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Some useful Cisco sites

Everything you want to know about Cisco routers, security, consumer electronics and more

The sites cover a range of Cisco topics undefined from studying and preparing for certification, to operating a Cisco network in an enterprise or service provider environment, to keeping up with security tips and techniques, to just being entertained by the oddities and idiosyncrasies of the Cisco world. These sites are stocked with content written by your peers inside and outside of Cisco.

Etherealmind is the brainchild of Greg Ferro, Cisco CCIE #6920, who describes himself as the "Human Infrastructure for Cisco and Data Networking." Ferro works as a freelance network architect and senior engineer and designer mostly in the U.K. His site features an array of opinions, outbursts, insight and experience. He has more than 20 years in IT, more than 12 in networking and has spent time at large and small financial institutions, service providers, resellers and dot-coms. His current areas of focus are data center, security and application networking technologies.

Cisco customers, engineers, marketers and enthusiasts can never get enough security information. Risky.biz first "aired" in February 2007. Since then, the site has published more than 170 episodes and developed a following among high-level security professionals. In addition to the weekly podcast, the site has recorded security presentations, podcast interviews and job listings. There are also forums for discussion with security peers on the most recent security-related topics, issues and challenges.

Tekcert, authored by Jeremy Cioara, CCIE, Trainer and "really cool guy," according to the blog's Facebook page, used to be Cioara's "Cisco Blog: the world of all things Cisco". Tekcert has broadened beyond that to become a site that blogs about technology, business and certifications. The site, thanks to Cioara, still has considerable amounts of content on networking and Cisco. But more broadly, Tekcert focuses on "helping people further their knowledge and education about technology."

News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters. That's the Slashdot tagline and for most readers, it's accurate. Slashdot has a mix of news, technology, oddities, irreverence and just plain off-the-wall stuff that appeals to the tech savvy. A quick search on Cisco yields submissions and comments on Cisco's recent introduction of its SocialMiner "stalking" software; to the introduction of the 322Tbps CRS-3 router. The submissions might have a specific take on a Cisco, or any other, announcement; and then the comments increase the entertainment quotient of the submission, if not the insight into it. So Slashdot has the potential to inform, educate and entertain those with an interest in technology in general, as well as Cisco.

Cisco's own blogs on Cisco.com provide the company with the opportunity to expand on an announcement, strategy, product line or deployment scenario for customers looking to harness the latest, or legacy, Cisco technology. Strategic imperatives for the company, like video, collaboration and data center/virtualization, are highlighted in topic-specific blogs; and then there are more general Cisco interest sites, like The Platform, Social Media, Web Experience, etc. Perhaps the most infotaining is Cisco Interaction Network, which includes TechWise TV, a site we highlighted in the "20 useful" list two years ago that features folk hero Jimmy Ray Purser and his unique insights into Cisco products, deployments and strategies.

Cisco-nsp is an e-mail reflector for users of Cisco gear mostly in enterprises, but with some service provider contributions as well. Topics are very technical and participants usually offer up a deployment challenge or issue for review, followed by tips, tricks, sympathies and snarky comments on how to rectify it or deal with it. This is a site for true practitioners of Cisco networking, and can be very valuable to those with new or decades-old Cisco implementations.

Like Cisco-nsp, the NANOG e-mail reflector serves the same purpose, but for service providers. Have a site that's unreachable? You might find the symptoms and cause here first. Have a problem with route flapping or BGP update suppression? Find workarounds here. Want a review of a new router or switch, or the best to implement for 10G? Find it here. It's a not a Cisco-specific site by any means but a useful running commentary of issues service providers and network operators grapple with every day, whether they're using Cisco routers and switches or not.

CertGuard performs a search and verification of certification "braindump" sites undefined those that offer quick and easy, and cheap, certification exams and aids, such as those for Cisco CCIE and CCNA, that may lack authenticity. These sites can put the user's certification at risk. CertGuard assesses these sites and offers suggestion on how to get the best bang for your buck without risking your certification. CertGuard says it has more than 1,900 brain dump Web sites and roughly 500 file sharing Web sites listed in its database which are freely distributing copyrighted materials without the written permission of the owners of the material. The site also tracks connections or similarities between certification-related web sites that have previously been undiscovered, and has flagged them for future reference. With this data, CertGuard is focused on assisting candidates in making the correct choice in certification sites, and to stop proxy test takers and unethical brain dump Web sites.

Consumer electronics is also a key new growth endeavor for Cisco. Nowhere is that more evident than the company's $550 million purchase of Pure Digital and its pocket-sized Flip videocam undefined which followed earlier acquisitions of wireless SoHo router maker Linksys and cable set-top box pusher Scientific-Atlanta. Engadget usually has the scoop on some new models of Flip coming down the pike, as well as some of the first coverage of other Cisco and top name consumer gear hitting the market. Engadget also comments on cool and missing features from consumer gear, and forecasts user trends and buying behaviors based on what's currently hot and not.

As the title implies, Jaluri aggregates blogs on Cisco and network issues in general to provide a one-stop shop for Cisco and network-related topics, opinions and technical guidance. In Jaluri's own opinion, it's aggregating "some of the best" network and Cisco blogs, some of which already appear in this list and in the one we did three years ago. Several appear to be targeted at CCIE candidates and undoubtedly many more are authored by CCIEs. There's even one on Juniperundefined

Speaking of which, who at Cisco would not want to keep up on its archrival in routing? Burning With The Bush blogs on All Things Juniper, from core and edge routing to its moves into new markets, such as data center/cloud computing, mobile Internet and wireless LANs. BWTB also provides tips and tricks on configuring and operating Juniper routers and other JUNOS-based platforms. Burning With The Bush collects info from various sources and many authors, crawling through the Web looking for and linking to relevant Juniper and JUNOS-related posts. The site also has authors that write original content. Its founder, Chris Grundemann, is a certified JUNOS engineer undefined JNCIE #449 undefined author of a book on IPv6, founding chair of the Colorado chapter of the Internet Society, and participates in Internet governing institutions. And BWTB is independent undefined the blog is not affiliated with nor endorsed by Juniper.

Qsolved provides quick answers to Cisco technical support questions. The site describes itself as a "community powered, pay to play marketplace" where experts field and respond to questions from Cisco users. Yes, some of Qsolved's services may require payment of fees, according to the site's terms and conditions. But in return you get to download or copy the content from these experts, and other items displayed on the site, provided they are for personal use only and do not infringe on the site's copyright protection. But a perusal of the Qsolved blog shows there's some serious stuff going on in there so it might be worth a look.

Looking for unbiased reviews on Cisco Linksys routers, Aironet access points or Unified Computing System blade servers? Tom's Hardware has been published by Bestofmedia Group since 1996. Bestofmedia claims it was one of the first sites to review computer components. The site is intended to provide independent, unbiased technology news, articles, reviews and reports to IT professionals, purchasers, tech enthusiasts and influencers. It includes comparison charts and benchmark testing on topics such as high-performance PCs, building your own PC, security, business computing and storage.

This is the site for social media news, reviews, opinion and views. Mashable covers the whole Web 2.0 wave, a phenomenon close to Cisco's, and its customer's, heart. For Cisco enthusiasts, Mashable covers significant Cisco announcements undefined like the recent unveiling of the Cius tablet, and the Videoscape Internet TV platform undefined and offers opinions and commentary on those relevant to social media and Web 2.0. Mashable, which was founded in 2005, is also a model for profitable and influential blogging undefined the site has more than 30 million monthly page views from an audience that includes early social media adopters, enthusiasts and entrepreneurs, corporations, journalists, bloggers, and advertising and marketing firms. Mashable claims to have also harnessed Twitter and Facebook as conduits into its site, helping to drive traffic and page view metrics.

Another site for tips and tricks on profiting from social media and Web 2.0 technologies undefined blogs, wikis and the like undefined is Friday Traffic Report. Cisco is a huge proponent of businesses adopting social media and Web 2.0 technologies to help market and make money on their product or service. The Friday Traffic Report is a blog dedicated to assist in blog marketing and money making. The site is authored by Jack Humphrey, who's been at this online thing since 1991. Humphrey claims to have generated billions of site visitors for himself and his online marketing clients over the past decade. He's also into big hair bands, drums, wilderness survival (including cyberwilderness, no doubt), disarming wit and Vegas. Be prepared to be entertained while you learn online marketing tips and tricks. There are also job listings for bloggers, social media practitioners and other techies, including 1,064 at Cisco when we last checkedundefined

Seeking Alpha

A host of investors and pundits blogging about Cisco business, earnings and share price. The site is useful for business-related discussions about Cisco and is particularly good if readers own shares in Cisco. Seeking Alpha focuses on the opinion and analysis of the investor-writers rather than news written by journalists.

Ciptug: The Official Cisco IP Telecommunications User Group

CIPTUG is a forum where beginning and experienced users of Cisco IP telephony products can share experiences, insights, concerns and solutions. The Web site provides members with opportunities to collaborate, participate in conferences, and offers discounts on training and books. The site also allows users to network with Cisco and its partners, and influence product enhancement and direction.

BlindhogThis site offers tips and tutorials to users of Cisco and Linux products, including routers, VoIP and VPNs and firewalls. Tutorials are downloadable for a fee. The name, meanwhile, comes from a saying - "Even a blind hog occasionally finds an acorn." Blindhog is intended to offer answers to difficult networking questions through video tutorials or acorns.

CCIE Journey

CCIE Journey is the blog of a network engineer at a health care company located in Buffalo, NY. In it, he chronicles the trials and tribulations of pursuing a CCIE after working with Cisco equipment for eight years. Not only is it high drama undefined try pursuing a CCIE from Buffalo, of all places but the site also provides useful links to other blogs and sites of interest or assistance to those also on a CCIE quest.

Internetwork Expert's CCIE BlogAnother in a long line of CCIE certification assistance sites. Internetwork Expert, so the site claims, lists candidates that have used the companyundefineds products and services to pass the CCIE Routing & Switching Lab Exam. The siteundefineds blog features discussions, tips and techniques on the latest developments in Cisco routing by three instructors.

CISCO IOS Hints and TricksAuthored by Ivan Pepelnjak, a CCIE, 25-year industry veteran and author of several books on MPLS, VPNs and routing protocols, IOS Hints shares insights on routing and switching anomalies common and uncommon undefined to Ciscoundefineds venerable IOS router operating system. Cisco users can find commentary not only on IOS characteristics, but on IETF routing RFCs, hands-on experience with IPv6, and service level agreements. The site also links back to the authorundefineds employer, a Slovenian network consulting and training company.

TechWise TVAn example of how Cisco eats its own dogfood: geeks hawking Cisco technology in a talk show format over IPTV. Think This Old House for new Cisco products and market initiatives. It even has a cult status star figure in Jimmy Ray Purser. The site is wiki based, so everyone can join the fun! It also includes links to other wiki sites, including those for iPhone enthusiasts, HP printers and Oracle databases.

Colin Mcnamara - CCIE 18233 , RHCE, GCIH, CCVP, GeekA CCIE steeped in designing and implementing converged enterprise networks offering technical reviews and articles on a variety of Cisco and non-Cisco technology issues. This is an opinion blog, not a CCIE certification assistance site. When heundefineds not blogging, McNamara is a senior engineer, focusing on advanced technologies with Eplus Technology, a publicly traded IT reseller and consultancy.

Terry's BlogAuthored by Terry Slattery, CTO and founder of network management company Netcordia, and the second Cisco CCIE number awarded undefined but the first outside of Cisco. Slattery led the development of the current Cisco IOS command line interface and his blog includes interesting, technology-light tidbits on the history of the IOS CLI, and on the ping program for determining the status of SNMP-managed devices. Slattery is something oF a legend in Cisco circles.

ardenpackeer.comeArden Packeer is a Cisco Certified Systems Instructor (CCSI #31090) and network consultant in Melbourne, Australia, and manages the ardenpackeer.com site. Budding and practicing CCIEs will find numerous resources on his site, which has a clear and fresh design. The site is easy to navigate with categories that include a blog, CCIE lab study tips, featured articles, IOS features & management, QoS & VoIP, routing protocols and security. Current featured articles include a tutorial on how to use Cisco MQC and NBAR to filter Web sites like YouTube, and how to set up a basic Dynamips lab using Dynagen.

The Bryant AdvantageYet another site authored by a CCIE to help engineers earn CCNA, CCNP, Network+, A+, and Security+ certifications. The site also posts network certification updates and news. All insight, in question and answer format, is free.

Cisco Centric Open Source CommunityIf you want open source tools, scripts and utilities for your Cisco gear, COSI is the place to go. Tools can be downloaded for free but COSI warns that none of the widgets are supported by Cisco's Technical Assistance Center (TAC), so don't go running to them if you have questions about the open source tools. Among the available tools include ACL_maker.pl, a Perl Script that lets you manipulate Cisco access control lists and Ciscocmd, a Tcl/Expect script that you can use to send a set of commands to a large number of IOS target hosts and get a separated report for each node. The site also provides a link to the Cisco-centric Open Source Initiative page on SourceForge.net, contacts for the developers and a link to Cisco.com's own embedded event manager scripting community.

CCIE PursuitFollowing IT pros who are going for their CCIEs is always an eye opener, and CCIE Pursuit appears in many a blogroll. The Twin Cities-based CCIE pursuer was "stuck doing Cisco" during the dot-com bomb when he really wanted to get into Microsoft server support, he wrote in his first post on April 3. 2007. However, one Cisco networking thing led to another and he eventually landed a job working with a very large Cisco-only network. Being immersed in Cisco protocols he decided to start pursuing Cisco certifications, starting with CCNA, then CCNP and CCIP. He began embarking on his CCIE on April 1, 2007. His blog follows his early days of building his CCIE lab (at work), his experiences with lab rental firms, as well as various Cisco tech tips to his thoughts on the new Cisco Nexus switch. He's come a long way since his "old skool" Microsoft NT certifications.

Networking-Forum.com"Think you know Cisco? Think again" is Networking-Forum's tag line. The site is what the name suggests, a forum where networking pros get together to post questions about Cisco certifications, as well as Cisco products and technologies, covering routing and switching, security, IP communications, hardware and network management. Networking pros are required to register to participate in the forums, which also cover non-Cisco topics, including Juniper, home networking, tech discussions and lab challenges. The site also links to a Google map of the world and pinpoints the regions where its participants are located. There were 4,606 registered users at the time of writing.

The Dallas/Fort Worth Cisco User GroupThe DFWCUG claims to be the world's largest single Cisco users group, as well as one of the first, having been established for 11 years, and now boasts more than 1,400 active members. Technical presentations from its monthly meetings are posted in the downloads section and Cisco-related jobs may be found in the forum. It also has a comprehensive list of the other Cisco users group in the United States and the DFWCUG has helped many other CUGs in the country get off the ground.

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The sites cover a range of Cisco topics undefined from studying and preparing for certification, to operating a Cisco network in an enterprise or service provider environment, to keeping up with security tips and techniques, to just being entertained by the oddities and idiosyncrasies of the Cisco world. These sites are stocked with content written by your peers inside and outside of Cisco.

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