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BlueWolf's Howl

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February 10, 2010

Workbook I Section I

So I'm starting at the beginning and after some time (longer than I wanted/expected) I'm still on the first section. Very disappointing from what I'm used to with more text-based, theoretical material.

My first obstacle was the diagrams. I put most of the rack together and started on Section I - Switching and Bridging. This should be easy, right? This is what I do all day. Not so much.

From the INE materials that I downloaded, the diagrams didn't match up. I knew I had to be on the wrong page or something. I went through the exercise where you put the VLANs you need on the switches. Well, putting the VLANs on the switches themselves is the easy part. I do that all the time. Figuring out which VLAN goes where - that's a kick in the head.

The first thing I ran into was that the v4 rack setup is for Workbook II - or at least I think it probably is...haven't gotten there yet. The second thing is that in these configurations and setups, you're trying to represent a macro environment using a micro physical environment. If this were the 'real world' you would be using a considerable increase in equipment to replicate the environment.

One of the guys from work who is studying for the SP track gave me the best advice -- draw out the environment with colored pencils for the VLANs. The other thing that helped me through this patch was this: if this was a work scenario or environment, I wouldn't have any trouble figuring this out. So I sat at my desk at work and used highlighters and was able to figure out the VLANs. Ta-da!

You use the logical diagram from Workbook I and the TABLE of connections in the workbook to figure it out. You find the connection - see where it's going to (physically) and then color that stem for that VLAN. Once you do that, it's obvious what VLAN needs to be on which switch.

Another thing I noticed is that I'm rusty on a lot of things that I don't use in my current job. Sure, they say that experience is the best for this. Not really. Experience doesn't tell you *why* you're doing what you're doing - just that this works. Granted, you have more opportunities if you're working in the field, but at the same time, you can focus on one or two areas to the exclusion of other topics/protocols. Or you might configure something in only one way - and end up rusty on the other ways of doing a task. Experience is good - but you have to study.

I'm hoping that once I get 'in the groove' on this, things will start going faster. Inertia is always the hardest at the beginning.

Posted by BlueWolf on February 10, 2010 08:05 AM