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Interview with Top NetPros - Georg Pauwen

Georg Pauwen

gpauwen - Georg Pauwen, Netherlands

Georg Pauwen is a network engineer for Fujitsu Services in Maarssen, The Netherlands. A frequent contributor on NetPro, Pauwen easily could be considered a career problem solver. He's worked in the networking industry for more than a decade and has studied networking extensively while studying for the CCIE exam. Today, he's one of NetPro's top contributors and has helped hundreds of engineers keep their networks up and running.

Q: How long have you been in the networking industry, and why did you get involved in it?
A: I've been in this industry for about 10 years, since the mid 1990s. Back in 1990, I was attending the University of Utrecht in Holland and joined the Erasmus exchange program, which allowed me to attend the University of Florida, Gainesville. I studied there for three years and was offered a job with a company, the International Sales Corporation, which was looking for someone who could speak German. Back then, most companies were just getting into networks and computers. This company had a small network server, and since I showed interest, I was allowed to manage it. They had one server with disc exchange, and you could actually hear it creak. We were physically inserting discs onto a tape drive to get data. I returned to the Netherlands in 1995, and all companies here needed networks, so it was pretty easy to find work. I worked for a marketing company that was selling Network General sniffer software. My next job was with IBM, I worked on their help desk as an agent in mainframe Lotus applications and internal IT support for IBM personnel. In the hay-days of IT, around 1998, a friend of mine at IBM started working as a contractor. I had just finished my MCSE and CCNA certification, and I started to work as a freelancer, doing Microsoft migrations from Novel to Microsoft, and some switching and routing. Back then, if you came from server configuration, you couldn't find out much about anything beyond the server. I figured that the server itself was not the end of it. I wanted the total picture, and the total picture included routers and switches.

Q: Tell me about your job at Fujitsu Services.
A: I've been at Fujitsu for two years, and I support customers who have outsourced IT management to us. This involves remote troubleshooting, remote monitoring of the network, and internal IT departments. I pretty much troubleshoot any problems that come up.

Q: How did you hear about NetPro?
A: Back in October 2002, I had just finished taking the CCIE exam, and I had read all these CCIE study books, and I had often browsed the Cisco Website. It was a coincidence that I browsed Cisco Website and saw the NetPro forum. I saw these questions being asked that were real-life questions, instead of questions from a book. That intrigued me - because back then, I was always sitting with my head in a book. It's much more viable to have knowledge of real life problems, because that's what I was facing every day.

Q: What were the specific business problems/challenges facing your work that influenced you to use NetPro more often?
A: I believe it was router performance problem. I had to resolve a problem on the internal network about router CPU utilization that had caused the network to slow down. Someone on NetPro suggested I turn on the CEF, and that worked well. That answer saved me some time. You know, a lot of people browse NetPro and just wait for someone to ask a question, and then they solve it, quickly. I'm not saying it's any better than TAC, but TAC requires calling and registering, which means much more bureaucracy.

Q: How do you use NetPro to find solutions to everyday networking issues?
A: I use it to help others, and by helping others, I try to learn myself. It is amazing what kind of problems people are facing, some of the stuff you would not even think about.

Q: What other tools do you use to get answers to your networking questions?
A: I use forums a lot-some related to Nortel, Extreme, or other equipment. I find that forums available on the Internet give you al the right answers right away. There is always someone waiting to provide answers. I speak a couple languages, so I can post in foreign language forum, so I can provide even more answers.

Q: Which features do you find the most helpful?
A: I like the simple format. You ask a question, you get an answer. I'm also rather competitive, so I like that I earn points for the problems I resolve. By getting points, it's a little reward for getting a right answer. It keeps it a little competitive.

Q: What is your overall impression of NetPro?
A: I think NetPro attracts the top guys. They really know their stuff. Whenever you ask a question, you don't just get the right answer, you get background as well. You're basically working with these people. It's like a virtual workplace. I might have a lot of points, but that's because I dig deep and eventually find the answer. There are plenty of guys out there who are much smarter than me.

Q: Overall, do you have any suggestions for possible changes/modifications to the site?
A: I think it's great as it is. However, might be nice to put different languages in the forum. A lot of people on NetPro don't speak English very well, but if you offer the forum in different languages, it can help many more people.

Q: Do you have a message for your fellow NetPro users?
A: Keep using it. If you're looking for any answer about networks, use NetPro; you'll for sure find the answer.