The 8 Most Common Networking Mistakes

By Heath Freel, President & CTO End to End Networks

This is by no means a scientific list, but instead a list that I came up with based on my experience over the years in the Networking Industry. I hope you enjoy….

8. Investment Protection – When a vendor talks about investment protection, they are making you believe that in 5 years you will simply need to upgrade a component on your networking device and presto, you are launched into the future. This is simply not true, as the advancements in technology are too fast and hardware will need to be replaced.

7. Assuming Anything – No stone should be left unturned when troubleshooting a networking issue. I have seen everything from Coke machines making a printer print garbage, to a Rat using cat5 cable for nesting.

6. Testing Failover – Rarely do things fail the way we expect them to. If you have created a resilient network with multiple routers, switches, firewalls and circuits you must go through a rigorous testing plan to ensure that failover will work in all kinds of scenarios.

5. Datasheets – Vendors release these documents to give some technical details to a devices capabilities, however these documents are a cross between Technical Specs and Marketing material and will talk about features that may actually be licensed add-on’s. You need to read between the lines. A data sheet never tells you what a device will not do!

4. Circuit Provisioning – When you purchase a 50Meg circuit you can not assume that it is provisioned correctly. In so many cases we have seen circuits provisioned incorrectly. The carriers do not necessarily ensure you are getting what you paid for – that is up to you.

3. Assuming your carrier is an expert – We would all like to think that when we call our provider that we get someone on the phone that knows what they are talking about. Generally that does not happen, and yes, they are reading from a script.

2. Two Gateways – When I connect my laptop to the wireless and the wired network at the same time, I am given two default gateways. While this may work for some traffic, it creates asymmetrical routing and can cause many applications to fail. In a network with multiple paths, this problem can go for a long time undetected. This can cause real problems when the traffic must traverse a firewall.

1. Auto/Auto – While most of us expect that our Laptop will connect to the network at the most optimal speed, and usually we are right, the reality is that even today, networking gear will not always negotiate properly. When one device negotiates at 100/Full and the other at 100/Half all sorts of networking issues occur. Most notably, poor performance.