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Wireless Networking Hardware

Duke Wireless Problem Caused by Cisco, not iPhone 195

jpallas writes "Following up to a previous Slashdot story, it now turns out that the widely reported problems with Duke University's wireless network were not caused by Apple's iPhone. The problem was actually with their Cisco network. Duke's Chief Information Officer praises the work of their technical staff. Does that include the assistant director for communications infrastructure who was quoted as saying, "I don't believe it's a Cisco problem in any way, shape, or form?""
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Duke Wireless Problem Caused by Cisco, not iPhone

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  • Re:idiots (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 21, 2007 @09:43AM (#19937563)
    A decent CCNP or CCIE probably would have done packet dumps and debugs and sat there reading RFCs and following the state-flow diagram. Thats what I do, and I'm just a lowly CCNA.

    Why do developer types always have be hating on your friendly IT folk? Developers are some of my best friends, and we ask each-other for advice all the time. I don't meet one stupid developer who I have to explain to what NAT, proxies or TCP options are and say 'ugh, those damn CS geeks!'
  • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @10:51AM (#19937999)
    and forcing 100/full, you had better be doing it at both ends.

    If you aren't, then the devices will come up as half duplex (assuming they properly implement the standards), you have a duplex mismatch, and you _will_ have network problems. 802.3u requires an end which is set to autonegotiate to assume half duplex if the other end will not autonegotiate.

    Except, some Suns can not be forced and will only autonegotiate, in which case you MUST set the switch port to half duplex if you're forcing.
  • Re:More information? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ZWithaPGGB ( 608529 ) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @11:20AM (#19938211)
    "Given the widespread use of Cisco". So Windows must be pretty good too, right?

    Cisco is the Microsoft of networking gear. Their stuff is complete crap compared to the alternatives in every category. It's also overpriced.

    People buy Cisco for the same reason Chambers used to be able to get them to buy IBM Front End Processors (where he cut his teeth as an exec), because No-one gets fired for buying what everyone else buys. They SHOULD be, because they are just buying on inertia, but they don't.
  • Re:idiots (Score:5, Informative)

    by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @11:26AM (#19938255)
    go back and read the slashdot article on the subject when this first came out. Dozen of slashdot guys were reporting that cisco routers and WAP's have a flaw that would enable just such a solution and that you had to patch the routers with a patch that Cisco already had made.

    Cisco makes some solid equipment, but when they let flaky stuff loose it's really flaky. It is also not something you announce to the world first, without throughly checking out your own equipment first, especially when the iPhone was working perfectly fine with tens of thousands of other access points around the country.

  • by mercury83 ( 759116 ) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @12:04PM (#19938499)
    I get this all the time from my software engineer coworkers trying to resolve problems. They notice something that seems unusual and they also note a decrease in performance. They assume that the one caused the other immediately without any other reason and then spend hours trying to resolve the unusual condition that they first saw. It's amazing how often the unusual condition is completely unrelated. In fact, it seems like when something goes wrong, it's easy to spot a whole bunch of problems in your configuration even though none of them are causing the problem.

    If you want to sound a little pedantic, this logical fallacy has a name: Post hoc ergo propter hoc [].

    Why don't they teach logic at these schools?
  • Re:More information? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZWithaPGGB ( 608529 ) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @12:47PM (#19938751)
    Juniper for routers. Extreme for Network Switches. Juniper/Netscreen, Fortinet, or even Checkpoint for firewalls. Intruvert for IDP. Aventail for VPN. Aruba for Wireless.

    Even a Vyatta or other OSS router is as good as or better than all but the biggest, and most horribly expensive, Ciscos.

    But you knew that, because you couldn't point to any evidence that refuted my opinion that Cisco has more than just market share in common with MS.
  • Re:idiots (Score:2, Informative)

    by magneticstorm ( 47620 ) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @12:59PM (#19938839)
    I also used to work with this "hair trigger IT moron" at the university where we both got our top-tier Computer Science degrees. Hands down, he is brilliant. I have seen him at his best, which includes: writing an entire network registration software suite for use at large institutions, diagnosing bizarro network problems, and managing network security issues. It is rather unfortunate that he was quoted as saying he was confident that it wasn't a Cisco-related problem. While that ended up not being the case, I have no doubt in my mind that he had reasonable cause to think so originally. I have always seen Kevin as a rising star, and I am confident that he will continue to do great things.
  • Re:idiots (Score:4, Informative)

    by RzUpAnmsCwrds ( 262647 ) on Saturday July 21, 2007 @06:09PM (#19941265)

    My teacher insisted it was much more efficient to buy mass amounts of generic-branded PCs because the "support was better" in case of hardware failure. Of course I argue that if I build them myself, I already know by the time each one is deployed that the hardware is not a lemon (burn-in testing), and it's probably going to last quite some time

    You've never worked in a large-scale IT environment. At my company, we deploy over 7000 machines per year (1/3 of the entire infastructure) in hundreds of sites around the world.

    Are you going to build and "burn in" 20 machines per day? How many people are you going to hire (probably at least two dedicated employees, which is at least $300k/year in expenses)?

    Who's going to handle packaging and shipping the machines (HINT: Dell/HP/Lenovo spend a LOT of time testing to make sure the PCs arrive intact)?

    When there's a problem, are you going to be able to repair them locally, or will you have to ship them back to headquarters? You can't have a dedicated tech for a 10-man site, but major manufacturers can offer support pretty much anywhere in the world.

    How do you know that your images are going to work? You don't want to find out that some chipset mismatch on 2% of your PCs is causing kernel panics.

    When you have a problem, who's going to fix it? HP/Dell release BIOS updates for years to fix bugs. Good luck getting ANY support out of AsusTek/ECS/Tyan/Biostar/MSI/Gigabyte/Whoever after even 1 year.

    Where do you dispose of your PCs? HP/Dell have extensive recycling programs in place.

    How do you handle your purchase orders? HP/Dell are very good at working with your accounting department. It's not as simple as "put it on the Visa".

    Of course I argue that if I build them myself, I already know by the time each one is deployed that the hardware is not a lemon (burn-in testing), and it's probably going to last quite some time.

    Of the 7396 PCs (desktop and notebook) we deployed in 2005, 143 have failed (1.9%). Generally, we find that the lifetime failure rate is below 3%. You're not even going to get close to that by building them in-house. One of my friends runs a custom-built PC business, and he sees a failure rate closer to 5%, with a large percentage being damaged during shipping.

    As for "lasting quite some time", this indicates that you've never worked in a large IT environment at all. All major IT environments have some sort of lifecycle in place, typically 3 years but sometimes 4 or 5. A typical employee costs the company $150,000 per year (salary + benefits + taxes + etc) - if you replace a $1500 PC every three years, you're only spending $500 per year on the PC. It makes precisely zero sense to stick your $150,000 employee with old technology - if the new PC makes them even 0.5% more productive, you are saving $750 per year.

    You may think that the big manufacturers just throw together parts, but nothing could be further from the truth.
  • Re:More information? (Score:3, Informative)

    by amper ( 33785 ) * on Saturday July 21, 2007 @10:31PM (#19942771) Journal
    You sign one large support contract, makes it very easy to have 'one neck to choke' when there's an issue.

    Unfortunately, the "one neck" often turns out to be yours, rather than the vendor's...

    The reason Cisco's gear is dominant in the networking marketplace has nothing to do with superior hardware, software, or service. It does, however, have quite a lot to do with the fact that Cisco was one of the first players in the IP router market, with products that frequently failed to interoperate with other brands of equipment. The large WAN providers, having a large installed base of Cisco gear, therefore practically forced all their clients into using Cisco routers, since that was the only thing they could guarantee would work with their network. Those of us who knew better chose other brands, and supported it ourselves, at least until it became difficult to so because of mergers and marketplace attrition.

    So, yes, Cisco *is* the Microsoft of networking. It's sad, really.

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