads out to the internet. This has its benefits. You might only need centralized firewalls or other appliances since all traffic exits via the same egress. Companies still do this as it does save money; however as the adoption of cloud grows, this method starts to see issues. Continue reading MPLS: Creating an Internet Off-ramp