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Duke Wireless Problem Caused by Cisco, not iPhone

CmdrTaco posted about 7 years ago | from the egg-on-someone's-face dept.

Wireless Networking 195

jpallas writes "Following up to a previous Slashdot story, it now turns out that the widely reported problems with Duke University's wireless network were not caused by Apple's iPhone. The problem was actually with their Cisco network. Duke's Chief Information Officer praises the work of their technical staff. Does that include the assistant director for communications infrastructure who was quoted as saying, "I don't believe it's a Cisco problem in any way, shape, or form?""

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195 comments

deficient (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937353)

Still others seem to imply that Duke's network was deficient in some way because the problem had not been encountered more broadly.

I would say that the network was deficient until the patch was applied. For him to say otherwise implies that there was no problem to begin with.

idiots (1, Insightful)

SolusSD (680489) | about 7 years ago | (#19937357)

this is just another example of hair trigger IT morons with nothing but an MIS (Management Information Systems) degree and experience working on their mom's computer. I can hear it now, "but they are cisco certified!!!". Yeah- certification.. spend a few hours studying some high level networking material, take a test-- now your an *expert*. always blaming whatever is new touching their "pristine" networks.

you're (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937561)

For fucks sake, the word is you're, as in you are. It's really not that difficult.

Re:you're (4, Funny)

uglyduckling (103926) | about 7 years ago | (#19937713)

Shouldn't that be "fuck's sake" or "fucks' sake" - certainly not "fucks sake"..?

Poor Sake (4, Funny)

Oyume (464420) | about 7 years ago | (#19937901)

Why is everyone picking on Sake? I mean, sure it's served slightly warm and in tiny cups, but it's not all that bad to drink, is it?

Re:Poor Sake (1)

Maserati (8679) | about 7 years ago | (#19938181)

<pedantic style="word to the wise">
Sake is only "bad to drink" until you figure out how wildly dangerous hot liquor can be. Once you get used to the difference, it's great. Just don't forget to take the cap off the bottle before you heat it up.
</pedantic>

Re:idiots (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937563)

A decent CCNP or CCIE probably would have done packet dumps and debugs and sat there reading RFCs and following the state-flow diagram. Thats what I do, and I'm just a lowly CCNA.

Why do developer types always have be hating on your friendly IT folk? Developers are some of my best friends, and we ask each-other for advice all the time. I don't meet one stupid developer who I have to explain to what NAT, proxies or TCP options are and say 'ugh, those damn CS geeks!'

Re:idiots (1)

fotbr (855184) | about 7 years ago | (#19937671)

Because there are so many BAD IT folks with certificates that aren't worth the paper they're printed on, that its given the entire field a bad name.

I know maybe a half dozen IT people that are worth their weight in gold pressed latinum, but I know many times that number more that are useless, and cannot figure out how to do simple things without having to have their hand held through the entire process, for something they do on a weekly basis. But they have certificates out the wazoo, so they look good on paper, which gets them hired.

Re:idiots (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19938015)

Hate to break it to you, but almost every industry sector is like that, be it software developers, construction workers, furniture makers, restaurant staff, and even medical staff.

It's actually rare to find an industry where almost everybody is top-notch, simply because most companies don't want to pay the premiums for these folks. I can only think of a few off the top of my head: NASA, Google, most engineering firms...

Re:idiots (2, Insightful)

ejtttje (673126) | about 7 years ago | (#19937715)

I don't meet one stupid developer who I have to explain to what NAT, proxies or TCP options are
That's because we already studied them in our Networking class and wrote our own implementations from scratch for homework assignments while we were getting four-year degrees... ;-P

Just pulling your leg (mostly) ;) I have a feeling you know a lot more by now than anyone finishing a one semester course... and a lot of CS grads get through without taking a networking course in the first place... but the trick is, we both know a lot more than the new recruits wearing their certification diapers and intoning "cisco can do no wrong, buy nothing but cisco, cisco or bust" (because of course, the certified on a specific brand's interface, and have no idea what they're actually doing.)

For example, I love the story of when we visited a university with a cisco-sycophant net admin, and we wanted to put up a linksys wireless access point in the lab for the robots to connect to, and he was resistant until we pointed out cisco had recently bought linksys, so it was actually a cisco device too, and then it was OK. Siiiigh.

But anyway, 15-441 [cmu.edu] ftw! :)

Re:idiots (2, Insightful)

FDDIcent (1085001) | about 7 years ago | (#19937797)

Sounds like a fun class, I was a CS minor, but I never got around to taking Networks, just OS/Datastructures/AI etc. Bummer. Your admin does sound like an idiot. The reason to say 'no' to a Linksys in an environment like mine have mostly to do with support (4 hour RMA), interference with other devices (our Cisco APs all talk to each-other), and management (I want to enforce security policy on you). Who cares if Cisco bought Linksys ;) Its the same reason why our server admins want all HPs, because they already have a shop full of HPs, support agreements etc. Not because HP is magical. There's always the option to change, but in a large enterprise, a homogeneous environment greatly reduces cost IMHO. Then again if I worked in an academic environment I'd be a lot less of a hardass, I work in Healthcare.

Re:idiots (5, Insightful)

nosilA (8112) | about 7 years ago | (#19937775)

I used to work with the "hair trigger IT moron." He has a CS degree from one of the best CS schools in the country, he has been running college networks since 2000, and he does, in fact, know what he's doing.

I will admit though, that he has been known to get ahead of himself. When he looked at the logs and saw a bunch of iPhone MAC addresses spewing garbage, but no other devices are, he assumed that it's an iPhone problem. The quote in Network World is unfortunate, but he is no "hair trigger IT moron." He continued working on getting to the root of the problem and solved it yesterday.

Re:idiots (3, Insightful)

gb506 (738638) | about 7 years ago | (#19938151)

He continued working on getting to the root of the problem and solved it yesterday.


Well, he HAD to continue to work the problem, that's his job, he didn't really have the option of simply ignoring the situation, did he? Not sure that constitutes a pat on the back.


The quote in Network World is unfortunate, but he is no "hair trigger IT moron."


It does, in fact, show that he's willing to drop statements to the press such as "I don't believe it's a Cisco problem in any way, shape, or form," quite prematurely and without factual foundation. In the end a.) he should have kept his mouth shut until he definitively knew what was happening, and b.) if she was at all concerned that the guy was prone to getting ahead of himself, Tracy should have muzzled him from the moment the issue first came to light. Any story involving a potential iPhone problem at this juncture is going to get mega exposure, and Miller and Futhey should have realized that.

Re:idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19938319)

Any story involving a potential iPhone problem at this juncture is going to get mega exposure, and Miller and Futhey should have realized that.
I bet it's precisely because they realized that they went public in the first place.

Re:idiots (4, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | about 7 years ago | (#19938255)

go back and read the slashdot article on the subject when this first came out. Dozen of slashdot guys were reporting that cisco routers and WAP's have a flaw that would enable just such a solution and that you had to patch the routers with a patch that Cisco already had made.

Cisco makes some solid equipment, but when they let flaky stuff loose it's really flaky. It is also not something you announce to the world first, without throughly checking out your own equipment first, especially when the iPhone was working perfectly fine with tens of thousands of other access points around the country.

Re:idiots (1)

eeyoredragon (674402) | about 7 years ago | (#19938575)

Calling someone a moron is over the top. However, it is annoying when you work in a Windows only world, and when something non-Windows of yours screws up, it's because it's not Windows. "I'm having trouble connecting to our VPN." "Must be a mac thing." " We don't support Apple." etc. It seems everywhere I go this is the pat answer I get, and they get annoyed when my response is: That's nice, but you see, I just tried in OS X on my laptop, Windows XP on my laptop, and Windows Mobile on my cell phone. Is there any configuration you do support?

Re:idiots (4, Insightful)

eipo (1131163) | about 7 years ago | (#19937907)

Your assumption at the skill of the network folks at Duke is sadly mistaken. The people at Duke are very intelligent and experienced group of folks that detected a problem on the network that seemed to be related to the iPhone. In turn they contacted BOTH Apple and Cisco and began running dumps to try to figure out what was going on. In the beginning it did appear to be caused by the iPhone and only after a lot of testing and help from Cisco was the true problem discovered. They had Cisco network that functioned perfectly until iPhones started popping up, it wasn't a far stretch to suspect the new device introduced into a working system.

The only thing they did poorly was fail to realize how much the techie world is hot and bothered over ANY news about the iPhone. Had the cause seemed to have been the the latest Crackberry this would have never sweep through the iPhone loving media/techie-verse this quickly.

So come off your superiority complex a bit and cut them some slack. They managed to detect and solve this issue within a week on a massive University network with half the tech world breathing down their collective necks. It wasn't the work of inexperienced MIS folks but group of talented network professionals that had the misfortune of publicly grappling with the iPhone juggernaut and half million know-it-alls on forums like this.

Re:idiots (4, Insightful)

EGSonikku (519478) | about 7 years ago | (#19938519)

Perhaps they should have waited a week then and not announced prior to discovering the true issue that the iPhone was at fault.

Re:idiots (3, Insightful)

jayhawk88 (160512) | about 7 years ago | (#19938167)

Uh huh. Because you've never made a mistake or misdiagnosed a problem when something is broken and your entire customer base is screaming at you to fix it.

Jesus, I love how you all are posting here like you single handly created the first router and invented TCP/IP. Let's try and look at this from the Duke IT perspective: 1. Wireless network is (presumably) working great. 2. iPhone is released, students start showing up with it. 3. Wireless starts getting slammed. Yes it was a wrong conclusion and faulty logic but come on, was it really that horrible? When something breaks the first thing you ask is "What has changed", in this case iPhones were introduced to the network. I guarentee that would have been the first thing I would have looked at.

Re:idiots (1)

Slackus (598508) | about 7 years ago | (#19938313)

Yeah- certification.. spend a few hours studying some high level networking material, take a test-- now your an *expert*
While this holds true for most IT certifications, I have to say that Cisco's CCIE certification is all but a few hours study. Ask anyone who has gone through the CCIE certification.

Re:idiots.. But it is true... (3, Interesting)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about 7 years ago | (#19938405)

I and my group have experienced this at work all the time almost whenever a new person is hired into the network team. Cisco gear do NOT play nice with Sun Microsystems, be it their desktop workstations or their servers. The Cisco gear refuses to properly auto-negotiate with the equipemnt causing issues such as duplex/simplex mis-matches (i.e. the workstation thinks it is connected at 100 Full duplex, while the switch thinks it is connected at 10 Half duplex). Needless to say this causes all kinds of collisions, IErrors, OErrors, etc., on the system and the network. All the Sun gear must have their associate network partner's port forced to 100 Full, and we do the same for the system as well. How do I know the problem is with the Cisco gear? Because the workstation/server works fine if you use a HP, Xylan, Baynetworks, or other switch. The net network engineers immediately believe it is the Sun equipment because they have been brainwashed into believing that Cisco can't make a mistake or a poor product. It usually takes us to demonstrate using 2 or more other switches that the problem only happens on the Cisco. Cisco still denies that there is a problem as well.

Oh and if you don't believe me, do a google "Cisco problems with Sun"...

The Information Age (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937365)

We live in a such a great time. Information can spread from any source to the entire globe in minutes. However, no one actually makes sure it is correct. I'm going to go put tin foil around my bee hives.

Re:The Information Age (2, Funny)

janrinok (846318) | about 7 years ago | (#19937509)

However, no one actually makes sure it is correct.

Isn't that the entire basis for wikipedia?

Re:The Information Age (3, Insightful)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | about 7 years ago | (#19937587)

No, Wikipedia is peer moderated.
While not perfect, obvious mistakes or blatant lies are eventually picked up and corrected - this is why you shouldnt quote Wiki's, but use the references they cite.

Re:The Information Age (1)

janrinok (846318) | about 7 years ago | (#19938139)

Whoosh. Sorry, I wasn't being serious.

I'll feel bad... (5, Funny)

CCFreak2K (930973) | about 7 years ago | (#19937371)

...for the poor guy who said it wasn't a Cisco problem when he starts getting those Apple fanboy death threats.

Re:I'll feel bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937481)

Nothin' scarier than a couple of Apple-lovin' nerds

Re:I'll feel bad... (2, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | about 7 years ago | (#19937551)

when he starts getting those Apple fanboy death threats.

You mean when hack journalists start reporting unsubstantiated rumors of death threats.

Re:I'll feel bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19938657)

Duke IT underling: We figured out the problem. Turns out it was a Cisco problem, not an iPhone problem.
Duke Chief Information Officer: Sweet! Let's hire some strippers.
(Allegedly heard at a Duke IT meeting.)

Re:I'll feel bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19938393)

Threatened by a Mac user? What are they going to do, stab him with a Stylu... oh wait...

Could we please.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937375)

..get some statements and reflections from the usual crowd all-knowing trolls who instantly pointed at Apple in the previous, related thread? Just for some reference, ofcourse.

Re:Could we please.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937619)

Do we ever get such statements from the lunix and apple zealots after we find out that *gasp* Microsoft was actually not responsible for something wrong that happened?

Oh, wait... slashdot never posts those stories.. I forgot... /. only vindicates apple and lunix.

Re:Could we please.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19938219)

Do we ever get such statements from the lunix and apple zealots after we find out that *gasp* Microsoft was actually not responsible for something wrong that happened?
Microsoft probably was involved. Cisco uses Microsoft software internally and it is causing no ends of problems, particularly with respect to defect tracking.

(posted anonymously because I work within Cisco).

More information? (5, Interesting)

physicsnick (1031656) | about 7 years ago | (#19937381)

I'm curious to find more information on this. TFA just says "Cisco has provided a fix". What nature of fix was this? Was it actually a flaw in the routers, or did someone just configure them wrong?

Given the widespread use of Cisco routers compared to the isolated nature of the problem, it sounds a bit like Duke is just trying to save face.

Re:More information? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937493)

Cisco equipment definitely has it's share of bugs, and while it's usually solid I've definitely seen some highly broken crap.

I want a bug id!

Re:More information? (-1, Troll)

fotbr (855184) | about 7 years ago | (#19937681)

Ok, thanks to the AC, I learned that slashdot has a hard-on for cisco equipment like they do anything apple or linux.

/me makes note to self not to speak ill of cisco

Re:More information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937887)

Ok, thanks to the AC, I learned that slashdot has a hard-on for cisco equipment like they do anything apple or linux.

That's why there are so few comments that have been modded up in this article. The mods simply can't decide which side they're supposed to root for. :-p

Re:More information? (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | about 7 years ago | (#19938297)

hmmm [cisco.com] ...

Take your pick. That's just for one controller series. Who knows which Cisco hardware Duke is using, but the problems associated with LEAP (lightweight extensible authentication protocol) are of particular interest.

I'm not pointing fingers either. I have to many broken of my own.

Re:More information? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937767)

They did this for my university too. And then made us sign an NDA so we wouldn't talk about their hardware sucking. Not me, though, so I don't care...I was just the guy that couldn't do my job until the techies figured out a solution.

http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=25112 9&cid=19886053 [slashdot.org]

Our other routers and access points work perfectly. For instance, I have a dozen PCs with Intel network cards that when set to autonegotiate, they get pretty much crippled speeds (feels like dialup)...I have to set the speed to something completely different than our network engineers tell me is right to get any decent speed. The throughput is around a third of the others (100bT) on the Cisco routers. On the old HP routers, it worked perfectly. They work perfectly when put back on other networks. I don't really care to try to fix it at this point as these make up a small amount of my machines and unless I'm pushing images, I really don't care about the speed. So it was never just an Apple problem. Cisco makes substandard products these days and don't seem to mind living off their name and reputation of the past.

Re:More information? (1)

mikkelm (1000451) | about 7 years ago | (#19938171)

So because a handful of identical NICs didn't play well together with whatever Cisco equipment they were interfacing with, instead of investigating the problem and finding out whether the NICs were too liberal in their interpretation of the autonegotiation specifications of 802.3u, or the Cisco equipment somehow messed up a process that should be identical for all NICs with -only- those specific NICs, you chose to just blame Cisco and call their products sub-standard.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not really convinced by your anecdotal evidence that seems to be solely based in assumptions.

Re:More information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937839)

I'm sure that is was less of a firmware fix and more of a configuration provided by TAC. With the wide-spread use of aironet APs, I'm sure more than just Duke would have had this. So it gets down to how did Duke have their wireless network configured. It could be as simple as they dump unauthenticated wireless clients into a guest VLAN and that VLAN didn't have enough IPs available in that subnet. And if they use like LWAPP APs and force people to use a login before getting out to the internet, it could be that their guest network ran out of IPs allowing no one else to get on to authenticate.

Re:More information? (3, Informative)

ZWithaPGGB (608529) | about 7 years ago | (#19938211)

"Given the widespread use of Cisco". So Windows must be pretty good too, right?

Cisco is the Microsoft of networking gear. Their stuff is complete crap compared to the alternatives in every category. It's also overpriced.

People buy Cisco for the same reason Chambers used to be able to get them to buy IBM Front End Processors (where he cut his teeth as an exec), because No-one gets fired for buying what everyone else buys. They SHOULD be, because they are just buying on inertia, but they don't.

Re:More information? (5, Insightful)

physicsnick (1031656) | about 7 years ago | (#19938323)

"Given the widespread use of Cisco". So Windows must be pretty good too, right?
You misunderstood. I wasn't implying anything about the quality of Cisco routers.

Suppose Duke University (and only Duke university) suddenly has problems with all of their Windows boxes. Do you think it's a Windows problem? Given the widespread use of Windows compared to the isolated nature of the problem, it's far more likely that they themselves configured something incorrectly, otherwise all universities should be encountering similar problems.

This isn't to say that there aren't such problems; just as you said, both Cisco and Windows have widespread flaws that affect all universities. But for THIS particular problem, it's more likely to be just a misconfiguration, simply because of the fact that it's localized to Duke.

Re:More information? (2, Interesting)

ZWithaPGGB (608529) | about 7 years ago | (#19938773)

But it isn't Duke, and only Duke, or even iPhones, and only iPhones, that have been having problems with Cisco APs. It's anything other than Windows clients. Cisco has just done a good job of hushing it up by requiring that people sign NDAs to get the fix.

Re:More information? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19938605)

oh REEEEEALLLYYY?

like you have anything better, mr smartypants! well? do ya, punk?

Re:More information? (4, Informative)

ZWithaPGGB (608529) | about 7 years ago | (#19938751)

Juniper for routers. Extreme for Network Switches. Juniper/Netscreen, Fortinet, or even Checkpoint for firewalls. Intruvert for IDP. Aventail for VPN. Aruba for Wireless.

Even a Vyatta or other OSS router is as good as or better than all but the biggest, and most horribly expensive, Ciscos.

But you knew that, because you couldn't point to any evidence that refuted my opinion that Cisco has more than just market share in common with MS.

Re:More information? (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | about 7 years ago | (#19938729)

I've been out of the networking world for a while. Could you tell me which companies are better in the different categories? (such as home, small business, large business, really big ass deployment)

Or even some sites that do these kind of comparisons?

Thanks in advance.

Re:More information? (1)

jaypeg (711764) | about 7 years ago | (#19938259)

I hear they put a together a crack IT team. Then they all went to the local Starbucks and asked them how to set up a wireless router.

Re:More information? (1)

macdaddy357 (582412) | about 7 years ago | (#19938619)

They sent in the Cisco Kid!

Cisco Kid was a friend of mine
The Cisco Kid was a friend of mine
He drink whiskey, Poncho drink the wine
He drink whiskey, Poncho drink the wine

We met down on the fort of Rio Grande
We met down on the fort of Rio Grande
Eat the salted peanuts out of can
Eat the salted peanuts out the can

The outlaws had us pinned down at the fort
The outlaws had us pinned down at the fort
Cisco came in blastin', drinkin' port
Cisco came in blastin', drinkin' port

They rode the sunset, horse was made of steel
They rode the sunset, horse was made of steel
Chased the gringo last night through a field
Chased the gringo last night through a field

The Cisco Kid was a friend of mine
The Cisco Kid he was a friend of mine
The Cisco Kid was a friend of mine
The Cisco Kid was a friend of mine
Cisco Kid was a friend of mine
The Cisco Kid he was a friend of mine
The Cisco Kid was a friend of mine
The Cisco Kid was a friend of mine
Cisco Kid he was a friend of mine
The Cisco Kid he was a friend of mine
The Cisco Kid he was a friend of mine

Dont you people know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937385)

its NEVER the network! Cisco is untouchable! :)

Correlation is not cause and effect (4, Interesting)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | about 7 years ago | (#19937391)

This is unfortunately a common issue with people. When two events happen at about the same time, people assume they're somehow connected. The autism and vaccine link, for example, is one of those things where they get their shots and soon afterwards, they notice their child is acting strangely. Then there's the old "this coincidence must be a sign of the divine" theory.

We run into this all the time when doing server administration. For example, one of our developers found that web pages were slower on our new virtual servers. The obvious thought is that virtualization=slow. It turns out that compression hadn't been turned on for those servers. Since he was going over a slow VPN connection, it made a fairly significant difference. Once switched on, they worked about the same as real servers.

Re:Correlation is not cause and effect (3, Interesting)

kevorkian (142533) | about 7 years ago | (#19937577)

We run into this all the time when doing server administration. For example, one of our developers found that web pages were slower on our new virtual servers. The obvious thought is that virtualization=slow. It turns out that compression hadn't been turned on for those servers. Since he was going over a slow VPN connection, it made a fairly significant difference. Once switched on, they worked about the same as real servers.


Yea , but it was still 'something' related to the change that was made.

The dev may not know all about what was done. All he knows is that "before the change it was fast" and "after the changes it was slow". His only information about the change is that it was new VM servers.

Because of the fact that his knowledge of the change was limited. His observations are no less valid. to him it IS the vm servers that are slower.

You mention server administration , so I assume that you do something tech like as work. When you walk in the door on Monday and there is a problem, do you start trouble shooting the whole system ? or do you first ask "what has changed" and start looking at it from that point ? 9 times out of 10 if something has changed , thats the cause of the problem.

The good thing about this story is about how apple and cisco were able to come together to find the problem. In my experience , cisco is one of the few company's that will admit when its there stuff thats broken. At least once you get through the first levels of support. And duke most likely has a ccie on staff , or a provider contract with cisco to gain access to real support.

Re:Correlation is not cause and effect (1)

Zebra_X (13249) | about 7 years ago | (#19937629)

In your virtualization example - there are mnay more varibales to isolate before you can declare "virtualization is slow". To conclude this based on a remote employee on a new server with a configuration that may or may not be the same is a bit of reach.

If there is an exisiting network that "works" and then a new device is put into use on the network - and then the network breaks... it is reasonable to conclude either the device is a potential source for the issue.

While details are sparse I suspect the Apple network stack was trying to do something completly valid, and the cisco routers were screwing it up.

However, the iPhone was involved as he cites thanks to Apple and Cisco tech support.

Re:Correlation is not cause and effect (1)

trb (8509) | about 7 years ago | (#19937751)

Speaking of correlation, if I were at Duke, before blaming Apple or Cisco, I'd ask myself the question - is this problem happening anywhere else? If not, why not? Then how likely is it that the problem is with my basic system rather than with the way I've configured it?

Re:Correlation is not cause and effect (1, Insightful)

farker haiku (883529) | about 7 years ago | (#19937795)

For example, one of our developers found that web pages were slower on our new virtual servers. The obvious thought is that virtualization=slow. It turns out that compression hadn't been turned on for those servers.

So how was he wrong? The virtual servers were slower.

Re:Correlation is not cause and effect (1)

sholden (12227) | about 7 years ago | (#19938077)

Because "virtualization=slow" is completely different than "The virtual servers were slower".

Re:Correlation is not cause and effect (1)

farker haiku (883529) | about 7 years ago | (#19938189)

actually, you'll notice that the original poster's word choice didn't indicate what the dev said exactly. He said "The obvious thought is that virtualization=slow. " That may be how they interpreted the dev's complaint, but since he didn't quote the dev exactly, we can't know for sure.

But, what we know now is that there is a definite correlation between pointing out someone's mistake, and them flaming you on slashdot. Oh, and modding you troll. That's also much more likely to happen apparently.

Re:Correlation is not cause and effect (1)

sholden (12227) | about 7 years ago | (#19938687)

The other bit I can't see that you seem to is where the dev was declared to be "wrong"?

Re:Correlation is not cause and effect (2, Informative)

mercury83 (759116) | about 7 years ago | (#19938499)

I get this all the time from my software engineer coworkers trying to resolve problems. They notice something that seems unusual and they also note a decrease in performance. They assume that the one caused the other immediately without any other reason and then spend hours trying to resolve the unusual condition that they first saw. It's amazing how often the unusual condition is completely unrelated. In fact, it seems like when something goes wrong, it's easy to spot a whole bunch of problems in your configuration even though none of them are causing the problem.

If you want to sound a little pedantic, this logical fallacy has a name: Post hoc ergo propter hoc [wikipedia.org] .

Why don't they teach logic at these schools?

So what was it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937431)

I read in another article that some Gartner group guy speculated that it was a problem with the wireless network at Duke's security settings, that they were using LEAP (Lightweight Extensible Access Protocol). Since that was an unusually technical speculation by a Gartner-ite, I'm curious if anybody can confirm/deny that.

Re:So what was it (2, Interesting)

freeweed (309734) | about 7 years ago | (#19937615)

Take anything Gartner says and apply the old adage: a stopped clock is correct twice a day. That seems to just about cover their accuracy in most technical matters.

Re:So what was it (5, Funny)

sammy baby (14909) | about 7 years ago | (#19937819)

I prefer Charles Wang's assessment of the folks at Gartner.

"I want to choose my words carefully here, so I'm not misunderstood," he said. "They're a bunch of fucking idiots."


Sorry I can't provide an authoritative cite... but even if it's apocryphal, it's so perfect that I can't care.

Not the iPhone but the iPhone (2, Funny)

tepples (727027) | about 7 years ago | (#19937451)

So it wasn't Apple's iPhone but Cisco's Linksys iPhone [wikipedia.org] that was causing problems, am I right?

Most Don't understanding networking (4, Insightful)

henryhbk (645948) | about 7 years ago | (#19937457)

Many network IT folks just understand how to change settings on routers (what you learn to do in a "certification" course on a router) and understanding networking. Networking is more than just some router settings, and understanding the organic interdependent flowing nature of a network is critical to debugging problems. Just knowing something is causing a problem, and blaming the most recent change as the cause (as opposed to some underlying problem that this change simply brings to light). A senior IT official should, even if he doesn't know the exact problem, know that weird entworking problems are often way more complex than they seem, and should not jump to knee-jerk conclusions (especially based on some 1994 anti-mac bias about networking)

Re:Most Don't understanding networking (2, Funny)

TheEmptySet (1060334) | about 7 years ago | (#19937633)

"weird entworking problems"


Damn those Ents and their slow decision making. First they nearly refused to act to stop the downfall of middle Earth and now, even worse, they are causing problems with Steve's divine creation. Personally I think we should ban them from having I phones if they are going to do this.

Re:Most Don't understanding networking (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | about 7 years ago | (#19937739)

Maybe that's why the entwives left

Praise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937515)

>>Duke's Chief Information Officer praises the work of their technical staff.

This sounds like every company in america... praise for mediocraty. The "technical" people on an
IT staff at a famous university can not figure out what is wrong with traffic on a network?? When
I saw the original post I thought it had to be a joke... Duke, not being able to figure out a network
problem?? They should not be praised, they should have been fired.

And yeah, don't go on with this "oh, but its a big network" retort either... If you work on a big
network, you should be able to fix it.

lol @ Cisco (1)

Neuropol (665537) | about 7 years ago | (#19937517)

I heard a *story form some one that was an old GECO programmer way back when. In the midst of telling me stories about 3 foot diameter platters on huge racks and resistors the size of fists, he went on to tell a story of Cisco and and imminent wireless network failure.

It seems that years ago, some where in Europe, there was an issue with Cisco equipment failure at intervals. Massive wireless network failures and completely indeterminable. After bringing in a team of engineers for some thing like 9 months to assess the situation, they were still unable to determine the cause of failure. Until some one had peered in the way packets were being labeled under VLAN. Apparently Cisco had a number algorhithm issue, by which, say, every 10,000th packet, was getting dropped after being mislabeled and misdirected. After a so many identifying packets were getting dropped, total failure would ensue. I believe there was speculation of a Linux hardware and Cisco compatablity thing happening. Same protocols, just one was taking the shorter route to completion and it just happened to be Cisco to which all fingers pointed.

*The details of this may not be exact, but the ideas and names will remain the same to point out the guilty.

Is a pattern emerging? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937549)

Is Kevin Miller related to Mike Nifong? Beware the science coming out of this institution.

Everyone is a winner (5, Funny)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | about 7 years ago | (#19937575)

Cool. Cisco screws up, iPhone gets blamed, but nobody minds, because iPhones are so cool.

Boss: "Did you get those reports done?"
Underling: "Sorry Boss, I Couldn't. iPhone Congestion."
Boss: "iPhone? ... (smiles) iPhones are cool aren't they!"
Underling: "They sure are boss!"

Boss wanders off feeling good.
Underling returns to screwing around with his iPhone.

Cisco gear just isn't that good. (5, Interesting)

CRC'99 (96526) | about 7 years ago | (#19937585)

I think that after spending a number of years working in Cisco only networks, I'm constantly amazed at the generally poor compatibility and functionality of Cisco equipment.

This ranges from critical recovery steps being removed from the 7200 series G2 NPE (NEVER make one of these crash to ROMMON on boot. The fix is to RMA the NPE) for Xmodem recovery of bootloaders - something a basic 827 router has to their latest 7961 VoIP SIP phones that are apparently RFC compliant for SIP communications - but aren't.

There are MANY things that make Cisco equipment worse and worse as the years go by. Part of it I believe is the outsourcing of the people who write the software for these things now. Chances are that they weren't even around with Xmodem was in use - and I bet a lot of the coders have NEVER admin'ed a network of Cisco gear. This is the only thing I can think behind removing essential recovery procedures for $35,000AU routers.

There's a whole new direction that Cisco is heading, and with the stupid things missing from their new gear, I'm starting to wonder if it's a direction that will have huge impacts for the worse in the network admin side of life.

Re:Cisco gear just isn't that good. (5, Funny)

jkbull (453632) | about 7 years ago | (#19937757)

...(NEVER make one of these crash to ROMMON on boot. The fix is to RMA the NPE)...
I understand the ROMMON, RMA, and NPE acronyms, but what's NEVER stand for?

Re:Cisco gear just isn't that good. (2, Interesting)

CRC'99 (96526) | about 7 years ago | (#19938079)

...(NEVER make one of these crash to ROMMON on boot. The fix is to RMA the NPE)...


I understand the ROMMON, RMA, and NPE acronyms, but what's NEVER stand for?
The NEVER stands for what I mean when I don't want to sit through 8+ weeks of rubbish from Cisco to get the thing RMA'ed (lucky it was in our testing phase and not live equipment). The TAC closed the case off and refused the warranty and it's been put on the account managers plate to fix. You can think of it as _never_ or never - which ever you like. I still refuse to use the flash tag though ;)

Re:Cisco gear just isn't that good. (1)

eblum (624940) | about 7 years ago | (#19938117)

I think the reason for some of the most expensive hardware being difficult to use, is only an excuse to charge a lot for training and certification. The real difference between a $50 router and a $9000 router is basically expansion capability for special modules, CPU power to apply thousands of rules to filter packets and of course $8950.

If you are just going to route packets from network A to network B based on the IP address, both routers will perform just fine.

Another example are some workstation computers that justify their price by building their case of thicker metal plate just to make them heavier. You wouldn't expect expensive work stations to be light and small as the cheap ones although they have the same internal components and OS. Wouldn't you?

Re:Cisco gear just isn't that good. (1)

jkrise (535370) | about 7 years ago | (#19938195)

I think that after spending a number of years working in Cisco only networks, I'm constantly amazed at the generally poor compatibility and functionality of Cisco equipment.
There's a very simple explanation. Cisco, Oracle and Microsoft are 3 big gorillas who make a business of selling closed-source complicated implementations that are supposed-to-be standards-compliant. Unfortunately they are not truly standards-compliant, besides being overly complicated and obfuscated. Hence such compatibility issues.

Notice we have no clue in this particular incident, of what exactly triggered this response from Cisco equipment. It is like a Service Pack from Microsoft - we only get vague details on what it fixes, not how it does it, why the original problem was caused, and who was actually responsible.

Re:Cisco gear just isn't that good. (1)

technormality (1086527) | about 7 years ago | (#19938531)

Are you saying that tftp is no longer support in ROMMON on a 7200/G2NPE? I have a few deployed and haven't had any crash yet nor had a reason to tinker in their ROMMON. So knowing more about this type of scenario would be helpful. Latest Cisco docs (last updated this month/link below) still shows TFTP recovery procedures. http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/routers/ps3 59/products_tech_note09186a00800a750e.shtml/ [cisco.com]

I work for a very big Cisco shop (1, Offtopic)

Random Q. Hacker (137687) | about 7 years ago | (#19937623)

All of our 100mbit servers and the Cisco switches they connect to have to be nailed to 100/Full, because the Cisco hardware refuses to negotiate properly with HP Proliants and Sun hardware. Yet a $40 D-Link can manage just fine.

Not to mention how buggy IOS releases have become in recent years.

I wonder how many folks will start checking out Juniper.

Re:I work for a very big Cisco shop (1)

CRC'99 (96526) | about 7 years ago | (#19937641)

Wow - I think my experiences are quite the same... Check out my post above yours :P

If you're turning off autonegotiate... (2, Informative)

msauve (701917) | about 7 years ago | (#19937999)

and forcing 100/full, you had better be doing it at both ends.

If you aren't, then the devices will come up as half duplex (assuming they properly implement the standards), you have a duplex mismatch, and you _will_ have network problems. 802.3u requires an end which is set to autonegotiate to assume half duplex if the other end will not autonegotiate.

Except, some Suns can not be forced and will only autonegotiate, in which case you MUST set the switch port to half duplex if you're forcing.

Re:If you're turning off autonegotiate... (1)

ivan256 (17499) | about 7 years ago | (#19938041)

The whole thing wouldn't be an issue if Cisco hadn't patented their auto-negotiation process. If we had reliable auto-negotiation nobody would have to force anything.

In Other News... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937651)

/.ers list the total number of IT troubleshooters who have never made a bad call...

.. er, that's it.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937759)

assistant director Kevin Miller said it was Apple's fault.

"Kevin Miller, assistant director, communications infrastructure, with Duke's Office of Information Technology, laid the blame for Duke's networking problems squarely on the iPhone.
"I don't believe it's a Cisco problem in any way, shape or form," Miller said firmly."

Yup.. he put the ASS in assistant director.

Keep this quiet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19937781)

Hey guys,

Please keep this quiet until the first software update for the iPhone becomes available.

I told my CIO the same story. I'm reading up on networking now, and I think I can fix it.

Thanks,
Anonymous
Director of Networking

To be fair.... (5, Insightful)

Vacuous (652107) | about 7 years ago | (#19937785)

To be fair, who hasn't had an issue where you were SURE it wasn't one thing, when it actually was. I would imagine most of you, like me, have seen issues where you still can't explain how you fixed it.

Re:To be fair.... (1)

kybred (795293) | about 7 years ago | (#19937939)

To be fair, who hasn't had an issue where you were SURE it wasn't one thing, when it actually was.

Exactly, so why would he make a public statement until the problem was resolved?

Meh. (1, Flamebait)

morari (1080535) | about 7 years ago | (#19937809)

They should still ban iPhones... and all mobile telephones. Annoying junk!

Re:Meh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19938075)

Wow! Your comment was remarkably insightful. You clearly put a lot of effort into that. I haven't seen such originality in years. It's a shame that Slashdot shouldn't allow users with IDs higher than 1 million to post. Annoying twits!

Re:Meh. (2, Funny)

gelfling (6534) | about 7 years ago | (#19938193)

and electricity too and the damn horseless buggy. you kids get off my lawn

Re:Meh. (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about 7 years ago | (#19938621)

Yea and while their at it get rid of those dang newfangled auto-mobiles... I can never find a place to park my buggy, and them new quarter eatin' hitchin posts aren't worth the quarter... my horse just riggles his lead free in two minutes, too slick I tell ya... a good ol fashioned railroad tie is the way ta go.

Obviously a Cisco Problem All Along (5, Insightful)

smack.addict (116174) | about 7 years ago | (#19937857)

The sick thing is that it was OBVIOUS it was a Cisco problem from the start. If you make the assumption that the iPhones are somehow defective, it's still a Cisco problem because any defective behavior from an iPhone would be indistinguishable from malicious behavior from a student. The fact that the iPhone was involved really was a non-issue all along.

It was terribly irresponsible of them to go off blaming Apple and, worse, absolving Cisco of responsibility.

Re:Obviously a Cisco Problem All Along (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19938653)

this comment ends the discussion. there is absolutely nothing more to see here. please move along and have a nice day.

It Was the Stripper's Fault (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#19937925)

Everyone knows that Duke's got problems with open access [google.com] . It's the access point's fault, not the new units that play a little rough with seasoned pros.

Though the expert officials blaming the wrong party should find a new line of work [cnn.com] . I suggest politics.

Re:It Was the Stripper's Fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19938037)

I guess you missed the part where the state (after lengthy investigation) dropped the case and declared the lacrosse players innocent? [cnn.com]

Nifong used the case to get reelected. The "victim" was clearly lying (which should have been obvious by the 5th time her story changed.)

Re:It Was the Stripper's Fault (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#19938143)

I guess you missed the part in my post where I said exactly that.

Or the part where I linked to how the prosecutor was fired and disbarred (though it looks like the CNN article to which I linked is now broken).

Anonymous illiterate Coward can't even think straight when they agree with me. Maybe something's jamming the plate in their head, like fevered lust to join the Duke lacrosse team, though they're wedged between a gamer's chair and their keyboard, tied by a gamer's catheter to their mom's basement.

First blame the user (1)

metoc (224422) | about 7 years ago | (#19938129)

Typical reaction. Something goes wrong, blame the user.

After all you and your staff would never mess up, your high status, reputation and salaries are at stake. The fact that you have outstanding trouble tickets, perform patches and upgrades without testing are coincidental.

So something goes wrong, you blame the user, remove them and claim problem solved. In the background you quietly find the problem and fix it (as part of routine maintenance). Your reputation is intact and all is good with the world. If only their were no users it would all be perfect.

Re:First blame the user (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19938305)

As an IT staff member at a state university, I stand by Randall Graves' statement:

"This job would be great if it weren't for the customers."

tag! (1)

jeffro69 (146701) | about 7 years ago | (#19938337)

Might want to tag this as an apple story, since the previous article was in the apple section.

Blaming Apple is par for the course (0, Offtopic)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 7 years ago | (#19938415)

I wish I had a nickel for every jerk who has instantly pointed the finger at Apple for any IT issue in which Macintoshes were involved.

Or described the NuBus "proprietary" and the AT bus and Micro Channel as "standard."

Or claimed that the ASCII standard defines CR+LF as the proper character combination for a line break.

Or asked me to "go to the 'START' button" on my Mac and, when I said I didn't have one because I was on a Mac, told me that Macs weren't supported even though their website says that they are.

How obvious is this? (1)

bdraw (672851) | about 7 years ago | (#19938515)

Let me get this straight, Cisco blamed the outage on the iPhone? How could any single device be allowed to take down the network? It's just a WiFi client, the network shouldn't let this happen. Of course it's Cisco's fault.

Jumping to conclusions (5, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | about 7 years ago | (#19938683)

Seems to be all the rage at Duke. One would think they'd learn from their past mistakes.
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