Archive for April 12, 2010

So what is our topic for today? Cisco S.M.A.R.T. Designs.

As CCNA’s or SMB Engineers, you probably understand how to implement Cisco’s various technologies & solutions. Whether researching from old textbooks or online documentation, such things such as creating an IOS firewall that blocks a certain URL or P2P app, or assigning 20% of an interface’s bandwidth to a priority traffic class…these individual tasks are either already known to us or easily researched. All day long we can create extensions and voicemail inboxes and auto-attendants and call routing. In our sleep we can add wireless AP’s with restricted guest VLANs [for those naughty downloads everyone denies knowing -anything- about].

But there are some things that this knowledge does not offer us, and just because we understand the individual processes doesn’t necessarily equate to understanding all of these individual configurations interoperating in a single fluid organism. [I.e. I understand she’s hot, I understand how I want to “configure” her, but do I understand all the steps involved in making her say “yes”? Hmm?]

Securing a single office’s perimeter network is a fairly straight ahead endeavor.

Securing a multi-site network with converged voice and data traffic across both wired and wireless mediums…another matter entirely. I’m sure we all remember our first experience configuring VoIP over wireless. [Incidentally, my first time I mistakenly added a preconfigured 3550 running in VTP Server Mode to an existing network, spent HOURS troubleshooting the ASA, until I finally realized, wow, why is there now only VLAN 1?]

In a nutshell, the problem we’re looking at is network design, which goes beyond just individually configuring a collection of network devices. We must now ask ourselves more than just “how do we configure this one task?” and more importantly, we must understand WHY.

“Why is the only real source of power, without it you are powerless”

-Merovingian, The Matrix Reloaded

You don’t want to be powerless with our customers do you? I thought not.  So…Why do we need so many VLANs for a wireless network? Why do I need a guest VLAN? Why are we creating so many classes of network traffic? Why are we using SSL VPNs instead of IPSec?

Well you have a few choices on how to deal with the dilemma of power

1. You could spend countless hours googling the night away, accelerating yourself into a minor stroke.

2. You could spend 9-12 months studying to become a Cisco Certified Design Professional.

3. You could read a 50 page document that answers these questions, point-blank, targeted directly at Cisco’s SMB product line, and further elaborated with specific examples that are appropriate for an array scenarios.

Considering I’m rapidly approaching my 40’s and have ambitions of actually –enjoying- a girlfriend’s company [crazy notion I realize], the choice for me is obvious: download the SmartDesign documents and enjoy one of the rare moments in life when, yes, I can actually have INSTANT gratification.

See for yourself what SMART Designs guides have to offer:

Noteworthy Downloads

  • Small Business Pro Foundation 1.1 – Design Guide (Network Foundation)
  • Secure Network Foundation 2.5 – Design Guide
  • Smart Business Communications System 2.0 – Design Guide
  • Wireless LAN 2.0 – Design Guide