VLAN, VPN and managed switches...

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Thread Starter
Jul 5, 2009
I've been involved in tech support for well over 2 decades. Have a ton of experience with networking and WiFi. An opportunity is presenting itself to me, but I realized that I have no experience with VLANs or VPNs.... And very minimally with managed switches. I'm sure there isn't anything overly complex (for someone with my experience) regard these points, but is there a resource that can give me the "nuts and bolts", basic info I need to speak to these when I meet with my potential new employer? I'll be googling on my own soon.... But always look to the collective for a better answer. Thanks


Trusted Advisor
Spam Fighter
Mar 30, 2008
For VLANs and basic managed switch operations get yourself the CCNA two volume book set to prep for the exam from Cisco Press. It will go over a lot of foundational basics and then go up from there. VLANs will be covered but VPNs will not. VPNs is a whole other world to understand. Again Cisco Press has a few books on VPNs. As I write this, I'm staring at 4 Cisco Press books covering VPNs in my bookshelf; with 3 of them being very thick books.

I admire your go get em attitude, but don't think because you have over 2 decades of tech support experience that just reading the basics on these topics will make you an expert or more directly get you through a job interview. I have a coworker who is extremely smart and experienced who used to work for Nortel. He said he would go through someone's resume before the interview and actually asked detailed questions about anything he/she would put in there. I myself have had interviews from the underworld where I felt like I was raked through the coals. The toughest one I went through was when I was interviewing for Cisco. They had one of the fellows (a guy so high up in Cisco's hierarchy that he will always have a job because of his technical accomplishments) do one of the interviews with me; yes that was one of 5 technical interviews I had for the job with each one lasting about 1 to 1.5 hours. That interview lasted 2 hours with design question after design question. We went from a campus deployment in a new building to include IP addressing and networking topology to adding wireless to this to replication to an offsite facility to software defined networking.

VLANs are something that any network admin should be able to deal with in their sleep as it's a basic feature. When you get into other topics of VLANs such as private VLANs and QnQ VLAN tagging, things can get pretty complex. Also managed switches come in all sorts of flavors and capabilities. You have your basic layer 2 web managed switch where configurations are all done via a web GUI to a full blown layer 3 switch where CLI is the only way to administer it. In the case of the venerable Cisco Catalyst 6500 series, you have a layer 3 switch that crosses into other networking layers with additions of service modules such as the FWSM firewall module, ACE load balancer, and other modules like their NAC module.
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