3 Things Engineers Need from Leaders

Being a manager does not make you a leader.
Now that I have your attention, I’ll dive in a little deeper. Think of it in terms of creating a meal. You can look at your pantry and see you are missing certain ingredients to your recipe. You go out to the store and purchase those ingredients. You come back and toss the ingredients in the pantry. Done! The meal has been created. Well actually, no. You have the ingredients you need, but nothing else was done. You still have to spend time putting the ingredients together, cooking the meal, making sure the taste is right, add a ton of salt and pepper, and finally serving it. It’s easy to gather the ingredients listed in a recipe, but it might not be as easy to turn that recipe into the perfect meal. It takes time and effort. The same applies to an engineering team. As a leader, or perhaps a chef, having the ingredients is not enough. In order for an engineer to grow in an environment, work must be done. Yes, some of it falls squarely on the shoulders of the engineer, but some of it comes from leadership. My goal here is to discuss three ingredients that a leader can combine that can make a difference in their team. Continue reading 3 Things Engineers Need from Leaders

Simple Cisco Text File Changes

As we are busy diving into the world of programming and automation, I’d like to remind everyone of a way to make simple config changes to a Cisco switch or router using a text file. This might not be a breakthrough, but it helps when making changes to switches or routers when those changes can possibly disconnect you from the device. Imagine working on a re-IP of a switch or even a point to point link. You have your notepad ready to go. There is a new IP and default route and all you have to do is copy/paste. You paste in the IP and lose connection. Your default route change never actually pasted because you lost connection right after the IP change. You can no longer connect to the device; panic ensues. What might be a better way to make this change and avoid the “Uh oh!” moment? Continue reading Simple Cisco Text File Changes

Cisco 3504 Software Upgrade

If you are an administrator in a network somewhere you probably already know an important fact: Everything needs maintenance. At one point or another you have to upgrade something. In a perfect world, we would have consistent upgrade windows and periods of time we can take down a network for maintenance. If you have that, you are a lucky person. Looking for maintenance windows might fall into the same category as spotting a UFO. Often times, bugs or vulnerabilities bring forth these needed maintenance windows. In this case, I am upgrading a 3504 controller from version 8.5.151.0 to 8.5.161.6. The reason: CSCvs89410. This bug can corrupt images on 3600 and 3700 series access points. Continue reading Cisco 3504 Software Upgrade

5 Tips for New Engineers

Next year will be my tenth in a network engineering role. I’ve seen team members come and go, leadership change and roles changes as well. Nothing is ever static, especially the technology. For those looking to enter a network engineering role or are simply young in their IT career, I wanted to jot down a couple of tips that I hope can help them be successful in their roles. I originally was going to make this network-centric, but honestly it applies to any type of role you might be in. Continue reading 5 Tips for New Engineers

Image Swap: ASA to FTD

Firewalls are a necessary component in any network environment, especially in an enterprise. Take a look at your front door, would you remove it permanently? Firewalls have evolved over the years from simple gatekeepers to complex security solutions that integrate with the rest of the network. Imagine if you could program your front door to only allow people in who wore green shirts. Once inside they would only be able to walk into the living room…on a Tuesday. My own firewall journey started years back on Juniper SSG350s then onto ASA and Palo Alto. I am currently looking into Cisco’s Firepower Threat Defense (FTD). As a fan of most things Cisco (ASA CX anyone?), FTD adds visibility to the rest of the ecosystem that might include AMP, ISE and Stealthwatch. With an ASA 5512-X in hand, my mission is to replace its ASA image with FTD. Continue reading Image Swap: ASA to FTD

Networks: A Personal Connection

Has anyone ever been excited to go to a job they hate? Perhaps on the day they were quitting. No matter what your profession, passion determines how deep into your job or career you will go. If you lack the willingness to learn and the willingness to love what you do for a living, there is no passion. If you find yourself with that lack of passion, what you are currently doing might not be for you. No matter what that job is right now, do it to the best of your abilities. Even if what you are doing is not what you envisioned for yourself. What you are doing might not even have been on your personal roadmap. The goal is to someday look around and find yourself in love with what you do. It does not matter if you accomplish that goal at 20 or 60 years old. I want to write to motivate those working in IT that have not yet found their passion or to those who are interested in the realm of networks. I am a Network Engineer and I love what I do. Continue reading Networks: A Personal Connection

New Location, Who Dis?

Building a network for a new site from the ground up is great experience for engineers and administrators. However, if you are not organized it can also be a nightmare. Companies all over the world handle the “New Site” process differently. The way you maneuver through the project depends on the size of the organization as well as the teams involved. Some places have a complete Project Management Org that will take your project, organize it, shine it up and help you complete it. Project Managers can be a big help by following up with vendors, partners and making sure the teams are meeting deadlines among other things. However, sometimes you might not have a team of PMs helping you. You might be the PM for your particular “New Site” project. Whether or not you are the one doing everything or just the racking of equipment the following items or milestones are just reminders of tasks to keep in mind. Continue reading New Location, Who Dis?

From Home I Work

Well, it has not been the start of the year we were thinking of when we made our resolutions last year. The year is almost 4 months in and it feels like we are crawling a decade a week. I pray for those out there affected by COVID-19. Many out there are sick, lost jobs or have family that are sick or have passed. You will get through this. We will all get through this. Daybreak will come.

I wanted to write a little about my experience working from home. I have a ton of technical topics in my head I want to dump in the blog, but all the happenings in the world have pushed me in a slightly different direction. For now, I just want to have a “chat” and try to motivate others.
My company transitioned office employees to work from home a few weeks back and I’ve been here ever since. I normally work from home once a week. Even at my last place, I worked from home once a week. I usually spend about an hour driving in to work and another back. I never hit traffic to and from work since I stay off the main e-ways and try to stick to the back roads. So the hour is usually all driving and a couple of red lights. As someone who supports the world-wide network for the company, I can do my job from anywhere. I’ve always wanted to work from home full-time. Now…not so much. Continue reading From Home I Work