Martin Heusinger works as a senior technical instructor for
Global Knowledge, the world's largest privately held provider of
training and enterprise learning services for information
technology (IT) and management professionals. About NetPro, he
says, "It's impressive that so many people are willing to share
their networking knowledge for the benefit of others."
Q. How long have you been in the networking industry and
why did you get involved in it?
A. When I had nearly finished my Ph.D. in
Physics, in 1997, a friend suggested I might want to investigate
networking. My first thought was that networking had little to do
with Physics. But I was a student with little spending money, and
when I heard how much money I could earn per day as a freelancer, I
was impressed. This friend taught me the basics of networking and I
took some classes, and then I started as a freelancer. Networking
was fun! My friend and I developed networking workshops, and later
I was hired by a company that was bought out by Global Knowledge. I
have since earned my CCIE certification in WAN switching.
Q. What does Global Knowledge do?
A. Global Knowledge offers a wide variety of
skills training, including both standard and custom classes for
Cisco as well as other companies. We have offices in 20 countries,
and I'm based in Germany. In 2006, we received the Learning
Solutions Partner of the Year award from Cisco. I teach classes at
all levels, from beginner to CCIE.
Q. How did you hear about NetPro?
A. I visit Cisco.com frequently because my
students constantly bombard me with good questions. I stumbled upon
NetPro by chance when I used the search function and found a NetPro
forum. After reading the posts for a couple of weeks I started to
post, as well.
Q. What did you try to achieve by subscribing to
A. Initially, I skimmed every topic in the
forum to identify my strengths and weaknesses. As an instructor, I
find it very useful to read about real-life experiences, from
simple issues to very complex issues. An example of a simple issue
on NetPro, suitable for students in my introductory class, is how
to subnet an IP address range if you need a certain number of
networks. A more complex issue, which I might integrate into my
more advanced classes, is the difference between a route
distinguisher and a route target in MPLS [multiprotocol label
Q. What other tools do you use in order to get answers
to your networking questions?
A. First I look into the materials that Cisco
provides for its training partners. Next I might ask a colleague.
If someone comes to me with a question that I don't know, I search
Cisco.com. NetPro tends to have the answer even if all my other
resources do not.
Q. What was your toughest issue you had resolved on
A. I posted a question asking how to forward
MPLS VPN traffic down a traffic engineering tunnel for a specific
customer. Within a day or so, someone from Cisco Advanced Services
team answered my question. His answer taught me what is possible,
what is not, and why.
Q. What is your overall impression of
A. NetPro is an impressive tool for people to
gain knowledge about all aspects of networking. Some discussion
topics pertain to specific Cisco technologies, while others relate
to general networking technology, such as how BGP [Border Gateway
Protocol] works. It's a great way to gain insight into solutions to
problems that people have experienced in real life. If you provide
enough detail when you ask a question, you receive good answers in
a very short amount of time - often within an hour. Once I answered
a simple question about subnetting that had just been posted and
then saw that someone from Cisco had posted an answer just two
minutes earlier. I joke that since he had two CCIE certifications,
he was twice as fast as me.
Q. How often do you come to NetPro?
A. I visit a couple of times per week -
whenever time allows.
Q. Which features do you find the most
A. The search function is very useful because
typically you're not the first one who has experienced a particular
problem, which makes it very likely that someone has already posted
the answer you need. The rating of posts is also useful because you
can begin with the answers that other people have rated as most
helpful. I appreciate the Ask the Expert forums, in which experts
from within Cisco answer nearly every question about products,
features, and their recommendations. It is very clear that the
person answering the questions is an expert in the field.
Q. Overall, do you have any suggestions for possible
changes/modifications to the site?
A. Having a moderator reorganize the posts
would be helpful. If posts on VPN and security appear in different
forums, for example, people might not know the best place to post,
which makes it take longer to find answers. Also, having a
moderator remove duplicate posts with the same question might
streamline the site. If NetPro users would use the search function
before posting, they might save time by discovering that the answer
is already there.
Q. Do you have a message for your fellow NetPro
A. Be sure to provide enough information to
enable us to figure out the solution. If you don't, then we will
need to ask for more information in order to understand the
situation. If the question relates to a concrete problem, include
the hardware involved, the configuration, topology, and how you
concluded that something is wrong. Of course, do not post passwords
and other security-related information. I also request that NetPro
users rate posts. This saves time for everybody by letting them
know which posts to read first. Sometimes very good answers are not