How our young colleagues are being educated....

Mike Jones mike at
Fri Dec 26 00:06:46 UTC 2014

I am a university student that has just completed the first term of
the first year of a Computer Systems and Networks course. Apart from a
really out of place MATH module that did trig but not binary, it has
been reasonably well run so far. The binary is covered in a different
module, just not maths. The worst part of the course is actually the
core networking module, which is based on Cisco material. The cisco
material is HORRIBLE! those awkward "book" page things with the stupid
higherarchical menu. As for the content.. a scalable network is one
you can add hosts to, so what's a non-scalable network? will the
building collapse if i plug my laptop in?

As I have been following NANOG for years I do notice a lot of mistakes
or "over-simplifications" that show a clear distinction between the
theory in the university books and the reality on nanog, and
demonstrate the lecturers lack of real world exposure. As a simple
example, in IPv4 the goal is to conserve IP addresses therefore on
point to point links you use a /30 which only wastes 50% of the
address space. In the real world - /31's? but a /31 is impossible I
hear the lecturers say...

The entire campus is not only IPv4-only, but on the wifi network they
actually assign globally routable addresses, then block protocol 41,
so windows configures broken 6to4! Working IPv6 connectivity would at
least expose students to it a little and let them play with it...

Amoung the things I have heard so far: MAC Addresses are unique, IP
fragments should be blocked for security reasons, and the OSI model
only has 7 layers to worry about. All theoretically correct. All
- Mike Jones

On 22 December 2014 at 09:13, Javier J <javier at> wrote:
> Dear NANOG Members,
> It has come to my attention, that higher learning institutions in North
> America are doing our young future colleagues a disservice.
> I recently ran into a student of Southern New Hampshire University enrolled
> in the Networking/Telecom Management course and was shocked by what I
> learned.
> Not only are they skimming over new technologies such as BGP, MPLS and the
> fundamentals of TCP/IP that run the internet and the networks of the world,
> they were focusing on ATM , Frame Relay and other technologies that are on
> their way out the door and will probably be extinct by the time this
> student graduates. They are teaching classful routing and skimming over
> CIDR. Is this indicative of the state of our education system as a whole?
> How is it this student doesn't know about OSPF and has never heard of RIP?
> If your network hardware is so old you need a crossover cable, it's time to
> upgrade. In this case, it’s time to upgrade our education system.
> I didn't write this email on the sole experience of my conversation with
> one student, I wrote this email because I have noticed a pattern emerging
> over the years with other university students at other schools across the
> country. It’s just the countless times I have crossed paths with a young IT
> professional and was literally in shock listening to the things they were
> being taught. Teaching old technologies instead of teaching what is
> currently being used benefits no one. Teaching classful and skipping CIDR
> is another thing that really gets my blood boiling.
> Are colleges teaching what an RFC is? Are colleges teaching what IPv6 is?
> What about unicast and multicast? I confirmed with one student half way
> through their studies that they were not properly taught how DNS works, and
> had no clue what the term “root servers” meant.
> Am I crazy? Am I ranting? Doesn't this need to be addressed? …..and if not
> by us, then by whom? How can we fix this?

More information about the NANOG mailing list