Tag Archives: experience

How to Improve: Stop Doing, Start Understanding

Matt Schmitz/ November 28, 2017

There is a key to being successful at just about any IT job: Stop just doing work, and start understanding what you’re doing. Might seem like an odd thing to say right? But this is something that I have seen confuse engineers at earlier points in their careers. In a lot of jobs, the initial training you receive is fairly

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Tracking Latency and Packet Loss with SmokePing

Matt Schmitz/ April 25, 2017

“The network is slow” – Sound like something you’ve heard before? What does ‘slow’ mean anyway? And is it different from yesterday? Sometimes tracking down network ‘slowness’ can be pretty difficult, especially when you don’t have a good baseline of what is normal. This kind of goes back to one of the tips I shared earlier in ‘A Little Bit of

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Guilty Until Proven Innocent: How to Prove It’s Not the Network

Matt Schmitz/ April 11, 2017

If there is one thing you learn very quickly in networking, it’s that everything is always the fault of the network. Two systems cannot communicate? Yeah, that’s always a network problem. Something is inaccessible? Probably the network. What about that broken toaster? Definitely a network issue. Starting off as a less experienced network engineer, this can easily get overwhelming. A

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Why Have a Home Lab?

Matt Schmitz/ March 21, 2017

If you really want to become great at something, you practice it a ton, right? Well networking and IT work exactly the same. You’re not going to become an expect by just reading a ton of tech books and blogs. While those certainly help, there is nothing better than simply getting your hands dirty. Having a good home lab setup

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Port Security: Worth the effort?

Matt Schmitz/ March 14, 2017

Port Security. Always seems like one of those things covered in Cisco exams, yet how many businesses actually use it? For those that aren’t implementing it, should they? Or is it too much of a headache? So the concept of port security is fairly simple – We want to secure each individual switch port to a physical layer 2 MAC

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Want Change? Make it happen!

Matt Schmitz/ March 7, 2017

Too often, it seems like a common component of office culture is complaining about the issues. “Why do we always do things this way? It’s not the right or best way.” Even when things are running smoothly to most, there will always be someone who believes that things are not being done right. Occasionally you might get lucky and someone

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Why isn’t everything done “the right way”?

Matt Schmitz/ February 14, 2017

IT work is never truly black and white. There are thousands of possibilities, and thousands of ways that those possibilities don’t turn out the way you had expected. It’s easy to walk into a new job, look at the environment, and wonder “What were they thinking?”. But it’s another thing to be in the moment and have to make a

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A Little Bit of Black Magic

Matt Schmitz/ February 7, 2017

I’ve lost track of the amount of times in my career that someone has said “How did you do that?”, “Wow that’s amazing!” or “I would have never figured that out”. My answer is typically that it involved a little bit of black magic – but then I follow it up with an actual explanation. For those less technical, some

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The Argument for Standardized Configurations

Matt Schmitz/ January 31, 2017

There are quite a few things that you don’t realize how great they are until you don’t have them anymore. For me, one of those things was standard guidelines for device configurations. At my last job, documented standards were extremely important – we had them for everything. While some devices might ultimately be configured in a slightly different manner to accommodate

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The Small Things (0x2142)

Matt Schmitz/ January 17, 2017

Even when you’re ten years or so into your career, you can always stand to learn something. It’s important that no matter how experienced you get, you always keep an open mind to other people’s ideas or opinions. As an example to this, I would like to share the story of this blog name. Back when I worked at a

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