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Interview with Top NetPros - Paresh Khatri

Paresh Khatri

pkhatri - Paresh Khatri, Australia


Paresh Khatri is a network solutions specialist with Alcatel Australia. "NetPro is a very impressive tool, and the fact that it's a global meeting place makes it all the more attractive," he says.


BACKGROUND


Q. How long have you been in the networking industry and why did you get involved in it?

A. I studied in Brisbane, Australia and received Bachelor of Engineering degrees in electronic systems and information technology. My first job was in my home country, Fiji, which is an island nation north of New Zealand. I worked for the Internet services division of the incumbent service provider, Telecom Fiji Limited, for more than two years. After that I was hired as the IT manager for Inland Revenue and Customs, a Fiji government agency. This job made me realize that I am much more interested in networking than management and systems work. I moved to Australia and began working for AAPT Limited, the third-largest telecommunications carrier in the country. When AAPT decided to outsource networking engineering and operations to Alcatel, I began working with Alcatel. Now I am part of the Alcatel team that designs new data services for AAPT, which has a nationwide Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network.


Q. What do you consider the greatest accomplishment in your networking career?

A. Without a doubt, it was implementing an MPLS VPN for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. One reason was the size of the project: 1200 sites. But the bigger challenge was planning the migration to have the least possible impact on the customer, which included developing a proper rollback strategy if things didn't go as planned. One accomplishment was migrating 500 sites in a single night, which took a lot of planning.


CHALLENGE


Q. How did you hear about NetPro?

A. I stumbled onto a link to NetPro from Cisco.com in 2004. I had begun studying for my CCIE® in routing and switching and thought I had discovered an error in some Cisco documentation. NetPro seemed like it would be a good place to put in a query. Someone at Cisco responded to me immediately, and within a week of my posting, the error was fixed. That was a very favorable first impression of NetPro.


Q. What is the value for you in subscribing to NetPro?

A. NetPro has quite a mix of people—Cisco employees as well as users around the world. It is valuable to hear about real-life implementation experiences to supplement Cisco's perspective. Recently I have been using NetPro to learn about the approaches to MPLS traffic engineering taken by global users. NetPro has also helped me study for the CCIE exam, which covers certain topics that I don't deal with day to day, such as multicast. Participating in forums by browsing through questions-and even answering some of them-keeps my knowledge current.


Q. How do you use NetPro to find solutions to everyday networking issues?

A. Typically I start with Cisco.com and search by keywords to find a relevant application note. If I'm not successful there, I use the NetPro search function to see discussions on the topic. That is generally effective. But if I don't receive any answers, I'll put up a question. For example, recently I wanted to know the level at which Cisco had implemented some multicast protocols. I couldn't find the answer on Cisco.com, so I posted the question on NetPro. Someone from Cisco responded within a day. I also like "Ask the Expert", which is a conversation that's moderated by a Cisco engineer. The last one I attended was on MPLS VPN.


Q. What is the toughest issue that NetPro helped you resolve?

A. When I was first learning Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol (EIGRP), I was confused about how the feasible distance was computed after EIGRP ran a local computation. EIGRP is not an open protocol, which makes it more difficult to find low-level information. On NetPro, I had my questions answered right away by a Cisco engineer who is intimately involved with Cisco's implementation.


NETPRO


Q. What is your overall impression of NetPro?

A. NetPro is a very impressive tool. The fact that it's a global meeting place makes it all the more attractive. It's an effective way to get your questions answered quickly because it attracts participants from around the world.


Q. How often do you come to NetPro?

A. I'm pretty much there all day!


Q. Do you have any suggestions for possible changes or modifications to the site?

A. It would be helpful if someone from Cisco would review the forum topics and consolidate a few. If a topic receives only one or two posts a week, maybe it could be combined with another topic. I would also like to see a forum for questions on IPv6.


Q. Do you have a message for your fellow NetPro users?

A. If people would provide as much information as possible when posting queries, including snippets of configuration files, it would help them as well as us by reducing the back-and-forth exchange. Never include public IP addresses and passwords in the configs! I would also like to encourage NetPro users to rate the posts, both to acknowledge the efforts of people who give their time and to make it easier for other users to find the most useful content.


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