Show 83 – We Are An Independent Show

This week it’s just Greg and Ethan talking over a few topics. What was intended to be a quick half hour chat for the new year about Packet Pushers turned into a more than an hour on a whole range of topics that interest us, especially on independence and community. Some technical, some industry stuff and some about our own lives.


  • What the show is.
  • Who we are.
  • Plans for 2012.
    • Mix of sponsored and independent shows. (Hey vendors, get on our radar now, Q1 is already filled.)
    • Still about one show a week.
    • More new voices from the community.
    • More from our popular regulars (Ivan, Mrs. Y, Tom, others)
    • More bloggers.
    • Call for assistance with moderated forum / e*mail list site. (Are we ready to make that plea?)
    • Continued relationship with Tech Field Day.

Do it yourself fibre optic cabling.

Ppp independence Introduction to Mechanical Splicing – Greg’s recent blog post on laser power and cable lengths: Can Fibre Optic Ethernet Cables Be Longer Than the standard?Splice loss on a mech splice = 0.3db whereas fusion splice is <0.1db loss.

Cisco website

Ethan: All I want is a documentation library that’s easy to navigate. Greg: Yeah, right. Greg, hating on Cisco’s Web Siteearlier this year.

Firewall log management

CSM vs FW1 vs Splunk vs SolarWinds LEM

Will you get alerts if your Internet goes down?

Issue – if the Internet at your main site is offline, is there a path for your alerting system to let you know about the issue? Alternatives * Multi-site monitoring * POTS modems * Cradlepoint 3G/4G failover * SMS gateways (?) * Cloudsourced monitoring * Secondary DSL or other cheap Internet (tricky to make effective, often a dead primary Internet circuit can make a dead secondary circuit if serviced out of the same facility or via the same conduit)

The importance of testing failover designs

  • Why?
    • Even simple redundancy designs break due to human error.
    • Complex redundancy designs can break something you did not consider or for reasons that don’t show up on a whiteboard.
  • Types of failover to test
  • Failover routing, i.e. multipath
  • Hardware pairs (redundant sups, core switch/routers, load balancer pairs, firewall pairs, ToR/EoR switches, switch stacks)
  • Load on failover/redundant hardware/software
  • FHRPs
  • Failback – does topology reconverge to preferred state once error is past?
  • Examples
  • Link failover from private WAN to IPSEC (dynamic routing, IPSEC setup, application performance, available bandwidth, VoIP)
  • Application failover to opposite data center (GSLB/DNS, firewall state, load-balancer state, connection spike due to shift)
  • Testing criteria
    • Flapping links and other subtle failures (point- we tend to simulate complete failures, not partial failures, but in real life, failures are often partial)
    • Reachability – key when failing w/o dynamic routing
    • Timers – fast enough? Too fast?
    • Alerting / logging – are you even aware that a failure event has occurred?

Independent Bloggers are more compelling than analysts and journalists

Why independent bloggers write more compelling content than career journalists when it comes to networking. * analyst firms have special access * analyst firms can’t criticise vendors * vendors are both sources of information for research, andvendors are customers who pay analysts for papers * This is a serious conflict of interest and it can be hard to tell who is leading who in the dance. * usually, analysts are not technically strong. Who wants to be an engineer in that sort of organisation ? * Analysts can be arrogant or over proud and this can lead to poor quality research. Independent bloggers tends to display their biases clearly, and openly. Since they are customers, they can afford to speak their mind since they have no stake in the PR/Marketing game. Compare this to analyst firms whose income or source material comes from vendors.

WiFI Mobility Symposium

Packet Pushers is supporting another Symposium following the success of the OpenFlow event. This time its the WiFI Mobility Symposium – more information here ->

Reading RSS / Google Reader

Feedly RSS Reader * Reeder RSS Reader (Mac OSX) and there is an iPad/iPhone app as well. Instapaper (web based ) there is an iPad/iPhone/Android app as well. Read Now (Mac OSX)

Blogs you should have heard of:

iPad or not ?

iPad3 rumored for 2/24. The theory is that it’s Steve Jobs’ birthday, the screen supply issues have been sorted out, and refurbished iPad2 models are sold for $420, about an $80 discount, aggressive pricing for an inventory reduction? All rumors… Greg is probably ditching the iPad for a MacBook Air sometime this year.

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)

  • Pingback: Packet Pushers – Show 83 – We Are An Independent Show — My Etherealmind()

  • Markh1289

    Is the irony that Ethan announces this show is bought to us by Infonetta systems intentional?

  • Glen Pill

    Greg mentions in the show that he catalogues and organises his PDF collection, yet doesn’t mention the app that he uses for this… any chance on letting us know?

    • Etherealmind


      This is kind of complicated as it’s a personal thing. I use OpenMeta tags feature on OSX to add keywords to files. I use three programs to manage this process and the retrieval process.

      I use Leap ( for fast overview and quick’n’dirty tag session. For a heavy duty tag session I use Tags (

      For archiving, researching and grouping I use DevonThink Pro to collect files into a single place( and this also support OpenMeta tagging.



      • Quis

        Greg, how do you manage you pdf bookmarks?
        What do you use to read pdf on you OSX?
        I was using Preview, but Preview put all my bookmarks from different pdf together; so when I opened my CIsco press pdf, I can see my Oreilly’s bookmarks.I tried Skim, but it does the same thing.  I just want something similar to iPad’s Goodread app.  Bookmarks/annotation stays with the ebook.

        • Quis

          Never mind, I figured it out after tinkering with Skim.
          I did not know that I there’s an option for creating Folders, and bookmarks for each book can be placed into those folders.

  • Charlie Clemmer

    Thanks for the blog links. There were a few I hadn’t started following before that are now on my list.

  • Michael McNamara

    Hi Greg and Ethan,

    I’ve enjoyed your shows tremendously and appreciate you keeping things ‘technical’. While your not aproaching the Abbott and Costello fame you make a great pair and complement each other well. Looking forward to hearing more great shows in 2012.


  • Gregory

    Two sponsored posts in a row after this post doesn’t seem that independent.