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Hello everyone,

Each year people want to know more and more of the relationship between Santa Claus, Elf Technologies (the IT division of North Pole), and Cisco.  Some very common questions get asked each year, and so this FAQ has been put together in order to address these. 

Are these the only questions people have?  Probably not, and you are most welcome to post additional questions below.  We will attempt to answer these in a first come-first serve basis, assuming we do not break NDA or in any way give cause for a visit from the ‘men in black’. 

We hope you find these helpful.  Best regards


  • How does Santa Claus make it around the world in one night? 
    • This is one of those 'men in black' things ... no one knows for sure, although it is rumored that Santa does not actually travel around the world

  • If Santa does not travel around the world, how does he visit all the houses in one night?
    • The theory is that Santa stays relatively in one spot and allows the world to come to him.  He then only has to choose which direction to travel in (up or down the globe) and in how much advanced time is needed per location for which he has to stop.  See this link for a description on how the earth can rotate one complete time within 24 hours.  It is believed that this is the basis for how Santa does it

  • What algorithm does the Santa’s sleigh use for determining which routes, countries, cities etc ... to go to first? 
    • We know that Santa uses SPF ‘+’

  • What is SPF?
    • SPF stands for Shortest Path First.  This is an advanced routing algorithm, the same used by OSPF and even with Google maps.  For both OSPF and google maps, the default cost is based on the speeds of the links or roads.  Santa has a different default set of metrics, see below Chart 1 for more

  • Is SPF based on open standards? 
    • Yes, however some Cisco specific features have been added.  The world is the largest network to date, much bigger than the Internet, and as such Santa’s advanced technology group, Elf Technologies, turned to Cisco 

  • Can you give us any examples of these Cisco specific features?
    • No.  With our advanced services team, we built these features based on feedback from the Elf Technologies and North Pole Support and NOC teams.  

  • Does it matter which cities go first?
    • It is rumored that the better toys for each time zone go to the better cities.  The below chart describes how cities with more nice kids gets selected before cities with naughty kids

  • With the routes that Santa takes, is there any way to influence these? 
    • Yes, the implementation does allow for changing the metrics of specific routes to cause one to be more preferred than another

  • What metrics does the SPF algorithm use? 
    • A route is given a metric based on cost; the lower the cost the better the route is believed to be.  See chart 1 below for what is believed to be the determination of a route metric

Chart 1

Per City:

Quickest  and closest route

2   points

Amount  of nice kids in city

-25   point for every 500 kids to a minimal value of 1 point

Amount  of Naughty kids in city

Adds  10 points per 100 naughty kids (it pays to mentor and work with the kids in  your city.  Build strong cities and receive quicker and better Toys)

Default  value per City:

1000   points

Per dwelling within each City:

Have  cookies and milk

2   points

Have  cookies or milk but not both

4   points

Non-name  brand cookies and cheap generic brand cookies? 

8   points (milk is not a factor with generic and cheap cookies since Santa may not eat  them anyway

Default  Value for each dwelling within each city, whether or not this dwelling has a  naughty or nice kid 

12   points

  • How to change the metrics?
    • A manual offset list would allow the preference of a particular route to be more preferred or less preferred 

  • Does the naughty and nice list have anything to do with route selection?  
    • Yes.  If there are no nice kids in a city, Santa will skip this city, see chart 1 for more 

  • What if there is only one nice kid in the whole city?
    • Santa will still visit this city

  • Are any other Cisco products and technologies being used? 
    • Yes, Cisco video is deployed

  • Which video products? 
    • Small business cameras such as the PVC300, PVC2300, and WVC2300 and of course the flip video for on the spot.  Most video is taken from the flip video

  • Is this why Cisco bought the flip video company?
    • This is the primary reason, although there were other reasons as well such as silly intra-company video contests, give-aways, and of course some really nice improvements with sharing your life

  • Why does the video on this  web appear to be animated?
    • The ‘men in black’ will not allow actual video to be displayed.  The video is reformatted from the actual video to animation

  • Are there any additional Cisco products used by Santa? 
    • In the workshop, there are Cisco 1140s and 1252s wireless APs are deployed using wireless N 
    • On the sleigh is a 1900-W G2 ISR w/ a custom application running on the SRE 
    • There are additional products but we are not at liberty to say, as we have been warned by the “men in black”

  • Will there be any press releases with Santa?
    • No because not everyone believes in him, and we would not want to put our credibility in jeopardy.  There are also many legal requirements and NDAs required when working with Santa and Elf Technologies

  • Is there a web site that tracks Santa? 
  • When does tracking start?
    • Dec 1st  the tracking link will become active

  • Is there anything Santa wants to say to us? 
    • Yes, "Ho Ho Ho and Merry Christmas!" 
Marcos Hernandez

I heard that Santa will put you in his naughty list if you buy 3Com, Netgear or HP...


Buying these products are like buying the cheap cookies ... Santa does not like either!

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