The Nerd Meter

Sometimes the Packet Pushers start get technical. Well, that happens most of the time and it seems that shows need a tag that indicate just how Nerdy they are. Like a R Rating on a movie that tells it will have sex, violence, bad language ( or hopefully, all three), the Packet Pushers need a rating to warn you how technical it is.


Naturally, the Nerd Meter is logarithmic, in homage to Decibels and Richter scales which are also logarithimic. The Nerd Meter is arbitrary, being measured against a set of preception of the listeners and speakers. However, complete whimsy is not acceptable therefore we must establish criteria against whcih to baseline.


Nerd Meter Levelling
Rating Network Nerd Discussions
Level Guideline
0 You know what a computer looks like
1 You can turn it on
2 You can use MS Word
2.2 And print a Word Document out
2.4 And save it.
2.5 And find it later
3 You can configure a Cisco router at the CLI
3.5 You can configure a Juniper router at the CLI
4 You can configure standard firewalls
You know what Perl is.
5 You understand the purpose of a firewalls
5.1 You know why its spelled Perl and not PERL.
Comprehension of firewall stateful packet inspection
Arguing whether EIGRP is a Distance Vector or Link State protocol
Can configure redistribution of static routes into OSPF
6 Knowing that is doesn’t matter that EIGRP is a DV or Link protocol, no one cares
You know how the HTTP Protocol works
Can configure MPLS
6.1 Can configure virtual firewalls.
7.2 Can design basic MPLS Networks
Routinely enables RED or ECN, and can tune it appropriately for edge vs aggregation vs core (via @dgentry)
8 Comparing switch architectures and backplane performance in Data Centre switches
9.4 Discus network protocols that are pre-standards, in details e.g. SPB-V vs SPB-M and how the use ISIDs if more effective than VLAN tags. While attempting
9.7 Discuss the operating system on a network device and whether the architecture meets the needs of todays market. Review the features therein and debate, with the vendors software development team, what features should be in their product.

Of course, this is a work in progress, and more details will be added to increase it’s accuracy over time. Feel free to email [email protected] with your suggestions.


Greg Ferro
Greg Ferro is a Network Engineer/Architect, mostly focussed on Data Centre, Security Infrastructure, and recently Virtualization. He has over 20 years in IT, in wide range of employers working as a freelance consultant including Finance, Service Providers and Online Companies. He is CCIE#6920 and has a few ideas about the world, but not enough to really count. He is a host on the Packet Pushers Podcast, blogger at and on Twitter @etherealmind and Google Plus.
Greg Ferro
Greg Ferro
Greg Ferro
Greg Ferro

Latest posts by Greg Ferro (see all)

  • Hmm

    I… wish I had nothing better do do than spend time writing stuff like this. Alas, I’m not a blogger and I have a real job.

    • Ferro Greg

      I do this instead of watching TV. Much more fun :)

      • Ben

        Ah ah !!
        I Like that !! Keep up the great stuff !

    • Tophat

      hmm – you’re a cock troll.

      Greg – Love the list! Keep up the great work and the amazing podcast!

  • Jeff

    Greg, Really enjoyed show number 44, Iā€™m looking forward to listening to more deep dive discussion on emerging technologies.

    Keep up the good job and keep that Nerd meter in the red.

  • JCC

    Greg, I know people that for some reason can discuss network protocols that are pre-standards but have no idea how to tune WRED in aggregation networks…where are they located??

  • Jawed

    I like it.