About the Rule11 Reader
Welcome to the Rule11 Reader. If you are new here, and do not know who I am, why you should trust me, or why you should read what I write about the networking world, it might be useful to check out the short history below so you can familiarize yourself with my past and work.
You might notice a few things about the Rule11 Reader.
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 breadth of material here is very broad. I tend to think about a lot of different things. Since my intent is just to write about what I’m thinking about, this shows up in my writing.
Third, rule 11, RFC 1925, is the standard I judge and think about technologies by. Why rule 11? Rule 11 is explained here.
While I don't pretend to have all the answers, I have been around long enough to at least help you ask the right questions. If you have questions, feel free to contact me here or on LinkedIn.
I began working in the field of 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 declared 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. From there, I moved to the Small Computer Support Office, where I worked on designing and building 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, in the USAF, I moved to Tech Control, where I helped build the PC3 network, and replace the relay-based telco switch with a digital switch, which included 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. My wife and 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 backend TRT. I stayed at Cisco for 16 years, moving through the global escalation team, then Deployment and Architecture for IOS and XR. I left Cisco as a Distinguished Architect. After Cisco, I worked 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 a network architect.
Across those years I have worked on a lot of different projects. The first white paper I published was the EIGRP White Paper, working with Don Slice. To write this paper, we set breakpoints in the EIGRP code, tracing through what happened in each state so we could understand how EIGRP worked. I co-authored the second book published on the Cisco Press label, Advanced IP Network Design, which was released 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 area you can imagine, including retail, high speed trading, retail, financial, manufacturing, and hyperscale. I have helped develop a number of products, as well, co-filing more than 40 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 1970’s through the late 1980’s, moved into computers in the 1980’s, and seriously into network engineering in the late 1980’s. I have been in and around engineering of one kind or another for around 40 years, information technology for around 30 years, and network engineering for around 25 years.