Building network automation solutions

9 module online course

Start now!

Source IP Address in Multicast Packets

One of my readers sent me this (paraphrased) question:

What I have seen in my network are multicast packets with the IP source address set to and source port set to 0. Is that considered acceptable? Could I use a multicast IP address as a source address?

TL&DR: **** NO!!!

It also seemed like a good question to test ChatGPT, and this time it did a pretty good job.

read more see 2 comments

NTP in a Nutshell

Years ago I’ve been involved in an interesting discussion focusing on NTP authentication and whether you can actually implement it reliably on Cisco IOS. What I got out of it (apart from a working example) was the feeling that NTP and it’s implementation in Cisco IOS was under-understood and under-documented, so I wrote an article about it. Of course the web version got lost in the mists of time but I keep my archives handy.

Last weekend I migrated that article to I hope you’ll still find it useful; while it’s pretty old, the fundamentals haven’t changed in the meantime.

keep reading

Path Failure Detection on Multi-Homed Servers

TL&DR: Installing an Ethernet NIC with two uplinks in a server is easy1. Connecting those uplinks to two edge switches is common sense2. Detecting physical link failure is trivial in Gigabit Ethernet world. Deciding between two independent uplinks or a link aggregation group is interesting. Detecting path failure and disabling the useless uplink that causes traffic blackholing is a living hell (more details in this Design Clinic question).

Want to know more? Let’s dive into the gory details.

read more see 4 comments

Goodbye Twitter. It Was Fun While It Lasted

I joined Twitter in October 2008 (after noticing everyone else was using it during a Networking Field Day event), and eventually figured out how to automate posting the links to my blog posts in case someone uses Twitter as their primary source of news – an IFTTT applet that read my RSS feed and posted links to new entries to Twitter.

This week, I got a nice email from IFTTT telling me they had to disable the post-to-Twitter applet. Twitter started charging for the API, and I was using their free service – obviously the math didn’t work out.

That left me with three options:

read more see 7 comments

Worth Reading: Cargo Cult AI

Before we managed to recover from the automation cargo cults, a tsunami wave of cargo cult AI washed over us as Edlyn V. Levine explained in an ACM Queue article. Enjoy ;)

Also, a bit of a historical perspective is never a bad thing:

Impressive progress in AI, including the recent sensation of ChatGPT, has been dominated by the success of a single, decades-old machine-learning approach called a multilayer (or deep) neural network. This approach was invented in the 1940s, and essentially all of the foundational concepts of neural networks and associated methods—including convolutional neural networks and backpropagation—were in place by the 1980s.

add comment

Network Security Vulnerabilities: the Root Causes

Sometime last autumn, I was asked to create a short “network security challenges” presentation. Eventually, I turned it into a webinar, resulting in almost four hours of content describing the interesting gotchas I encountered in the past (plus a few recent vulnerabilities like turning WiFi into a thick yellow cable).

Each webinar section started with a short “This is why we have to deal with these stupidities” introduction. You’ll find all of them collected in the Root Causes video starting the Network Security Fallacies part of the How Networks Really Work webinar.

You need Free Subscription to watch the video.
add comment

Inter-VRF DHCP Relaying with Redundant DHCP Servers

Previous posts in this series covered numerous intricacies of DHCP relaying:

Now for the final bit of the puzzle: what if we want to do inter-VRF DHCP relaying with redundant DHCP servers?

read more see 2 comments

Dealing with Cisco ACI Quirks

Sebastian described an interesting Cisco ACI quirk they had the privilege of chasing around:

We’ve encountered VM connectivity issues after VM movements from one vPC leaf pair to a different vPC leaf pair with ACI. The issue did not occur immediately (due to ACI’s bounce entries) and only sometimes, which made it very difficult to reproduce synthetically, but due to DRS and a large number of VMs it occurred frequently enough, that it was a serious problem for us.

Here’s what they figured out:

read more see 1 comments

Why Is Source Address Validation Still a Problem?

I mentioned IP source address validation (SAV) as one of the MANRS-recommended actions in the Internet Routing Security webinar but did not go into any details (as the webinar deals with routing security, not data-plane security)… but I stumbled upon a wonderful companion article published by RIPE Labs: Why Is Source Address Validation Still a Problem?.

The article goes through the basics of SAV, best practices, and (most interesting) using free testing tools to detect non-compliant networks. Definitely worth reading!

add comment