First, this is vendor neutral territory. It’s not that I don’t believe vendors have a place in the market, nor that the role vendors serve is not necessary, etc. Rather, this blog is focused on the individual network engineer, and the engineering and meta-cognitive skills you need to survive and thrive in the world of network engineering.

Second, the material here is very broad. I tend to think about a lot of different things, and I tend to write about whatever I’m thinking about.

Third, rule 11, RFC 1925, is the standard I think about technologies. Why? Read this to find out.

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About Me

I began working in electronic engineering while I was very young, passing the Novice Amateur Radio License exam in 1976 (WB4YRV). I attended Clayton State College in Georgia for two years while I was in high school, where my declared major was in art and illustration. After this, I transferred to Berry College in Rome, Georgia, where my major was music. I left college for personal reasons and entered the US Air Force, where I worked on airfield electronics, including storm detection RADAR systems, Instrument Landing Systems, and other radio and electronics gear.

While in the USAF, I learned to code in BASIC, C, Smalltalk, xBase, and other languages, and learned computer architecture concepts. After some time on the airfield, I moved to the Small Computer Support Office to design and build out the first core network at McGuire AFB in New Jersey. Along the way, I studied towards the Certified Banyan Expert and gained the Certified Novell Expert (which I kept current until Novell Netware 4.11). Later I moved to Tech Control, where I helped build the PC3 network and replace the Strowger relay-based telco switch with a digital switch, including punchdown work, stringing cables, etc.

After leaving the USAF, I went to work for a small VAR in the New Jersey area, where I focused on Novell Netware networks. From there, I went to work for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. I then worked as a network administrator at BASF, then for the advanced technology group at BASF. I decided to leave the New Jersey area, relocating to Raleigh in 1995.

In 1996, I took a position at Cisco Systems in the Hardware TAC team, then moved to FTE, then to the Routing Protocols backline TRT. I stayed at Cisco for 16 years, moving through global escalation, Deployment and Architecture for IOS, and working on XR. I left Cisco as a Distinguished Architect to work for Verisign Labs, researching global Internet security and DNS issues, then was briefly at VCE, then Ericsson working on various provider networks, then LinkedIn as an infrastructure architect. I am now at Juniper Networks, focusing on DC fabrics, open-source, and standards.

Across those years, I have worked on a lot of different projects. My first writing was the EIGRP White Paper. To write this paper, Don Slice and I set breakpoints in the EIGRP code, tracing through what happened in each state to understand how EIGRP worked. I co-authored the second book published on the Cisco Press label, Advanced IP Network Design, in 1999. Since then, I have published a lot of other books and recorded a lot of video training. I have worked on networks in just about every area you can imagine, including retail, high-speed trading, financial, manufacturing, and hyperscale. I have helped develop many products, as well, co-filing more close to 50 software patents.

In 2000, I started working with a small team to develop a new certification, which eventually became the Cisco Certified Design Expert. A second certification came out of this effort, called the Cisco Certified Architect. 

In short, I worked around electronics from the early 1970s through the late 1980s, moved into computers in the 1980s, and seriously into network engineering in the late 1980s.

My current PGP public key can be found here if you would like to send an encrypted email.


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  1. Multicast Musings – DOT's Space on 15 April 2023 at 11:28 am

    […] an interview/podcast that I recorded with Russ White and Tom Ammon on was published. This recording was the result of a paper that Jon […]

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