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Dear Network: You’re in store for an interesting 2016…

Community Manager

Dear Network,

You know we have always been close; in fact, you are as much a part of me as I am you. I want you to know that the next couple years are going to be challenging for us. We’re going to face ups, downs, IoTs, SDNs and a host of other things that will make our life together even more complex. I’ll always have time for you, of course, but you might not get the same attention you’re used to.



As network administrators, we all write letters to our networks, right? Right!? Well, even if you’re not accustomed to these heart-to-hearts with your network, we’d like you to dig deep for us and tell us what wisdom you would offer your network as if it were your own child preparing for the year ahead, which is sure to be filled with disruption and change.

Please use the comments section below to share the words of advice, predictions or confessions you have for your network to ensure it’s ready to take on the brave new world in the year ahead by Friday, November 5 and we’ll give you 250 thwack points in return.

Level 13

Dear Network,

     I'm sorry for all the configuration changes I'm going to have to make in order to get us up to PCI compliance. I know its going to be a big burden on you and for me as well as we have to tweak hundreds of settings on hundreds of servers, migrate to different versions of SNMP, separate out to many, many different VLANs,  etc. This will cause tons of headaches for people, and just know even if they curse you and hate you for making their lives hard and slowing them down, they really are aiming it more towards me. I know you work your hardest and I don't want to you to experience criticism from end-users, but I also don't want you to have your most secret files and information to be leaked to those who might want to use you to hurt other people. Just know that I care about you and am doing my best to protect you, just as daddy would want to protect his precious daughter from harm.

Always thinking about you,

                              Victor J.

Level 10

Network, you are going to make a lot of people unhappy, even angry when you do not live up to their expectations.  I have tried to plan for failures, but as this past World Cup has shown, when there is a run on streaming video, you can only do so much and there is a point that you falter.  Sometimes you can't please everyone, they don't understand bandwidth limits and that VoIP QOE/QOS are more important than YouTube and ESPN3.  It wasn't your fault, I had to block World Cup traffic, it was messing up my Tour de France feed

Level 15

Dear Network

This was a year of many difficulties, and we got through with great intelligence and perseverance.
In 2016 the challenges will are greater, always study only knowledge breaks the handcuffs of arrogance, ignorance and intolerance bringing true freedom, and security with the changes so whatever happens keep breathing.

Thanks for the unique opportunity to work with and always be able to trust you.

By heart

Cláudia Jerônimo.


Network -

it's funny how no one mentions you for the 99.999% percent of the time you're flawless, huh? Talk about a thankless task. Don't worry, though..they may grouse, complain, and kvetch about how much you 'cost', but eventually they always realize this business would perish in two days without you. Also, you and I both know these 'managed' MPLS and Internet services aren't a good fit anymore. We'll break the dependency together. Also, I've been looking at Netflow charts - you're so permissive with these people! Don't ever change, though - I'm on your side.




Dear Network,







I'm sorry for yelling at you Network. I know I need to work on my tone, but I just don't like you sometimes... Okay, most times...




Okay, this is your last chance, Network. If you lose connection one mor

My dearest, most darling, precious Network,

I write you out of most sincere concern, with regards to your recent and unchecked growth.  Have you looked at yourself in the mirror?  This can't be healthy, and my fellow Network Analysts and I are seriously considering an Intervention.

Your unchecked addition of apparently unlimited wireless clients has put a deep dent in our WLAN budget, and Cisco Prime and MSE licensing may not support your continued growth without serious re-evaluation of how you entertain yourself with streaming Pandora audio and Youtube video for your personal pleasure.  It's a corporate LAN and WAN, not your personal TV and radio solution.  Please stream your audio into your earbuds via your own purchased solution instead of clogging the WAN and WLAN with non-work traffic.

If you are unable to control your urges, it may be necessary to restrict your diet. No one wants a padlock on the refrigerator door.

Also, towards a more comfortable next year, let us discuss your habit of removing / retiring / moving devices from patched ports without unpatching the switch port appropriately.  This prevents others from using those ports, and costs us nearly $200 each time you do this.  In a chassis switch of 392 ports, I find it's not unusual to discover 40 or more ports that have had no activity within the last year.  And discovering this information has become less convenient since we upgraded to NCM 7.4 and learned the Inventory function for quickly and easily displaying the list of ports by Last Time Data Was Received was removed, apparently to be made available in UDT.

Yes, I've crafted a manual report in NPM/NCM that allows me to gather this data, but it's not as simple and easy, and we all will appreciate you removing unnecessary patch cables on your own.

If you can do this, I can commit to upgrading your CAT5 cables to CAT6, but not until we see some better results on your part.

Lest you feel this is all criticism of your recent performance, please accept my thanks for your improved uptime, resilience, and throughput!  Please be aware of the rewards:  more demand, more throughput, more critical infrastructure relying on you, new ACI and ISE and NAC applications.

We know you're up to it--keep up the great work!


Rick S.

Level 9

Dear Network,

I know you have worked hard for us this past year and you've done an awesome job weathering storms, having devices arbitrarily unplugged by unknown entities, being moved from here to there and back again, never knowing the load your shoulders will have to bear and bearing it all with a good sense of humor!

2016 will be more of the same I'm sure but as in the case of all workers, we will expect more from you this year - heavier loads, additional circuits and devices, higher up-time, and all for the same low pay you currently receive. Please hang in there with us. Know that you are loved and appreciated by those of us who provide your care and feeding.

If we work together, 2016 can be a tremendous year for both of us!

All my love,


Level 8

This one post is surprisingly refreshing! I used to be a network admin and Solutions Architect. I remember others swearing up a storm when something doesn't implement right. It's hilarious when they vent inside the NOC center. Thanks for this

Level 8

DanielleH‌, this one is very creative. I don't think a lot of admins realize the network they support is a lot like marriage. My wife always talks about the 'other woman' and she means the time I spend working on upgrades and rectifying network problems. Good post!

Level 8

"In sickness and health" until death do us part. (Or I opt out and trade up to a better network with better pay and benefits )

Level 15

Dear Network,

Hurry Up.




Dear Network,

I'm sorry for sending loads of extra traffic between sites because I haven't finished building the DR environment.


Dear Network,


     It's been a tough first year together but we got through it. I know that your previous owners were less than attentive, but hopefully you've seen by now that following the adoption you got what you needed. We've got some big changes planned for FY2016, it will be like a makeover you'll love it.

Your bottlenecks will be removed, your oldest routers replaced. But don't worry we have the tools we need to look after you properly.

Kindest regards


Level 12

Dear Network,

We are sorry that you have been neglected all this time, you are indeed a mess but you have stood by us throughout and not caused us any problems.  Next year we will change that.  We will tidy you up and make you proud once again. The cabling situation will be rectified.  No longer will you be an embarrassment.

Alongside this we will also manage you in a better way, ensure you are backed up and performing in a manner befitting of something so critical.  SolarWinds will help. A lot.

We will also try and minimise the changes that BT implement, we all know what damage that can do.

Watch this space, we will fix you and together we will go on in to the future.  Years from now we will look back together at this and laugh.

We promise.


Level 9

Dear Network,

  I know you have enjoyed that easy peaceful feeling that comes from existing as one homogenous being, letting everyone co-mingle and communicate freely without regard for pace, creds or point of origin.

  It's not that we don't want everyone to get along together and enjoy the freedom to explore you Network, but all good thing must come to and end and it the same with Wild West Feeds.

  Please don't take it personally when we logically chop you up into zones and restrict users in one zone from interacting freely with users in another zone.

  Please don't think we are chopping you up into pieces to be mean or cause you strife.

  Quite the opposite, we love our Network and want you grow and expand into places you have never been before.

  We just want you to be safe when you do this so all of our packets come home to us (and no-one else).

Level 11

Dear Network,

I'm really sorry about the last few months. I couldn't control our ISP from causing so many outages, and I keep planning ways to resolve this, but Mr. Budget won't let me use any of them.

Oh, and that wireless bridge thing...not my idea, bro. Totally a headache, and it got you a lot of scornful looks...kinda like wearing a Halloween costume in July. Sorry, dude. I've got a permanent fix for that coming in '16, and I think you're gonna like it.

I hope you like all the fresh new hardware I threw in. All that old stuff had lost its support, so one wrong step and we could've been knee-deep in you-know-what. That's all taken care of now, and I hope you like your new style. It's faster,sleeker, and definitely sexier, right? There's more of this to come next year - some of the older, dirtier "socks" of the network need to be replaced, and we're gonna take care of all that.

Speaking of dirty socks, you know that disaster area out in the COLO? Yeah, we're gonna clean that up for you, too. Don't you worry, man, that place is gonna look like a proper COLO that you wouldn't be ashamed to bring your girlfriend to. You saw what we did to the corporate office, and boy was that a lot of work, but we're going to do the same thing for the COLO but on a bigger scale (obviously).

We're gonna prime you into shape and make you a lean, clean, packet forwarding machine in no time! Before long, all these lady networks they keep talking about on this post will be flocking to you. Just you wait, bro!



I'm seeing a common theme among these letters.  Networks are aging, Network Analysts want to do a good job replacing and upgrading them, but don't have time or funds (or both) to do it.

Increasing demands by users, by security, and vendors, all are generating apologetic feelings towards networks for what's happened on them in the past year, and what WILL happen in the coming one.

More support staff are obviously required.  Plus, a regularly scheduled and recurring and predictable network maintenance window needs to be contracted with the users.  Perhaps by site, perhaps by switch or by network room or by floor.  But preventative and proactive work needs to be done to keep things flowing and prevent unscheduled outages.

We can share these observations with SW and our Thwack peers, but is anyone in Management listening and preparing to act on these needs?

Level 10

Dear Network,

As a sysadmin, I'm sorry, not sorry, I always place the blame on you.




Dear Network    

Thanks for all you've done over the last year. You did a cracker job. There were minimal issues but all were sorted out in no time. I hope you can keep it up for next year. With shrinking budgets, I'm not sure how many shiny new bits will be added to you throughout the year. Either way, I'm sure you and I will continue to work wonderfully together.

Looking forward to another year ahead!



Level 9

Dear Network,

I know once upon a time you used to run so freely in the green fields.  I am sorry for choking you down with firewalls, proxies, vulnerability scanners, and various other tools that poke and prod at you day and night.  Trust me, this is for your own good, its a dangerous place out there!  While i know that we are throttling your ability to stream YouTube and Pandora, and we block your ability to do... well... just about everything you want to do.  Please understand that its because we love you (and our jobs) and that we dont mean to strangle you at every ingress and egress possible.  I hope that you can forgive us now and in the future as we choke you to near uselessness.

All the best,


Level 8

Of course when talking to a network one must talk at layer 2 or layer 3 (unless you are still using snmp). I tend to use a tool like Ostinato or packeth (scapy is also good). I would use netcat but it doesn't seem to like broadcasting, requires a port.

Follow this recipe at your own risk, sending random packets to all the systems on your network is not a smart thing unless your job is crashing peoples systems and seeing what happens. Not that this will do that but if you do something wrong who knows what bugs you will find in Windows or a scada system. You were warned!

I may have forgot something, the packet should send though with these instructions.

Destination address is the local broadcast, (some Ip addresses changed to protect the innocent)

We will use a simple ping packet with our message embedded.

Ostinato is included in kali, or if not is in the archives. In the fedora security spin your choices seem to be limited to packETH, scapy and packetforge-ng

Open ostinato, select a port in port group 0, most likely eth0. Add a stream then edit the stream.

In protocols select Mac, Untagged, Ethernet II, IPv4, ICMP, none and hexdump.

Open protocol Data. Set the from address to your own mac and the to address as ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff

Set Ethernet 2 to 08 00

ipv4 set the destination to (example only use your own broadcast)

Set your source as your own ip address.

in ICMP leave defaults

payload, is where you will write your message, in hex, which will be broadcast to your whole network.


save (ok) and return to the main window.

Highlight port0-0 and click play, it should send one frame, you may or may not get a reply depending on if your network and you are still on speaking terms.

If you are the network admin you may want to have wireshark running to see the results,



Hackers are coming, or they've already arrived?

Level 14

Dear Network,

You always seems to find a way to overcome all obstacles.  Maybe it has something to do with the good support group that you have.   You continue to do more with less.  You are constantly asking me for upgrades and I am constantly having to tell you that it isn't in the funding.  We don't always listen to what you are telling us.  Everyone complains about you when you slow down.  They don't understand that you get overworked.  They also never seem to find the time to thank you.  So let me be the first to thank you for your service and here is looking to a promising year!  You continue to take care of us and I'll continue to take care of you!

Network Admin

Level 13

Hey, my co-workers was just looking on InformationWeek Network Computing and you guys gotta check this out!!

Some of ours made it in there (our names were scrubbed of course) Did your's make it? ^^

Level 10



Funny!  Mine is the first one.  So sad there's no by-line . . .

Or maybe "I'm so GLAD there's no by-line!"

Rick S.

I still enjoy re-reading this one.  In some ways it reminds me a bit of the BOFH, and how he might've programmed a network to respond to complaints.

Level 9

Congrats to all that made it!  Some good ones on here.

Funniest thing about the article is how absurdly touched I was to be referred to as a 'networking pro'..

Level 13

xD honestly I was thinking about the same thing. i snickered at my desk and pointed at my screen telling my boss "Hey! They think i'm a networking pro!" xD

Level 7

Carefully watching, and anxiously waiting for the next big idea to take the smoke and mirrors out of networking. We've all seen this sort of thing come along and catch us all by surprise when it actually works. I could see some visionary come along and make networking details irrelevant. Some wireless companies are breaking new ground in the area of physical location constraints, overcoming distance, location and protocols limitation found in most other wireless devices. If only we could breakdown the layers of complexity, and simplify A to B moving bits.

I like your take on that.  Reminds me of a Pixar film.  "Hey Shrek--she thinks I'm a STEED!"

Happy memories!

Level 13

Binge watched all three of them last week reminded me of my childhood ^^


rschroeder‌ DreamWorks...

vjerez4129‌ 4 of them...

... Thanks alot 2 year old daughter...

I can't believe this is the stuff in my head now...

Level 13

😮 well i really don't count the 4th but i should rewatch it i guess

Level 10

Did they ever make the Puss-in-Boots movie?

Level 13

Yea they did it was actually kinda cute

Level 10

I'll have to see it then!  🙂  He was my fav Shrek character.

Level 10

NOC Center is redundant, like PIN Number, ATM Machine, VIN Number, and NIC Card.