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  My Cisco Experience    

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My Cisco Experience

By Eugene Broda

 
 

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            My Cisco experience started in 1998, I did not even know what Cisco was! I was sitting in the office in the Computer Science Department at HCC where I work and taught HTML and Internet classes when the Program Director and the Dean were talking about a new Cisco training program - the Cisco System Network Academy Program. They needed two instructors to start this new program, they had determined that Wayne Pollock , a full-time instructor would be the first and they then asked if I would be interested. I said yes!!!!!!

            In the next few months I learned a lot about Cisco, we had a budget of about $100,000 to buy routers, switches, cables, WICs and racks to mount everything on. We also started the "Train the trainer" classes at St. Petersburg College, our Regional Academy. We learned a lot about routers, switches and racks from SPC while training, what to do and what not to do! I was able to take this information back to HCC and put together the Cisco Network Academt at HCC Dale Maby campus. We made the racks on wheels so that we could roll the equipment from place to place. We bought 2611 and 2610 routers and 1912 and 1924 switches. We made 5 racks for the classroom and 1 rack for the lab, which started in romm DTEC 476. In the lab, I was able to seperate the 5 different routers so that students got eh feeling they were routing between different places. We had 5 different tables with 2 computers on each for the different locations. The PCs were connected to either the 1900 switches or a hub. Students had end-to-end networking. The PCs were on the network or they were consoled into the router.

           The classroom was a little harder since these PCs were already on the HCC network. I did put several "other" PCs in the room to use as TFTP servers as well as a location for students to experience the end-to-end networking. I have taught in the Cisco Network Academy at HCC since 1999, I have taught about 75 - 15 week Cisco classes over the past 8 years.

            I have had to move the Cisco lab 2 times since the first stop in 476, it now sits in DTEC 462 about 10 feet from my office, which is a good thing since it has most of my own equipment. To stay current the 2611s and 2610s just were not cutting it, so I bought on Ebay several 2650s, 2610XM and a 3620 router as well as several 2924-XL switches. Again, all the PCs are connected to a different switch and the switches connect to the routers and all the routers are connected through a 2610 that is acting as a Frame Relay switch, end-to-end networking!

My Cisco Rack
My rack at work showing the routers and switches


Cisco Networkers Conventions

            I have had the chance to attend 5 Cisco Networkers conventions over the years. They have been GREAT!!!! I would tell anyone into Cisco networking that they need to attend at least 1 Cisco Networkers convention, nothing like 5,000 to 6,000 networking "geeks" all in one place! I always had a blast - they are not cheap, however, I always worked it in as a "working" vaction and managed to have a great time!

Networkers Orlando

            The first Cisco Networkers that I went to was in Orlando with Wayne Pollock, I stayed at the Disney Sports hotel, which was a 10 min. bus trip away from the main hotel at the Disney Swann. I learned here it is best to be at the main convention hotel, nothing like being able to drop your stuff in your room and change your shirt.

Networkers Chicago

            My second Cisco Networkers was in Chicago, I went with Wayne Pollock and Phill Campbell. We stayed at the host hotel which was at the McCormick Center, this was nice, my room was 5 min. away whenever I wanted to drop my stuff! Chicago was GREAT, got my picture taken with John Chambers, who always has a great speach and some great demos on stage when he is on. The Thursday night "Event" was at the Navy Pier, Cisco had rented the end and had bands, food and lots of drink. You wear crazy hats and have a blast, we walked out to the public part of the pier and had a great night! After Networkers, I took the train to Ann Arbor to visit my sister and then flew home from Detroit!

Me and John Chambers
Me and Cisco CEO John Chambers at Cisco Networkers in Chicago

Networkers San Diego

            My third Cisco Networkers convention was in San Diego, did not want to fly so I took the train. Four days from Tampa to San Diego, it was beautiful!!!!! If you do not have a rush, Amtrack is a great way to travel, I met some very nice people and saw Fl, Al, Ms, La., Tx, NM, Az and Ca - it was stunning! I stayed at the host hotel which was the Marriot, right on the water in Downtown. The convention center is HUGE and even though this hotel was next to the convention center it was a walk from one place to the other. However, the weather in San Diego was GREAT!! Networkers was FANTASTIC and the "Event" was held at the San Diego Zoo, that was a nice night! I walked around most of downtown SanDiego and took the "light rail" down to the Mexican border - did not stay long!!! I passed my CCDA exam at this convention!

Networkers Orlando

            My fourth Cisco Networkers convention was back to Florida, but this was held at a hotel where most of the grounds are under glass, 72 degrees and nice all the time, walking from place to place was no trouble!! I passed my first CCNP (routing) exam here, that was fantastic!!!The Event was held at Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, they had closed off the section around a bunch of the bars and had food, drink and entertainment everywhere! Then after the park closed we were allowed use of it until about 1AM.

Networkers New Orleans

            My fifth Cisco Networkers convention was at New Orleans, took the train again and stayed at the Marriot in the French Quarter, not far from the convention center and on the Cisco bus line. Anyone who says Florida is hot and humid has NEVER been to New Orleans in July!!! Walked out of the hotel and was soaked with sweat! Convention center is huge - I think bigger then San Diego. New Orleans was great, they had a welcome party for us at the House of Blues and all we did all week was party!! The Event was held at the Superdoom, this was great tons of food, drink, bands and lots of entertainment such as mind readers and palm readers etc. I recertified and passed my CCNA on Friday after this party!

The End ... for now !!!!


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