How our young colleagues are being educated....

Wayne E Bouchard web at
Tue Jan 6 19:20:05 UTC 2015

On Mon, Jan 05, 2015 at 08:40:52AM -0600, John Kristoff wrote:
> On Thu, 25 Dec 2014 19:21:34 -0500
> Miles Fidelman <mfidelman at> wrote:
> > Cisco as the basis of networking material? Does nobody use Comer, 
> > Stallings, or Tannenbaum as basic texts anymore?
> I currently use a Comer book.  I've also used a Tannenbaum book in the
> past, but not recently.  My favorite book, when I've used it was Radia
> Perlman's.
> Increasingly I'm seeing a trend away from actually relying on books if
> even requiring them to be read anymore.  This is both a trend with
> faculty and students.  I frequently get asked if the book is required,
> even when the course page clearly says it is.  Students and often
> faculty often I find rely too heavily on Wikipedia pages, which I've
> found myself going to update since they lead to wrong assumptions and
> answers in questions I've assigned.
> I like to augment, as many faculty do, classic or timely research papers
> into assignments so that students are at least forced to look at
> something other than vendor white papers and blog posts found in search
> engines.
> John

Then again, no course on networking can be complete without a
presentation involving ways in which things are not being used as
originally designed because someone had an idea of how they could do
it differently, for better or worse. (Ala the contradiction in terms
that is "HTTP streaming". Routers two continents away crashing as a
result of eBGP packets for interprovider VPNs is another good one.)
Nor can you call a course complete without a case study of where
things do not work as intended and either very large pFail is the
result or where a more complicated hack fix is needed as a workaround.
Especially relevant with interoperability concerns when multiple
vendors are involved.

Those sorts of things you likewise do not often find in text books or
white papers and probably not on Wikipedia either but they are at the
core of what engineering and operations has contend with day by day.
(Too often people conflate "engineering" with "architecture" and while
they are very much related, they are not one and the same.)


Wayne Bouchard
web at
Network Dude

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