Knowledge Make-Overs: Why Not IPv4/v6?

KK Arora
KK Arora

The fad these days is make-overs. The first in the trend were fashion make-overs where some hideously unattractive and under dressed person was transformed, through the miracle of modern cosmetology and fashion science, to a hideously over-made up andKnowledge Make-Overs over-dressed person. These events were also known as extreme make-overs. Since then things have gotten more practical in the make-over business. The new trend is to take someone who is already reasonably attractive and simply add to their natural beauty, highlighting this and emphasizing that. We personally find this to be a lot more interesting to watch because it has more applicability to the real world and doesn’t require a person to be a demon from Hell to get a little help. The astute reader will note that, except for this one reference, we are completely ignoring the special category called “Ambush Make-Over” where the subject of the make-over is assaulted completely by surprise and dragged into the studio against their will for the help [their ‘friends’ think] “that person so desperately needs”. We tend to consider Ambush Make-Overs more in the category of contact sports, so we will leave them in the rear view mirror as we continue our discussion of things that people do voluntarily.

Beyond the fashion make-over one can now have just about anything made-over. A quick glance at the channel guide turns up several options: Bed & Bath Make-Over, Veggie Diet Make-Over, Closet/Storage Make-Over and the list goes on. So, we thought, why not a Knowledge Make-Over? It’s not a series on Oprah’s new channel, at least not yet, but we’ve come up with some guidelines you can apply in your quest for the latest in make-overs: the Knowledge Make-Over.

Objectives

What is a project without an objective? It is like a cake without a recipe or a trip without a destination. So, this must be accomplished first. Our objective for a Knowledge Make-Over would be more akin to the second variation we have already discussed: taking someone who already has some knowledge and determining what to add, as opposed to taking some dolt with no apparent knowledge whatsoever and filling them with knowledge the way one would fill a burlap sack with taters. With this idea in mind let’s take a specific area of knowledge and set some objectives.

Let’s consider knowledge that many people already possess to some degree and that they apply most days to their work, or even personal lives: Internet Protocol. Let’s further break that down into two sub-categories, IPv4 and IPv6. Our objective, therefore, will be to do a Knowledge Make-Over which will improve and enhance our existing IPv4 knowledge while adding new knowledge of the approaching IPv6 protocol, thereby giving us a practical and useful knowledge “maker over” on IP.

Motivation

In today’s budget conscious world we have to consider why we are expending time and/or money and/or energy and in this case we will be expending all three. So, why? This is a personal answer but an answer that will likely fall into one of three basic categories:

  1. Keep a job
  2. Get a job or get a new job
  3. Do a job better

Regardless of your motivation your methodology will be the same, so read on.

Methodology

There are many tools available to you in your knowledge make-over: books, articles, Wikipedia, talks with colleagues, online training, traditional classes, hire a personal coach/trainer and the list goes on and on. Each has its own financial, time and energy price tag and each will allow you to achieve your goal in a different amount of time and to a different depth and understanding. But, you cannot even start to try to apply any of them until you find out what you don’t know. And how is that seeming exercise in chasing one’s own tail accomplished? One must find an existing inventory of the new knowledge and realistically compare what one already knows to what one does not know. Let’s use a specific example. Eogogics offers several IPv6 courses. Let’s use the outline for one such course as a knowledge inventory and see what we know and don’t know.

The first two sections of the outline are Introduction and TCP/IP Review and TCP/IP Management . We should have a reasonable mastery of these two sections and if we don’t we should stop and focus on an IPv4 make-over. The third section, IPv6 Overview is where things start to get interesting: Shortcomings of IPv4 (we suspected that, didn’t we?), Extending IPv4 address space and usage (maybe as a way of putting off a move to IPv6 or at least delaying it?), Gradual implementation of IPv6 (sounds safer), Describe IPv6 basic features (yes, yes, yes!), IPv6 supported on Windows (I sure hope so), IPv6 supported on Cisco routers (well, I’ve got HP, but I will learn something) and Installing IPv6 on a Windows 2003 Server computer (this will provide some insights!).

This is very exciting and enthusiasm grows through the next several sections, IPv6 Addressing and Header Structure (I know IPv4 but this is new), ICMPv6 and Management Tools (I know Internet Control Management Protocol, PING and all that, but there’s a new one for IPv6?), Neighbor Discovery and Multicast Listener Discovery (lots of new stuff here, some of the essence of IPv6 I suppose), Auto-configuration and Name Resolution (lots of stuff we didn’t know plus DNS on steroids), IPv6 Routing (we still have to have that and IPv6 is different?), Co-existence (most likely that dual-stack thing I was wondering about) and Wrap-Up!

Process (Make Over!)

Now we take each of the areas where we have a knowledge deficiency and try to fill the gap. Reading is always good but lacks the hands-on that takes us from being “someone who read about it” to being a “practitioner”. Online training is also good and the perfect solution for someone who is constrained on their $$$ budget but has plenty of time to invest. Some of the better training also includes online labs which will get the learner closer to a practitioner stage. Many people will opt for stand-up training, and here is where it gets really $$$ expensive though you can save time and energy.

In choosing the human to lead the stand-up training the knowledge they possess has to be weighed against their ability to convey that knowledge in a meaningful way. An internal expert might be just what you need because they can provide insights and observations that are beyond the reach of even the most prescient of outside experts. On the other hand, an outside expert can bring a fresh new perspective. In a perfect world the inside and outside experts would be combined to co-deliver a Knowledge Make-Over of extreme value to the organization.

Results

No one likes “tests”. For kids we continue to call them “tests” and simply force them to do it or, in the more “enlightened” schools, we simply do away with them completely and tell the kids they are all “winners”. For adults we call them assessments and there really is no certain way to gauge success without an assessment prior to a Knowledge Make-Over and after (preferably after they have been back on the job for a while since the makeover) so we can see the difference in real, measurable terms. In many learning exercises today we forego this requirement but if we want to assess the real impact of our Knowledge Make-Over some sort of before and after “snap shot” is needed for purposes of comparison.

Conclusion

If you do want to participate in the Make-Over craze at least do a make-over that will help you to keep a job, get a job or get a new job or do a better job. There are many ways to gain knowledge so choose the methodology that gives you the best return on your investment of time, money and energy.

Editor’s Note: KK Arora is the President of Eogogics Inc, a training/consulting company specializing in high-tech fields such as telecommunications and engineering as well as the critical “soft skills” areas of professional and leadership development. An award winning teacher, he has been teaching/training on all platforms, developing training, managing training companies, and inspiring trainers for 35 years. He’s the author of several books and articles. Jim Cavanagh, a dynamic and entertaining presenter, teaches the Eogogics courses on IP-based and optical networking technologies. He has been designing networks, consulting, teaching, speaking, and writing for 35 years as well. He has published many articles and six books to date, with another book on the way. His training audiences applaud him as much for his technical knowledge as they do for his energy, clarity, and wit. If you are looking for a knowledge-makeover in a high-tech or soft-skills area, you may wish to check out our course outlines, comparing what you know against what’s covered in that outline. You will find many free educational resources on our website as well (https://eogogics.com ).