A sales rep and I were on the phone with a customer the other day. He's at a fast growing startup and has been there for only about a month as the new Network Administrator. The company is growing the staff from about 400 to 500 people in a very short period of time and will likely continue to grow. The current internet connection is barely able to keep up with all the demands of internet usage. He's still getting his bearings and asking a lot of good questions in the somewhat unfamiliar space of Enterprise WAN (Wide Area Network) and DIA (Dedicated Internet Access) service management he has been thrown into. The question about upgrading his router and his internet connection came up. He asked "should I upgrade my firewall first or my internet connection, or do I need to upgrade them at the same time?"
* ATTENTION * at this point, you an probably skip to the last paragraph for my colorful analogy.
It wouldn't normally be an issue, but he's upgrading from a FE (Fast Ethernet) connection to a GE (Gigabit Ethernet) connection; from a circuit that can support up to 100Mbps to one that can support up to 1000Mbps. And even though I take it for granted, it's a big deal. His firewall is a bit older and out of it's maintenance contract. It's only got FE ports on it. Since we'll be delivering the GE service via fiber (Single Mode Fiber) and LC or SC connectors, he will need a new firewall that either has native fiber ports on it or some SFP or GBIC ports on it to accept our fiber handoff. If he upgrades his internet connection first, his existing router won't support it, so he would likely have to go through the extra step to buy some media converters. So I recommended that he get his new firewall first, then upgrade the internet connection next. The new firewall will probably have FE and GE ports on there, so he can use the existing FE internet connection until his new GE connection is ready.
Now looking at that last paragraph of the description of the situation, it is probably really boring, and dry, and completely esoteric if you're not in my line of work. After giving it some thought, I thought of a fun way to make an analogy.
Upgrading your firewall and internet connection is like upgrading your toilet and sewer line. When you install that new high capacity, high flow toilet, if you ain't got a new high throughput sewer line to handle all the extra poo being created, then you're going to be standing around with a lot of poo on the floor. And no Network Admin wants to be left with cleaning up dropped poo packets all day long.
* WARNING TO MYSELF: I seem to be inclined toward toilet and poo analogies.
My name is Dae Yu.