What topics can I ask about here?
Network Engineering Stack Exchange is for Network Engineers.
(Note: All questions about RESIDENTIAL/HOME networking and CONSUMER-grade equipment, are explicitly OFF-topic.)
What types of questions are ON-topic?
The Network Engineering community voted to accept the following questions as on-topic.
On-topic: Enterprise or Service Provider Networks
Questions one would encounter while operating, maintaining, purchasing, or managing an enterprise / service provider network. The question should be about the operation of your own network.
On-topic: Network Design
This category deals with how to design networks with on-topic network infrastructure. Assuming there are multiple network infrastructure technologies or implementation choices which can achieve the same design goals, questions about the nuances or implications of those technologies are on-topic.
For example, a valid Network Design question might ask about the behavior of a technology in various infrastructure failure scenarios, or brittleness of the design in the face of future growth.
- Q: Ethernet termination density per rack and space planning
- Q: Are there any reasons to not use BFD?
On-topic: "Prosumer" Networking Equipment
Questions regarding products that aren't exactly "consumer" grade, because they have the option for a paid support contract. They are also a little too cheap to be widely used and understood - i.e. "Netgear Prosafe 48-port GS718TS".
- Q: Problems Connecting Catalyst 2960G to Netgear Prosafe Via Fibre
- Q: Building new network and need 200+ wireless devices
Features supported in the different models of a given product line, with different software versions, licenses, etc.
- Q: What is the difference between all the switching modes on 6500/7600?
- Q: What's the difference between CRS-1 and CRS-3
On-topic: Lab Scenarios
Questions about a lab scenario involving equipment we normally consider valid. If you're studying for the CCNP (or another networking certification) at home / work and want to ask why a lab scenario you are building is broken, or need help configuring something; these questions should be on-topic. Even though lab questions are on-topic, we need: topology diagrams, config snapshots, OS versions, type of HW you're using, details about relevant troubleshooting and "what have you already tried".
On-topic: Tools used by Network Engineers
Questions about tools specific to Network engineering.
- Q: Wireshark filters for OSPF Link State ID
- Q: NMS with advanced user management
- Q: Monitoring Network Traffic
- Q: Network monitoring and mapping software
- Q: Netflow / Sflow tool
Questions about firewalling or network protocols such as OSPF running on linux / unix servers. To qualify under this category: The system must not be purpose-built by a vendor specifically for routing/switching/firewall purposes; The system must not have commercial support option for the required routing/switching/firewall function.
- Q: OSPF LSA checksum error
- Q: Why don't iperf, scamper and path MTU discovery packet captures agree on the path's MTU?
On-topic: Network Protocols' Design or Theory
Network protocol questions, like 'Why does Cisco's bgp process pack update packets in path attribute groups like this?' or ' Why does OSPF use this next hop address for these external LSAs?'
Application level protocols (example, host / server protocols above the TCP / UDP / ICMP PDUs) are explicitly off topic.
On-topic: Content Delivery Networks
- Q: How to switch to a different Google Global Cache?
- Q: Is it possible to disaggregate traffic to CDNs to find out what users are doing?
On-topic: Production Troubleshooting Scenarios
Troubleshooting questions can be challenging to handle well on Stack Exchange, because they are so situational. However, they are welcome, assuming you back up answers with facts from the question. Please do not answer with speculation about the problem. If something is unclear, ask in a comment.
- Q: Cisco Catalyst cluster heartbeat switch issue - increasing input errors
- Q: Finding transparent firewall packet loss
On-topic: Physical Infrastructure
Network infrastructure physical plant; cable/fiber runs, cross-connects, patch cables, cable management, airflow, etc. Note: Diagrams and/or photos are strongly encouraged for these types of questions.
- Q: Cable colors and purpose
- Q: Fiber optic cable stopped functioning on one wavelength
- Q: Where to cross RX/TX line in fibre optical cabling?
What types of questions are explicitly OFF-topic?
The community voted some things off-topic. Also refer to, "Don't ask...".
Questions from end-users of enterprise/service provider networks are off-topic. There is no point in assisting an end-user since there isn't anything they can do (if the problem is a corporate networking or ISP issue). If the problem is the user's, they should ask on Super User
Off-topic: Consumer / Home Networking
This includes questions about anything behind a cable modem at a home. A "home" is when the broadband provider classifies it as "residential."
Off-topic: Configuring Consumer Networking Products
Questions about configuring or using consumer networking products (i.e. a Firewall/Router/Switch/Wireless-AP that does not have an option for a paid support contract).
Off-topic: Product or Resource Recommendations
Requests for product recommendations, resource recommendations, or polls are off-topic.
However, polls and recommendations are welcome in the Network Engineering Recommendations Chat Room.
Off-topic: Multiple Choice Questions
Any multiple choice question, such as those found in homework or in certification brain-dump sites.
Off-topic: Certification Questions
We do not accept education questions of any kind, be they certification questions or degree questions. The answers to these questions are likely to change quickly and are most likely to solicit debate and opinion (rather than clear, concrete answers.)
However, edu/cert questions are welcome in the Network Engineering Recommendations Chat Room.
If your question is not specifically on-topic for Network Engineering, it may be on topic for another Stack Exchange site. If no site currently exists that will accept your question, you may commit to or propose a new site at Area51, the place where new Stack Exchange communities are democratically created.