2019 on Rule11

Yep, it’s that time of year when everyone does “retrospective pieces…” So… why not? There were several notable events this year—first and foremost, I kicked off a new podcast called the Hedge for network engineers. It’s probably not going to make anyone’s “top ten list of must listen to podcasts” anytime soon (if ever), but it’s been a lot of fun to move out of the commercial podcast space and just talk about “whatever seems interesting.” The History of Networking podcast also became independent this year; we are chugging along at more than 60 episodes, and there are a lot of great guests yet to come.

On the personal front, I moved from LinkedIn to Juniper Networks, and made some progress at school. I have finished my coursework and passed my comprehensive exams, so I’m now a PhD candidate, or as it is more commonly known, ABD.

Rule11 has, as a blog, had a good year. The most popular posts were:

When deploying IPv6, one of the fundamental questions the network engineer needs to ask is: DHCPv6, or SLAAC? As the argument between these two has reached almost political dimensions, perhaps a quick look at the positive and negative attributes of each solution are. Originally, the idea was that IPv6 addresses would be created using stateless configuration (SLAAC).

We often hear about fabrics, and we often hear about networks—but on paper, an in practice, they often seem to be the same thing. Leaving aside the many realms of vendor hype, what’s really the difference? Poking around on the ‘net, I came across a couple of definitions that seemed useful, at least at first blush.

We all use the OSI model to describe the way networks work. I have, in fact, included it in just about every presentation, and every book I have written, someplace in the fundamentals of networking. But if you have every looked at the OSI model and had to scratch your head trying to figure out how it really fits with the networks we operate today, or what the OSI model is telling you in terms of troubleshooting, design, or operation—you are not alone.

BMP is described in RFC7854 as a protocol intended to “provide a convenient interface for obtaining route views.” How is BMP different from setting up an open source BGP process and peering with all of your edge speakers? If you peer using eBGP, you will not see parroted updates unless you look for them; if you peer using iBGP, you might not receive all the updates (depending on how things are configured).

An article on successful writers who end up driving delivery trucks. My current reading in epistemology for an upcoming PhD seminar. An article on the bifurcation of network engineering skills. Several conversations on various slacks I participate in. What do these things have in common? Just this: What is to become of network engineering?

For any field of study, there are some mental habits that will make you an expert over time. Whether you are an infrastructure architect, a network designer, or a network reliability engineer, what are the habits of mind those involved in the building and operation of networks follow that mark out expertise?

If you’re still confused about why this blog is called rule11, then you need to read this post.

Finally, just for fun… My family entered a gingerbread house competition in our town, and won. Now I can add “prize winning gingerbread house maker” to my resume, I suppose.

Keep watching this space, because there is plenty more to come in 2020.


  1. Cathal Mooney on 17 December 2019 at 6:13 pm

    Thanks for all you do for the community Russ… best to you & yours for the holidays.

    Oh and the gingerbread house rules!

    • Russ on 18 December 2019 at 9:31 pm

      Thanks! And thanks for stopping by!