December 27, 2011  4:24 PM

Cisco ISR G2 VPN Accelerator

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood Profile: Joshua Wood

Hi all, ever since the ISR G2 routers have been announced the question has been out there about when Cisco will release a VPN accelerator card for the G2 line. Recently Cisco has released the long awaited card. A lot of the time you want to deploy a router at your branch offices for use with a dynamic routing protocol such as DMVPN which the ASA line can’t do. While a small router will work for the branches what router do you use at your head office?

A router by itself just doesn’t have the ability to maintain the number of VPN tunnels that you need for a large environment. For the longest time the answer to use a G1 router with the VPN accelerator card for that generation. Now you can use the G2 line of routers and all of the features that are a part of that router.

ISR G2 VPN Module:

Until next time,
TechStop (JW)

December 27, 2011  3:55 PM

MS Lync vs Cisco UC – Info Roundup

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood Profile: Joshua Wood

Hi all, several people that I know in the IT industry have been interested in the battle for the unified communications filed. Particularly the battle between Cisco’s UC product and the one that seems to be gaining ground, Microsoft Lync. The two products have their pros and cons.

If you look at the presence features, here is a blog with an excellent chart for comparing the two products. This list doesn’t have items such as ACD or redundancy options listed in its review which will be important for any company. It is a solid feature list for presence related items though which is where Lync really shines.

Presence Feature Comparison:

Maybe you weren’t looking for presence related features and you just wanted to know about the number of servers that were required. This link looks at that. The link has a nice info-graphic way of looking at the servers needed to do the job. Again, this picture was meant to show the disparity in the servers that are required for each solution. Keep in mind that this doesn’t take into account redundancy. In that category more servers will provide greater redundancy.

Server Comparison:

Just from these two links you can see that the market likes the simply straightforward design of Lync. There are, of course, other factors such as scalability, redundancy and support to consider. Lync seems to be on the right track though and if they keep adding in features the two products will eventually be on par with each other. For the time being Cisco has a really big advantage in the enterprise features that Lync is weak on.

Until next time,
TechStop (JW)

November 30, 2011  1:58 AM

Cisco SMB UC

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood Profile: Joshua Wood

Hi all, Cisco has been trying hard to get into the SMB space. It is a tough thing for a company that likes to over engineer to do because, well, they just can’t help themselves. With the acquisition of Linksys it looks like they gained a vehicle into the SMB but have they really? That remains to be seen but at least it looks like they are still trying.

The Cisco UC 320W has several features but many limits. But you don’t have to stop there. There are more models with higher limits to choose from. Such as the UC 500 series that go up to 138 phones. The move towards a web-based interface is a consistent one as well.

Until next time,
TechStop (JW)

November 30, 2011  1:48 AM

Cisco Company Switches – Finally

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood Profile: Joshua Wood

Hi all, a llloooonnnnggg time ago Cisco put up information about the Cisco 3560-c company switches on their website. The specs on these tint switches are really nice for a 10 port gig routing switch. Pricing and availability was delayed for an unknown reason for a long time.

At some point over the many months I had stopped looking for these switches and then today I saw that they are available on the CDW site. The price for the 3560-c model is $1,350.00 approximately. For what you are getting that is very reasonable. It is a bit pricey for 10 port dumb gig switch but if you were to use it right it would be a very good buy.

Until next time,
TechStop (JW)

November 30, 2011  1:39 AM

BES for Other Phones

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood Profile: Joshua Wood

Hi all, the BlackBerry used to be known for its enterprise features. Now wouldn’t it be great if that funcationality was provided by RIM but for other phones? Why would they do such a thing? Well, (and I know you can see where this is going) RIM is doing just that. The reference article below goes into the depth of the good news regarding the smartphone maker. This is a great move for the Canadian company. It may just be the thing to put them back into the game … maybe.

RIM Tools for Other Phones

Until next time,
TechStop (JW)

November 30, 2011  1:34 AM

Android is King of the Hill

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood Profile: Joshua Wood

Hi all, when it comes to the OS that most smart phones use I would not have seen the Android and the gigantic lead that it has gained in the last year over its competitors. The small and free OS for smartphones has, as of last count, taken over 50% of the smartphone market. I don’t and haven’t (at least not yet) used a phone with that OS but the numbers do show a shift in the market. While Apple’s iOS still has a lead as far as apps available I would guess that you would start to see a shift in the works of product developers towards the Andriod OS if for no other reason than the massive market share that it now commands. What are your thoughts on the topic?

Until next time,
TechStop (JW)

November 29, 2011  11:56 PM

Cisco Says It Will Get Cloudier

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood Profile: Joshua Wood

Hi all, ok forgive the terrible pun in the headline but the cloud is all the rage these days and to some businesses it makes a lot of sense. It is basically outsourcing some of your key IT needs to another company. Email is a classic example of this. Places like Gmail or HotMail have been offering “cloud” resources for years and years now. While email isn’t typically the largest bandwidth hog Cisco is betting that cloud services will more bandwidth. A lot more bandwidth actually.

The guys over at have put together a really nice blog about their expected rise of the bandwidth that cloud services are going to use. Among the many things that this site offers one of them is the data that Cisco has done a study and believes that cloud traffic will increase by more than 10 times its current Internet traffic use by 2015.. That is hard to believe. I know that Cisco is betting on applications using more bandwidth and they will but this seems excessive even for a Cisco projection. We will see though.

Until next time,
TechStop (JW)

November 29, 2011  11:45 PM

HP Procurve Manager

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood Profile: Joshua Wood

Hi all, managing your network gear is a chore and not a fun one like cleaning out the ice cream box. It can be tedious and without reward. There are switch backups, monitoring of ports, traffic reporting and more things that are just good house cleaning take a lot of time. In the HP Procurve world there is a tool that can help with that. HP Procurve Manager helps with a lot of these and the price isn’t bad. It is about $1,500.00 for management of up to 50 nodes.

Features that Could Save You Time
– Multiple device firmware updates: automatically obtains new device firmware from HP and updates devices, allowing users to download the latest version or choose the desired version for downloading; network administrators can schedule firmware updates on one or more groups of devices via the easy-to-use Firmware Update Wizard
– Backup and restore utility: provides HP PCM Plus with the ability to back up the net management database and the configuration files of HP PCM Plus; users never have to worry about losing known good configurations or database information when making changes or updates to the network
– In-depth traffic analysis: an integrated traffic-monitoring interface shows detailed information on traffic throughout the network and delivers minute-by-minute views of the volume and content of traffic at specified points within the network; using enhanced traffic analysis protocols such as XRMON and sFlow, users can monitor input and output traffic levels by device (up to 10,000 polled ports per agent) in order to help network managers enhance network resources

More Information About PCM

Until next time,
TechStop (JW)

November 27, 2011  8:17 PM

Cisco – Virtual ASA Firewall

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood Profile: Joshua Wood

Hi all, Cisco has been making a solid effort in recent times to free themselves of the requirement of hardware in order to use their services. This is a great idea and one that I have supported in many of my blog posts. Recently Cisco announced that they will be introducing a virtual ASA.

The expressed point of this virtual ASA is for cloud services. It is even titled “.. Cloud Firewall” right on the home page for the product. It is a good idea. I haven’t seen a release date or time for this product yet but I expect that it will be in the next year. It would be premature to have announced it otherwise, although not unprecedented. I will be watching this product as it gets developed.

Cisco ASA 1000V Cloud Firewall

Until next time,
TechStop (JW)

November 27, 2011  8:07 PM

Sample HP Procurve Coniguration

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood Profile: Joshua Wood

Hi all, a long time ago I published a blog about a sample HP Procurve switch configuration. That blog garnered some good comments. This is an updated and modified version of that same blog post but with the updated changes.

This is the name of the switch. These names are not relevant to the operation of the switch but make you finding it invaluable.
hostname “Switch-1”

This value should be something that you won’t hit easily but not so high that it will eat into the memory of your switch. In order for this value to take effect you need to reboot the switch. I typically take the maximum number of VLANs That I am going to create and add 10. That way I know that I have room to grow but it is still reasonable.
max-vlans 20

This is the time zone that you are in in minutes. So central time would be -360 or -6 hours. If you were in a province with say a 30 minute offset you could accmodate accordingly.
time timezone -300

Daylight savings time settings, you have to love them. You will have to look at the options to see what works for you but their list works for most people.
time daylight-time-rule Continental-US-and-Canada

A good one to use if you. This is a setting lets you turn on routing on a switch. I like to turn this on regardless because that way I am not going back and changing the switch after the fact. Security is a possible issue here to take that into consideration.
ip routing

VLAN 1 is the default VLAN. Usualy, you will want to have this empty since you shouldn’t be using it. Best practice is to create your own VLANs and use those.
vlan 1

The name of VLAN out of the box, name it whatever you want. This will show up in Procurve Manager if you choose to install that piece of software.

This is the setting to remove VLANs from VLAN 1. Keeping VLANs out of VLAN 1 is a good idea. Also note that I have letters in the port names. This is the case if you have a modular switch like 5400. A non-modular switch would simply have number without the letters.
no untagged A1-A24,B1-B22

You don’t always won’t an IP address on a routing switch for every VLAN especially if it doesn’t have any ports assigned to it.
no ip address

An additional VLAN on the same switch.
vlan 10

Name of the switch, but we already covered this.
name “DATA”

This is a native VLAN switch port in the Cisco world. For example, port A3 will receive traffic that is untagged and put that traffic into this VLAN.
untagged A3-A5,A7-A24,B1,B3-B8,B10-B16,B18-B19,B21-B22

If you want one or two IPs on the VLAN go ahead and add those here. Keep in mind that if you turned on routing on the switch with the command “ip routing” that it will do just that via this IP address.
ip address

This is a non-native VLAN in Cisco trunking lingo. For example, port A1 will take traffic that is tagged with VLAN 10 and put it into this VLAN. Every port can only have 1 untagged VLAN but many tagged VLANs assigned to it.
tagged A1-A2,B9

This command times out inactive console or telnet or SSH sessions. This is especially good since HP Procurve doesn’t do this by default.
console inactivity-timer 30

This sends any syslog data to the configured IP. Once such place may be HP Procurve Manager.

The next few commands turn on the time service so that the logs and time on your switch have a point of reference. SNTP is a really really good idea since it will help you know what happened when on the network.
timesync sntp
sntp unicast
sntp server priority 1
sntp server priority 2

Since we turned on the routing for this switch we need to configure a default gateway and this is how we do that.
ip route

SNMP settings, configure these depending on if you need them or not.
snmp-server community “Test” operator
snmp-server host community “public”

Location is always helpful especially for troubleshooting. If you have any more than 5 or so switches knowing at a glance what switch is where will make a lot easier. This also updates the location in HP PCM if you are using that software.
snmp-server location “Computer Room”

These turn on the spanning-tree protocol in order to prevent loops in the network. I highly recommend you turn this on. Even if you don’t use these exact settings anything will help.
spanning-tree force-version rstp-operation

And there you go, that is the basics of a Procurve configuration. Of course there is always more to do such as QoS but this will get anyone started.

Until next time,
TechStop (JW)

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: