Can you hear me now? Tales from a Cisco voice instructor

March 31, 2013  11:04 AM

Configuring EtherChannel – Part 2

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

In last post we discussed what EtherChannel is and how it might be used. In this post we will look at the configuration of EtherChannel. The configuration of EtherChannel on Cisco switches is fairly simple. In order for EtherChannel to funtion properly, you must ensure that all link are the same type and are set to the same speed, duplex, native VLAN, and VLAN range as well as the same trunking status and type. Once this is set up, you use the command channel-group to define an interface as being part of an EtherChannel.

Here is an example of what commands are required to add an interface to an EtherChannel group that has a group number of 15:

Switch(config)#int fa0/1
Switch(config-if)#channel-group 15 on

The first command simply takes you into the configuration mode for interface FastEternet 0/1. The second command is what assigns the interface to EtherChannel group 15. The command channel-group tells the interface that it is going to be part of an EtherChannel.  The number that follows that (15 in this example), specifies the EtherChannel group number is 15. All interfaces that have the same group number are part of the same EtherChannel. The last part of the command is the word “on.” This makes the interface active in that EtherChannel. There are other options instead of “on” which can tell the interface to auto-negotiate whether or not to go active, but since there are different protocols to do this, forcing it eliminates one possibility for misconfiguration.

That is pretty much all there is to it. Once configured on multiple interfaces on two switches, you will have a high speed EhterChannel running.

March 31, 2013  10:59 AM

Configuring EtherChannel – Part 1

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

With the demand for bandwidth increasing everyday, companies are finding that the transport technology they installed just a few years ago isn’t fast enough anymore. One way to increase network traffic speed without having to necessarily buy new hardware is to use a technology called EtherChannel. EtherChannel allows you to use two or more Ethernet connections together. An analogy would be that of an expressway. Each Ethernet interface would be like a lane on the expressway, the more lanes  there are, the more traffic that can fit on the expressway. The concept is nothing new – it’s been around for a long time. Back in 1998 when I got my first ISDN line in my home, I had two 64k links that were bonded together and worked as a single 128k link.

EtherChannel does have a few requirements. This first is that all the interfaces must be the same type. For example, you could not use a 10mps Ethernet interface and a 100mbs Ethernet interface in the same EtherChannel. The other requirement is that it is a point to point connection of sorts, in that a EtherChannel only connects two devices together. It is commonly used to connect switches together. And, of course, both devices must support EtherChannel.

In the next post we will look at the commands used to configure EtherChannel on a Cisco switch.

March 30, 2013  5:00 PM

Cisco Cuts More Workers

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

Last week Cisco announced that it was going to cut 500 people from its work force. While that may not sound like good news, you need to keep in mind that 500 workers represents less than 1 percent of Cisco’s global work force. Of course, that offers no peace of mind if you are one of the 500.

When you look back over the last couple years you can see that  hearing that Cisco is letting 500 people go is kind of a good sign. Back in 2011 Cisco reduced its work force by 6500 people and last year they reduced it by another 1300. This means that while they continue to reduce the work force, each year they let fewer and fewer people go. If this trend continues, we may even see the the total work force increase in size over the next couple of years.

Other promising news from Cisco is that the net income for the second quarter was up 44 percent from the same time last year and so are the net sales. So, while the news of more cuts is never a good thing, it certainly isn’t as bad as we have seen. It may actually be good news, in an odd sort of way.

March 30, 2013  4:40 PM

Over 16 Years Up-Time – Impressive

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

When you buy a computer, how long do you expect it to last? Most people expect to get at least three years out of a computer and many want more like five years. Personally, I feel if I get two years out of a PC before needing to upgrade, I am doing pretty good. When it comes to file servers, you can also expect three to five years of service. Of course, we aren’t talking three to five years of up-time. There will be times the system will have to come down for maintenance of some type and nobody should be surprised if a hard drive has to be replaced.

I remember when we were doing Y2K patches for a number of our customers, and we found a server that had been running for around three years. We couldn’t believe it. Well, today I heard of one that has been running for over 16 years. It is running Netware 3.12 (anyone remember Netware?). I can remember installing a number of 3.12 servers and I will say the OS was extremely stable.

The most impressive thing about this is that this means the hard drives spun non stop for over 6000 days. I don’t know if I even had a hard drive last 600 days. That is really something. If you are having a hard time believing this (as I did), hop over here to see the (retro) screen shots. Of course, anything can be Photoshopped, but I choose to believe. What about you?

March 29, 2013  7:04 PM

New ICND1 E-Learning

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

If there is one thing I have learned from being an instructor,  it is that not everyone learns the same way. Some learn by reading, others by watching and still others by doing. For myself, I learn best by doing. If I need to learn how to configure a new device, I try to find an example of a properly configured one and then work backwards from that.

Many people find classroom training to be helpful. Since I am an instructor I am glad that there are people like that, and I feel that there will always be. But there are other people that would rather be able to learn at their own speed and on their own schedule. For people like this, Cisco just launched a pretty innovative E-learning offering for the INCD1 course, which I recently had the opportunity to contribute to.

For the longest time, most E-learning was really just reading a screen instead of a book .When you first look at Cisco’s product, you might think that is all it is. But you need to take some time and look a little deeper. While there is a lot to read in the course, the information is presented in small, easy to digest sections. Also, sprinkled throughout the course are a number of videos that allow you to actually see the technology in action. However, that isn’t the coolest part of this product. The really cool part is that embedded right within the course content is access to virtual Cisco devices. This means that right after learning about a certain feature you can try configuring it yourself.

There are actually two types of activities that allow you to access the virtual devices. The first are called Discoveries. Discoveries are exercises that walk you step by step through a configuration process. They tell you exactly what to do and add valuable information as to why you are doing it and what to watch out for. The other time you will use the virtual devices is at the end of a section in what are called challenges. Challenges are graded exercises that include a number of tasks that outline what you need to configure. Once graded, you will see what tasks you did successfully as well as those you may have missed. You can continue to work on the tasks and regrade the challenge until you successfully complete all the tasks. Or course,  if you just can’t figure out how to complete any task, you can refer to an answer key for help.

Overall the product is designed very well and should prove to be very helpful for those that desire to acquire a Cisco certification. It is currently available at the Cisco Learning Network Store.

March 29, 2013  7:03 PM

What’s New in ICND2

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

Over the last two posts we have looked at the CCNA refresh that Cisco recently did. We first talked about the new test and how long the current ones are valid. Then we looked at what changed in the ICND1 course, and now we are going to look at what has changed in the ICND2 course.

The first things that jumps out about INCD2 is that it focuses on troubleshooting more than the previous version. This is evident in the first lesson, which is troubleshooting VLANS. They have also added two new topics to the first section of the course, HSRP and Etherchannel. It’s good to see topics like this added to the course.

In the second module they added IPv6 troubleshooting. The next few sections of the course discuss routing protocols such as OSPF and EIGRP. These sections also include lessons on troubleshooting routing issues.

The last section of the course covers SMNP, device management, and and licensing. The licensing topic is new content while the device management section is information that used to be covered in ICND1.

Of course, to make room for the new content they had to remove something. Well, actually what they did was move most of the removed content to ICND1. Topics such as Access Control Lists and NAT are now found in ICND1.

March 28, 2013  8:46 PM

What’s New in ICND1

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

In my last post I told you that Cisco was refreshing the CCNA Routing and Switching track and explained how that impacted the required tests. In this post we are going to take a closer look at the topics that are covered in the new ICND1 courses and how they differ from the previous version.

Let’s start with what has been removed from the ICND1 course. First off, wireless is, for all intents and purposes, gone. The logic behind this is most likely that there is a CCNA wireless track so there is no reason to cover it in both courses. The topic that discusses SMD has also been removed as well as the the topic on RIP. There seems to be very little on RIP in the course, which makes sense based on the fact that it is rarely used. INCD1 also no longer covers Serial configuration for WAN connections. This topic has not been eliminated from the CCNA curriculum, but rather moved to the ICND2 course.

With the above content removed, room was made for other topics. For the most part, content that uses to be found in ICND2 was brought into ICND1. This includes topics such as OSPF implementation, IPv6, routing between VLANs and access control lists.

Overall it appears that the refresh of the INCD1 course is a more thorough overhaul than we have seen in previous refreshes. In the end I think the course will prove to be an improvement over the previous version, but I also think it will prove to be more challenging for the student. In the next post we will take a look at what’s new in ICND2.

March 28, 2013  8:46 PM

Cisco Refreshes the CCNA Track

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

One of the most popular certifications is Cisco’s CCNA certification.  Over the past few years Cisco has made a number of changes to this certification. Actually, what they did was expand the CCNA certification, which resulted in several different types of CCNA. The original CCNA is now called, CCNA Routing and Switching. The other CCNAs include the following:

  • CCNA Security
  • CCNA Voice
  • CCNA Wireless
  • CCNA SP Operations

Due to the changes in technology, these certifications need to be updated from time to time. Cisco just announced an update to the CCNA Routing and Switching track. The main point of interest to anyone working on achieving this certification is how this will affect the tests. In this post we will take a look at that. In upcoming posts, we will explore what has changed in the CCNA level courses as well as new offerings Cisco has announced that will assist individuals in obtaining this certification.

There are two ways to achieve the CCNA Routing and Switching certification. You can take two tests, one focuses on content found in the ICND1 course and the other one focuses on the ICND2 content. Or, you can take a single test that covers content found in both courses. The current tests are still available, so if you have been studying for the those don’t worry, you can still take them. They will be available until September 30, 2013. Here is a list of the previous tests and the the new ones that will replace them:

Single Test

Two Tests

In my next post we will take a look at what has changed in ICND1.

January 31, 2013  7:45 PM

Good News for Samsung – Not so Much for Apple

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

One of the hottest and most contested lawsuits in recent times has been the Apple vs Samsung. These two have been at it for a long time now. First Apple sues Samsung, then Samsung sues Apple. To be honest with you, I am not even sure who is suing who anymore. I could have sworn this thing was settled a while ago. But it has not.

In the latest bout, Apple has been seeking to prevent Samsung from selling its Nexus devices. However, today the U.S. Appeals court stated that it would stand by an October decision which allows Samsung to sell the devices.

This isn’t the only bit of news that has been in Samsung’s favor as of late. Just recently Judge Lucy Koh found that Samsung did not willfully infringe on Apple’s patents, which means that Apple will not be able to seek triple damages associated with another case. However, she also denied Samsung’s request for a new trial in that case.

January 30, 2013  7:27 PM

Another Cisco Acquisition or Two

Dave Bateman Dave Bateman Profile: Dave Bateman

There was a time that it seemed like you couldn’t go a day without hearing about a company that Cisco acquired. While those days seem to be behind us, there seems to have been a recent uptick in this area.

Last week Cisco purchased an Israeli mobile upstart called, “Intucell” for a cool $475 million. This week they purchased a Czech security company called, “Cognitive Security.” When looking for reasons as to why they made these acquisitions, we don’t have to look much further than the press release.  Cisco’s rational for purchasing Intucell is:

“The proliferation of connected mobile devices, faster network speeds, and growing demand for high-bandwidth applications and services are driving greater network traffic and complexity. As mobile service providers continue to face increased end-user demand, the need to optimize network bandwidth, usage, and services is increasing. Intucell’s SON software platform addresses these challenges by examining the network, identifying issues in real time, and intelligently adapting the network to meet demand.” As for the Cognitive acquisition they put it this way:

“Mobility and the cloud are drastically changing the IT security landscape, where traditional security approaches aren’t enough to protect customers against an evolving threat landscape. Today’s threats are more targeted, complex, and disruptive than ever before. Cognitive Security’s technology identifies and detects security anomalies, and when coupled with the network for mitigation, allows Cisco to uniquely address our customers’ security requirements.”

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