Thursday, July 19, 2012

Finally IPv6 Makes Sense

I've been helping Cisco customers (mostly Service Providers) in analyzing, planning, and deploying IPv6 in their network since 2007. I have provided both basic and advanced IPv6 training multiple times. And yet these days some people still ask question: why do we need IPv6? In more specific, if the question comes from Internet or Service Providers, the question would be: why do we need to invest in IPv6?

There is comprehensive slide from our marketing team for that. No, I won't discuss that. Nor would I discuss about the alternative like carrier grade NAT or the recommended strategy to migrate IPv4 to IPv6.

In today's reality, some customers are deploying IPv6 in the network because they are running out of public IPv4 address and they believe address translation is not the answer. Some customers are forced to deploy IPv6 by government mandate. For some, they are just following the trend to be on the leading edge. Some customers with superb business mindset are doing it because they are planning to launch new services or to open new business opportunities.

But what does this mean to you as individual?

Most mortals don't know about IPv6. They don't even care. If today you can browse the Internet, check your email, update your Facebook status, tweet your ideas, using IPv4, what different it's going to make when the SP give you IPv6 instead, or tunnel your IPv4 across their IPv6 network? Are you willing to pay more if you are using "IPv6 infrastructure" to use the very same services like Internet? I bet you aren't.

So if you think you are IPv6 guru because you are currently using HE IPv6 tunnel broker, you must be mistaken. For most people, you are just acting like a geek :)

Superb picture from my mentor to show what most people (who work in computer networking area) think about IPv6 address.

So why do the Internet or Service Providers need to invest in IPv6 while most of their users don't even care?

Because IPv6 is not for human being. It's for the "things."
All the things that need to connect to the Internet. PC, smartphones, tablets, wifi routers, IP cameras, IP phones, home appliances, sensors and any IP based devices.

In 2008, the number of things connected to the Internet exceeded human being population. Cisco predicts in 2016 the number of Internet devices is three time the population. So let's say 15-16 billion devices. And they all will need Internet Protocol (IP) address.

That's only 4 years from now. And since IPv4 theoretically can only provide 4 billion total IP addresses (if we can use them all) while IPv6 can provide 340,282,366,920,938,463,374,607,432,768,211,456 addresses, with IPv6 we can even provide 100 to each atom on the face of the earth.

Finally IPv6 makes sense.

Check out the nice infographic from Cisco for this.

And welcome to the Internet of Things.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Too Busy to Study CCIE?

I heard this many times. Himawan, I want to become a CCIE, but I don't have time to study. Either because I'm too busy with my work, my family, my bachelor/master study, my social life, my newly born baby, my upcoming wedding, my (insert the excuse here).

It's always easy to come up with an excuse.

My reply is simple: why you want to become CCIE in the first place? Always start with intention. Good intention always produces good result. What's the purpose of doing something like chasing CCIE? If the reason is worth the time and money spent to become CCIE, one will find the way to get it, no matter how hard.

But Himawan, when you took your first lab, your previous company gave you 2 months off. Yes, but that was 11 years ago when CCIE was still rare and many companies were trying to be the first to have the most number of CCIEs. And as reminder, in exchange I was ready to get fired if I fail in two lab attempts. Will you do the same?

And here is another harsh argument for those who claim want to become CCIE but like to spend more time making excuses instead of working on it:

Given enough time and resource, anyone can pass CCIE.
Will you hire someone who can pass CCIE if he stops working completely and stays at home whole time just to study?
I know I won't.

Why, you may ask? Because we live in a very fast pace era where there is no more time can be allocated solely to study. Everyone is expected to do more with less. To achieve more with shorter time. To be more efficient. To be able to handle multiple tasks and assignments.

So if you want to really become a CCIE, make time. Show the world you can manage multiple tasks from your daily job, your life, as well as from your study. You need that skill to face the pressure during the lab exam day anyway. And for sure you need to be able to do that in real world.

Because that's the quality people are looking from you these days.
Especially after you get your CCIE.

PS: I work as global consultant for Cisco Systems. I lead multiple projects in several countries. I travel from time to time. I help developing CCIE content and write new questions. I speak in Cisco Live. I maintain internal certification program for new engineers. I'm a CCIE mentor inside Cisco. Outside Cisco I run a non-profit organization to help students rom my country to become globally competitive professionals. I have developers working for me to develop the platform for mentoring program and scholarship. I study MBA. I'm a father of three. I go offroading to the desert. I play snowboarding in Ski Dubai. I watch Ice Age 4 and Amazing Spiderman.
You get my point.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Are We Evil Now?

Last night I woke up at 3 am, and found that Cisco has become the new evil. The new big brother. The one who tries to control the world. At least that's how the blog post in here and here see the recent changes with Linksys routers for home networking.

To make the story short: Cisco announced the cloud service for Linksys routers. It dramatically simplifies how users connect, control and interact with their connected devices, including personal entertainment and home appliances. It also offers mobile app which provides easy access to the router using a smartphone or tablet, make it possible for the users to connect devices to their Wi-Fi Router with as little as one tap of a button or with a quick swipe, as well as the Internet content filter app to protect all users and devices from accessing content from security vulnerable sites, adult content and other non-family friendly sites.

That sounds good to me! Cisco seems to change the game, one more time, and this time Cisco shows the world how by utilizing the cloud it can bring home networking to the next level.

But for some others, they see two major issues:
1. After the recent automatic update to the latest software version that supports the cloud service, users now must login to their router using Cisco Cloud Service account. For some people they feel like Cisco is forcing all Linksys owners to subscribe to the cloud service.
2. Those who like to spend time to read a long Term of Service from the cloud service, found some confusing wording that may lead to "Cisco can monitor everything you do and sell your information" kind of thing. Or shutdown the router when the users are accessing warez and porn sites.

Perhaps Cisco should inform the users that with the latest software update their Linksys routers will be connected directly to the cloud. But accusing Cisco is the new big brother? I think it's just too far.

Many people sign up to Facebook and willingly provide their personal details without questions. Google recently changed their term of service that makes it possible to target ads you based on the information you provide. Those companies are "selling" your information in a way, because information is somehow their key product.

But Cisco?

I've been in the company for only 6 years but one thing I know for sure: everyone is damn busy. We have lots of networking products and we are so busy with them. Some of us are busy developing the products. Some are busy selling and marketing them. And some like me are busy deploying them. If you are in the company and not part of the team who either develop, or sell, or deploy the product it means you are a cost center. I don't think we have a big team, who has not generated any money hence the cost center, with daily job to monitor Internet usage of hundred thousands of Linksys owners. Heck I'm not sure even if have a big team to monitor the Internet usage of Cisco employees!

And to date Cisco still makes the revenue from the products and services. And the company focus now are with core networking, data center cloud, video, collaboration, and business architectures. I don't see "targeted advertisement" there. And what Cisco did last year by offering early retirement packages to thousands of employees and shutting down consumers division of Flip, is to become more efficient and inline with the company focus.

So I don't think Cisco is planning anywhere soon to become over-the-top technology company. And I don't see any recent jobs opening for that. Do you?

So what do I personally think about what happened?
Great idea, that introduced with small glitch.

Perhaps the Term of Service needs to be reviewed and scrutinized word by word to avoid the confusion. But that's it.

So is Cisco evil now? No, I don't think so.
At least not with this case.

Instead we are actually ahead of the game in home networking. Think about most people who don't want complexity in managing their wireless connection. Those who want to put parental control to filter Internet connection for their kids. And to monitor their home appliances from the phone.

That's. Freaking. Awesome.

Disclaimer: Yes, I work for Cisco. And yes, I'm proud to be part of the company that changes the way we live, work, play and learn. But the opinions expressed in this post are my own. I was not asked nor forced to write this post by anyone. And if Cisco wants to counter those blog posts they have much better team of writers for the job, as shown from this post.