What does a Network Administrator do?

I wanted to share what a network administrator’s daily job duties, functions, and tasks may entail on a daily basis. For those new out there to the realm of IT, a network administrator typically interacts with the hardware/software components that transfer data to and from devices over a physical distance through some type of medium. Some of these devices include: personal computers, laptops, tablets, servers, switches, routers, firewalls, load balancers, wireless access points, and any other devices that rely on transmitting data. The components that are typically managed daily by a network administrator are switches, routers, wireless access points, DHCP/DNS servers, IP address provisioning, documenting/diagraming the network, monitoring bandwidth usage, and maintaining copper/fiber cable plants.

What does a network administrator do daily

Network Admin replacing Enterasys E1 switches.

The scope of what network administrators manage on a day to day basis typically depends on the IT organizational business structure. Organizations that are small or depend on a small IT work force may expect the network administrator to handle more than some of the items listed above. You may be the person who also manages/deploys servers, email systems, desktops, and a host of other things. This typically gives you a plethora of never ending projects that will keep you busy, which will hopefully make you a master of all disciplines. I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing, but you may not have enough time in the day to architect the network the way you want it or in the best way it could be.

organized cat5 patch cords

Completed fresh installation of Extreme Networks C5k stack.

Some organizations may lump other responsibilities onto the Network Administrator. Telecom and networking is a combination I have seen before. Expect to work with telephony devices and services like VoIP, mass messaging, and voicemail services. Another combination is security and networking which would entail working on the network along with security devices/appliances and coming up with strategies on protecting data. Some networking devices have security features and functions embedded into them such as firewall/routing devices that perform IPS (Intrusion prevention system), IDS (intrusion detection system), spam filtering, and URL filtering/blocking which make networking and security devices easier to manage. I’m not promoting that organizations follow these models, but do expect to see some businesses operate in this fashion.

Larger IT organizations sometimes have the network administrator work specifically with networking devices/appliances. In this environment, you will have the opportunity to thrive by sharpening your skill set into becoming a master of networking. Mostly everything touches a network in today’s world, so always expect to be able to troubleshoot issues that can help other areas solve problems. Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to keep the network up and running efficiently. Just don’t forget to have fun and follow your passion. If you also have thoughts about obtaining certificates,check out this article by network guru Shane Killen, or check out my article on certificates. Please feel free to add other responsibilities that you may have heard that a network administrator does on a daily basis in the comments below.

What happens in Mexico, saves Mexico

I just had an opportunity to go on my first mission’s trip to Playa Del Carmen in Mexico for a week with seven members of the church I attend. We were invited and led by Mission Explosion International. We planned to visit and help out a local Church of Christ in Playa Del Carmen. Our goals consisted of going out in the neighborhood to promote a clinic check that would be hosted in the local Church building. The clinic sessions included checking blood pressure and sugar levels along with hosting VBS (vacation bible school) days as well. We also planned to hand out Spanish Mission soccer balls.

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We ended up doing 3 days of clinic work, 2 days of children outreach, one day of men’s and women’s bible study, and our Evangelical guide preached on Sunday. The trip was amazing. We had lots of fellowship, outreach, teaching, and preaching going on all lead by God and His spirit. If you ever have an opportunity to go on a mission’s trip, please pray diligently and seek God’s guidance in the matter. I found out that I was way more capable through Christ than I ever imagined. In the end, the culture, language, and the income levels may be different, but the people are no different than us in the fact that they need God and Jesus Christ just like we do.

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Thank you to Rusty, Audrey, Jordan, and Kylee!!! I will never forget my first mission’s trip to Mexico.

@javi_isolis

Interop here I come!

I am on my way to Interop which is being held in Las Vegas. For those of you who don’t know about Interop, it’s defined as ” an independently organized conference and exhibition designed to empower information technology professionals to make smart business decisions.” -Interop

Vendors from all over the board will be there. This will be my first time attending and I will be posting updates on the event, so stay tuned!

My first day will include 2 workshops:

“Advanced wireshark” and “A structured approach to Network Troubleshooting”

Introduction

Hi, my name is Javier Solis and I’m currently a network and infrastructure supervisor serving the Purdue University Northwest campus. I have been engrossed in the world of IT since the start of my freshmen year of high school back in 1998. I have also been blessed to carry 2 core jobs since the start of my career as an IT student worker at the former Purdue University Calumet in Hammond.

My first full-time job was at a small WISP in Northwest Indiana. We were small in the eyes of the local telco providers such as ATT and Comcast, but pretty large for a shop run by just a few employees. We heavily ran the Motorola canopy line and primarily used mikrotik routers. I then had the opportunity to move up to Wisconsin under contract by the same WISP to manage and deploy a 2.5 square mile municipal wifi cloud on my own. It proved to be quite a task, but I learned a great deal.

Five and a half years after working at that WISP, I took an offer to work as a full time network administrator back at Purdue University Calumet. Five and a half years working at the Hammond campus, there was a unified with the Westville regional campus. I’ve since been serving in a supervisory role at Purdue Northwest for over a year. It’s funny how we find ourselves back where we started, but I’m learning more than ever. I enjoy sharing my experiences with others and hopefully, you’ll enjoy this blog. I also look forward to hearing from anyone out there. You can also find me on twitter at @javi_isolis.