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.)

Please look around to see if your question has been asked before. It’s also OK to ask and answer your own question. Also, see "What types of questions should I avoid asking?"

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.

Example Questions:

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.

Example Questions:

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".

Example Questions:

On-topic: Model / Product Line Features and Differences

Features supported in the different models of a given product line, with different software versions, licenses, etc.

Example Questions:

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".

Example Questions:

On-topic: Tools used by Network Engineers

Questions about tools specific to Network engineering.

On-topic: Questions about Unix / Linux Servers which are running Network Protocols or a Firewall

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.

Example Questions:

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.

Example Questions:

On-topic: Content Delivery Networks

Example Questions:

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.

Example Questions:

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.

Example Questions:

Physical infrastructure questions were voted on-topic by the community; reference What is ON-topic? Let's improve our FAQ/Help, and Is physical infrastructure on-topic?.

What types of questions are explicitly OFF-topic?

The community voted some things off-topic. Also refer to, "Don't ask...".

Off-topic: Users / Customers of Enterprise or Service Provider Networks

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.