This Week: A Packet Walkthrough on the M, MX, and T Series

One of the most exciting advantages of ping is its ability to uncover details of the internal architecture of M/MX/T-Series routers. In Antonio Sanchez-Monge’s new book, ping becomes a tourist guide that takes you on a packet walkthrough and provides you with a new perspective of the device architecture. Here is a book brimming with valuable information for troubleshooting the interactions between different components inside a router, with unique usage applications for both large and small network operators.

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About the Author(s)

Antonio “Ato” Sanchez Monge (JNCIE-M #222 and CCIE #13098) holds a MS in Physics and a BA in Mathematics from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (UAM). He joined Juniper Networks in 2004, where he is currently working in the Advanced Services team. He has also authored another book in this series, This Week: Deploying Multicast VPNs.

Author Q & A

What got you started on this book?

A conversation with Anton Bernal. We were discussing troubleshooting in general when he suddenly said... “well, at the end ping and traceroute are about 90% of what you need”. I didn’t pay much attention at this comment at the beginning, but some days later I asked myself: “how many of the difficult network (hardware of software) issues that I worked on in the last 15 months, could have been isolated simply with ping?”. The figure was very close to 90%! Of course, the procedures would not only include the “classical” ping between different devices, but also connectivity checks between different components inside the routers. This idea of “seeing a router as a network on its own” opened the door to a nice walk through the internal architecture of Juniper routers. Another key experience was watching the “video camera” trick in action for the first time (courtesy of Lorenzo Murillo). As the collection of tips kept growing, I talked to Patrick Ames about writing a book that would be called “The Power of Ping”. Patrick is very open to this kind of adventure, so we just went for it and, well, the title also changed in the meantime.

Who is this book for?

I would say for everyone who logs into Juniper routers in a frequent basis, regardless of his/her level of expertise. This includes people working not only with production networks, but also in the lab. Customers, partners, and Juniper staff.

After reading this book, what’s the take away?

Imagine you walk into a car repair shop, and instead of just leaving your car there, you are given a toolbox. Then the mechanic gives you some tips to find out what’s going on with your car and isolate the fault. When you walk out of the shop, not only do you bring the toolbox home; you also got hands-on experience on how a car works. This book is written with the goal of providing the same kind of experience to the readers, especially if they do the hands-on labs by themselves.

What are you hoping that people will learn from this book?

This book takes you into a walkthrough, in which many tips and concepts appear naturally, as you learn them through experience. Let’s choose two of the learning bits in the book: how to uncover the internal architecture of a router by using ping; and how to test forwarding plane features (like class of service) in a router with no external connections.

What do you recommend as the next item to read after this book?

The “Juniper MX Series” book, written by Doug Hanks and Harry Reynolds.

What’s your inspiration?

In the previous “This Week: Deploying BGP Multicast VPNs” book, I covered a networking solution and its variants. This time, Patrick Ames gave me the green light to do something more personal. It turned out to be a “walkthrough” covering many aspects of Junos and networking in general, based on real-life experiences. The book is not a novel, but it’s structured around the story or the life of a packet in a network, and inside a router.

What’s your favorite bit/part in the book?

I studied physics when I was a kid, so let’s say the “Particle Accelerators” section.