Common operational misconceptions

Ray Soucy rps at
Fri Feb 17 20:40:37 UTC 2012

Maybe ;-)

I don't think it's an age thing, though.

The number of people who have a real interest in technology, and how
things work "under the hood" hasn't changed much.  I know people 10
years younger than me who can keep up with the best of us, and people
10 years older who are complete failures at technology.  People like
us have always been a fairly small number.

What has changed, though, is that there are a lot more young people
who think they have technology skills; perhaps as a side effect of
growing up in a world where the Internet has always been there.
Naturally, we have a lot of people filling IT spots that aren't
qualified and lack the basic knowledge of how complex systems are
built.   To troubleshoot effectively, you need to be able to break
down systems into their components and isolate the problem; and a lot
of people just don't have the background to be able to do that because
they never cared to do so.  It's just a paycheck to them.

Those of us in my age group were lucky enough to be around for the
transition from dial-up BBS, to dial-up Internet, to broadband.  As a
networking geek I don't think I could ask for a better year to be
born, really.  It's always been exciting.

These days I'm playing with DWDM and a state wide R&E network in a
state that established dark fiber as a public utility; doesn't get
much better than that.

I'd say the future is pretty bright. ;-)

On Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM, -Hammer- <bhmccie at> wrote:
> Still buzzing over that cheap auto insurance eh? :) Wait till people stop
> carding you.....
> -Hammer-
> "I was a normal American nerd"
> -Jack Herer
> On 2/17/2012 1:42 PM, Ray Soucy wrote:
>> As someone who was born in 1984 I respectfully disagree. ;-)
>> On Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 9:52 AM, -Hammer-<bhmccie at>  wrote:
>>> Let me simplify that. If you are over 35 you know how to troubleshoot.
>>> Yes, I'm going to get flamed. Yes, there are exceptions in both
>>> directions.
>>> -Hammer-
>>> "I was a normal American nerd"
>>> -Jack Herer
>>> On 2/17/2012 8:29 AM, Leo Bicknell wrote:
>>>> In a message written on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 08:50:11PM -1000, Paul
>>>> Graydon wrote:
>>>>> At the same time, it's shocking how many network people I come across
>>>>> with no real grasp of even what OSI means by each layer, even if it's
>>>>> only in theory.  Just having a grasp of that makes all the world of
>>>>> difference when it comes to troubleshooting.  Start at layer 1 and work
>>>>> upwards (unless you're able to make appropriate intuitive leaps.) Is it
>>>>> physically connected? Are the link lights flashing? Can traffic route
>>>>> to
>>>>> it, etc. etc.
>>>> I wouldn't call it a "misconception", but I want to echo Paul's
>>>> comment.  I would venture over 90% of the engineers I work with
>>>> have no idea how to troubleshoot properly.  Thinking back to my own
>>>> education, I don't recall anyone in highschool or college attempting
>>>> to teach troubleshooting skills.  Most classes teach you how to
>>>> build things, not deal with them when they are broken.
>>>> The basic skills are probably obvious to someone who might design
>>>> course material if they sat down and thought about how to teach
>>>> troubleshooting.  However, there is one area that may not be obvious.
>>>> There's also a group management problem.  Many times troubleshooting
>>>> is done with multiple folks on the phone (say, customer, ISP and
>>>> vendor).  Not only do you have to know how to troubleshoot, but how
>>>> to get everyone on the same page so every possible cause isn't
>>>> tested 3 times.
>>>> I think all college level courses should include a "break/fix"
>>>> exercise/module after learning how to build something, and much of that
>>>> should be done in a group enviornment.

Ray Soucy

Epic Communications Specialist

Phone: +1 (207) 561-3526

Networkmaine, a Unit of the University of Maine System

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