10. Tekcert Blog
An incredible superstructure of Cisco knowledge at your fingertips. Co-founders Jeremy and Adam each run their own blogs, and there are also multiple forums to visit, video tutorials, three levels of Cisco cert knowledge (CCNA, CCNP, CCIE), and a dozen how-to tutorials for students at all level of proficiency. Say the site authors, “The information presented on this site can span a wide variety of topics that include anything from lean six sigma to configuration scripts for applying Quality of Service to a Cisco Router. The focus of the site has intentionally been left broad so a lot of topics can be discussed.” As the feller once said, if you can’t find it here, you don’t need it!
9. Evil Routers
Not too many new updates to this site these days, but between Jeremy’s news and opinions blog and his extensive collection of free CCNA labs, you’ve still got your work cut out for you. Popular pages include an inspirational post titled “Why You Should Be Blogging,” tutorials like “Port forwarding a range of ports on Cisco IOS,” as well as funnier fare, like his hilarious collection of satirical “achievement unlocked” badges.
8. Brad Hedlund
Hedlund’s web design is the very essence of minimal. (If Mies van der Rohe designed blogs…) A lot of it is news-of-the-minute things that might not be as relevant now, but go check out the “most popular posts” link in the top right corner. Apart from separating out the most used tutorial posts (“How to calculate TCP throughput for long distance WAN links“), there’s a whole list of Brad’s study notes on topics ranging from Spanning Tree to IS-IS to OSPF. Sometimes, good things come in stark packages.
Geoff Huston has the most whitepaper-intensive blog of any we’ve seen so far. Blog posts tend to be either very thorough, data-driven pieces or shorter versions of full whitepapers, which can be downloaded as PDFs. Pretty nice little page of tools and scripts, too.
6. Packet Pushers Podcast
We couldn’t mention Ethan Banks’ blog (see below) without also giving space to arguably his best-known endeavor. The Packet Pushers Weekly show (as well as its many spinoffs, including Datanauts, Network Break, and Priority Queue) has been a regular work-day (or drive-time, or dishwashing) companion for aspiring network sorcerers. In addition to the robust forums and IT news, there is also a multi-input blog that features news of the now, and also a multi-author blog. The emphasis is on IT and networking professionals already in their career, so you won’t find as much discussion of cert training, but if you dig through the archives, you’ll find some great evergreen content, such as “Network Design – Where Should I Start?” and “6 Ways IT Pros Can Generate Revenue.” Their slogan says it all: “Where Too Much Networking Would NEVER Be Enough.” If you feel the same way, stop by, and block out an afternoon. At least.
5. Cisco IOS Hints and Tricks
Ivan Pepelnjak is the author of numerous Cisco manuals (Data Center infrastructure, EIGRP network design, MPLS and VPN architecture), and his IPSpace website is a subscription-based webinar service for individuals and companies. But even if you’re not interested in going the pay route, his blog is full of short, substantive tips and tricks, efficiently subdivided by the tags list (137 posts on IP Routing alone!). The site also boasts free podcasts (under the great title “Software Gone Wild!“) and some longer articles. Conveniently laid out, with everything you could need in the margins, Cisco IOS Tips and Tricks gives you a lot of free content before gently guiding you toward the pay wall.
4. Brad Reese
Reese’s blog is pretty bare-bones (it’s part of his repair business), but his nuts-and-bolts news and updates (as well as a surprisingly helpful page of hardware troubleshooting links) makes this a must-visit site for thousands of tech professionals all over the world.
“Writing this blog is about putting something back to the Internet community because a little sharing can go a long way.” So sayeth Greg Ferro, co-host of Packet Pushers (see below) and possessor of the Etherealmind himself. Greg’s mind does wander freely, and some of his best blog subheaders are his musings (usually a dirty word in blog circles) on the state of the industry. (And with 25 years in IT, you can bet he’s seen it all!) His quick-hits and responses to well-circulated news and blog posts always add a new twist or insight, or just critique the industry as a whole. And if you want a bit of fun afterward, don’t miss the great Network Zen series, which is exactly what it sounds like.
2. PacketLife Blog
It’s no wonder that this is one of the most-visited Cisco sources on the internet. Blogs. Packet Captures. An armory of useful tools, all in one place. No matter how much you already know, how many tools you have at your disposal, you’re likely to find something that’ll make your work easier or more efficient.
And the number one, top Cisco resources is…
Was it ever in doubt? If you aren’t already a regular visitor to Chris Partsenidis’ long running (since 2001!) information library, you’re in for a huge surprise. Lest you wonder about their bona fides, Firewall.cx is one of the few websites Cisco Systems recommends in its global Cisco Academy program, and the only official Cisco Press reviewer in the world. They’ve answered nearly 40,000 forum questions and have an enormous free Cisco lab, to say nothing of a great selection of Cisco tools. There’s plenty of other topics here (Microsoft, Linux), but honestly, Cisco fanatics, we know what you’re here for. Stop reading this and GET BACK TO WORK!
I hope you enjoyed our list, and found some great new resources (or rediscovered old sites you’d forgotten) for your cert training, troubleshooting, or just day-to-day work needs. Did we miss your favorite? Would you change the order? Tell us about it in comments! And, as always, thanks for reading.