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New Member

How to assess an unfamiliar network

Hello, I have been working on a network for some time now and I'm new to networking.

I haven't worked on any others so I don't have anything to compare it to.

If I want to find out if my network is "properly" configured based on established norms where do I start?

ACL's ?, AAA settings?, routes?

And now of the question that will cause a fight.

Does anyone know of documentation that can help steer one in the right direction?

I inherited this network after the creator didn't want the ice finger of blame pointed at him by the inspection team.

Each time I attempt to deploy a fix in one area something stops working.

We have over 200 VLANs, most of which we can't figure out what they do or why they were created.

We have a mix of GLBP and HSRP.

ACL's that start off restricting IP's until you get to the end and then the entire network is allowed.


Everyone's tags (2)
Cisco Employee

Re: How to assess an unfamiliar network


Not the answer, but certain points I have for you.

This community - CSC is divided into discussion communities as per technologies.

To know your network is configured properly or not, people should be aware of your norms, else a network can be simple as well as complex as per need.

You should ask specific questions inlcuding product details, like hardware platform and software details, a litle topology brief etc, for users to help you with precise answers and documents.

Break your questions as per technnologies and products and ask seperately on different discussion threads as per technology.

You can select technology-wise community like security, Lan Switching, Routing protocols etc from here :

It will attract attention from experts from these areas and you'll get issues resolved much faster.

Check if you are working with partner:



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New Member

Re: How to assess an unfamiliar network

I have reached out to the cisco for assistance but haven't received any feedback.

This was more than year ago.

We do have a new cisco rep since last November so maybe I'll try again.

Mostly what I was looking for was a kind of best practices to employ.

I come from a Unix Server Admin back ground so I'm used to seeing those standard best ways to layout file systems, how to secure certain files etc....

Thank you for the information I'll give our CISCO rep an email and see what turns up.


Hall of Fame Super Silver

How to assess an unfamiliar network

Start very simple - document what you have. Physical equipment and connections (layer 1) is a good place to start. Then logical - VLANs and subnets (layer 2/3). Where do the layer 3 interfaces / gateways reside. What routing protocols are running? What policies (access-lists etc.) are in place.

Buy a good practical networking book like "The Practice of System and Network Administration" or "Network Warrior". (Those are more relevant for you than the certification type guides.) Read it and jot down ideas that are relevant in your environment.

Then come back to us and ask specific questions as you learn about your network.