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Real world network implementations


Hello everyone,

Let me start by saying that I'm a beginner network admin and new at my company. In addition, I'm a 100% remote, and that's where all my struggles come from (hard to build relations to ask networking design questions). I'm not interested in How-To-Configure XYZ because I can find the answer in the configuration docs. Most certifications and online training materials are about configuring protocols such as STP, NAT, VRRP, OSPF (learning materials focus on the history of the protocol, what problem it solves, how it works, and how to troubleshoot it), etc.. however, what I'm trying to understand is:

  • Where do you place a firewall, and why? Do you place it in front of your router or behind it (why would you choose one over another)?
  • How do network engineers implement NAT in their networks? Do they just right a single ACL "permit any" since all the internal subnets will use the Internet (I'm referring to basic NATing allowing users to access the Internet)?
  • How do you access your routers/switches remotely? Do you configure access to a single router remotely (via SSH), and from that single router, you connect to the rest of the routers/switches, or do you configure remote access on all of your devices?
  • Why are some companies still running MPLS where they can achieve the same results using VPNs (forgive me here because I might be missing other benefits of MPLS)?

I know this is a loaded question, but I would like some insights or pointers on how to gain these types of knowledge, and I would appreciate your feedback.

Thank you,