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How to get (re)educated – the first steps to becoming JNCIA

by Jasper Jans (JasperJans) on ‎12-09-2011 08:45 AM

This is a guest blog post. Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Jasper Jans, Network Engineer at EspritXB. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company he works for.


As I have shared with you in my first blog post, the company I work for has recently decided to switch from Cisco to Juniper Networks as the main supplier of equipment for our network. As you might imagine this impacts us on several levels one of which I’d like to address today – knowledge.


In the most basic sense once you know one network vendor – or rather once you know networking – you know them all. Sure Cisco does things different from Juniper, as does Alcatel-Lucent, Brocade, HP, you name them. Yet in the end they are all implementing the same things. They all allow you to either route or switch packets, and apart from the proprietary protocols they all do so in a well-documented and standard way. In the end each vendor needs to play nice with the next and products need to interoperate to build a network.  So knowing how to operate an ISP network running OSPF, IS-IS, BGP, MPLS, as well as the customer services on top of that, but only knowing it the Cisco way, means that in order for us to get educated on the new equipment we just need to figure out how Juniper implemented the required protocols.


While talking to the people at Juniper – thanks again Zoe Sands and Cassie Chandler - about how to get the team trained and certified, we got invited to participate in a JNCIA-Junos boot camp organized by Juniper together with their education partner Cavell. This boot camp consists of three half-day web based seminars where an instructor covers the material found on Juniper’s fast track site. Afterwards there is plenty of time for questions by means of instructor lead chat sessions. Cavell tops off this boot camp by providing four two hour sessions along with practice material on their lab equipment. All in all this is a very well executed way of bringing people that already have a networking knowledge base up to speed with the Juniper way of doing things.


By now our team has completed this boot camp and everyone has been very positive about it. Being very familiar with Cisco’s course material, the JNCIA-Junos courseware was not what a lot of them expected it to be. The Juniper course material even on this basic level is both broader as well as narrower in what it covers. Broader in the sense that even at this basic level advanced techniques like CoS and routing policy are covered. Narrower because the material is built around an Ethernet portfolio – hence no serial, frame-relay, and the likes. This for us is spot on since we are operating an Ethernet network.


Does a JNCIA-Junos boot camp like this teach you everything you need to know about operating an ISP core network? No. It does however help in transferring already existing knowledge on how to run such a network but doing it the Juniper way. Does that mean we are done? Another no – there will be many more courses to come, but for now let’s see if we can start by nailing the JNCIA-Junos exam before the end of the year. After that we’ll start our way down the SP-track, which will be material for a future blog post. Watch this space for more updates. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has needed to roll out an education programme across their team and what your experiences were. Please post your comments below, thanks.



Juniper Design & Architecture Center - Mobile Cloud
About the Author
  • Senior Systems Engineer for NEC NZ. Focused on Juniper Networking equipment, SDN and NEC compute platforms. Busy studying for the JNCIP-SP and DC. Outside of work I enjoy the great outdoors: Mountaineering, Bouldering, Rock or Ice climbing, Tramping (hiking to non-Kiwis) and Snowboarding.
  • I'm a Network Security Engineer working with Vodafone in their Cloud and Hosting Services team based in Leeds, UK. My role is to implement, test and deliver secure cloud based solutions to external customers.
  • I am one of a small team of Network Engineers working for Lumison Ltd, a UK ISP/MSP based in Edinburgh, Scotland. I have been with the company for almost 6 years moving from frontline support to the Managed Services team dealing with customer network design and implementation before talking up the role of Network Engineer. As well as the JNCIE-ENT certification.
  • Triple CCIE #21946 (R&S / Service Provider / Storage), JNCIE-SP #851, Technical Consultant at Telindus-ISIT
  • Networking & Security nerd (geek overall), Hockey fanatic, and Junos junkie! Born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI, with a few years of my life out in MN. Been in the IT field since I got out of High School. I've used Juniper products since around 2007, and really enjoy working with them. I currently work for a large retailer based in MI, with a footprint all across the Midwest.
  • Steve Puluka is a Senior IP Engineer with DQE Communications in Pittsburgh, PA. He holds a BSEET along with the professional level certification in Junos Security & Security Support Professional and specialist level in ScreenOS and SSL VPN, JNCDA Design Associate and his original associates in ER & EX. He holds the Palo Alto ACE certification in PanOS 6. He also has certification and extensive experience in Microsoft Windows server, along with strong Vmware skills starting with with version two. He has enjoyed supporting networks for more 20 years.
  • Senior Network Engineer / Architect working for a large ISP in New Zealand. JNCIE-SP#2204, JNCIE-ENT#458.