Why You Should Use the Cisco Support Community (a.k.a., NetPro)


1. Content – By content, I am referring to the sheer magnitude of categories in which users can ask questions, search for previous posts, and/or simply participate in discussions. Some of the high-level categories include Network Infrastructure, Wireless, Service Providers, Data Center, Collaboration, Voice, and Video, Security, and the list goes in. Now keep in mind, each primary category has a number of subcategories as well. In short, the content is vast and easily navigated.

2. Resources – By resources, I am referring to the types of people that respond to posts and provide answers and/or input to technical questions. Yes, some of those resources include some of us here at NetCraftsmen but there are other very notable resources such as Rob Huffman, Jon Marshall, Aaron Harrison, Jonathan Schulenberg, and the list goes on. Take a look at both the Hall of Fame members and the VIP inductees and you’ll see that this group of regular contributors comprises years of technical experience in various fields and we all participate in these forums for free. We don’t get paid for this. It’s not part of our jobs. It’s a passion. Even the casual posters come to CSC because they want to help or share an experience they recently experienced. It’s a great homegrown community.

3. Cisco Participation – It’s not just partners and other posters that help out on CSC. A number of the participants work directly for Cisco and a number even work for TAC. So, when it’s time for quick links and bona fide answers on whether something is supported or not – Cisco has you covered. I’ve been involved in a number of discussions with Jeff Lindborg and other well-known Cisco resources. Sometimes, I was asking the questions and others I was adding to the post. So you’ve got great resources in addition to Cisco participation…that’s a win, win to me.

4. Wealth of Knowledge – There is a wealth of knowledge on CSC. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve gone to CSC to find out data on a specific topic and it was already there – no post required on my part. Likewise, in doing research I can often come across any number of experiences posted by other users that help me in my job. Beyond that, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve opened a TAC case since I started using CSC. Honestly, I always tried to avoid opening TAC cases prior to that (primarily due to pride) but I’ve found that sometimes opening a TAC case is the most efficient way to solve a problem. However, my first resource is now CSC. If I can’t find a match on an issue there, I may go the TAC route, but the wealth of knowledge on CSC is deep.

5. Free – Yes, as I mentioned above it’s free. Not only do members of CSC participate for free but the resource itself is free. You don’t need a Cisco Support Contract. You don’t need ESW or SmartNet or whatever term you want to call it. The Cisco Support Community is a free resource for all that use Cisco. It’s both a great way to solve problems as well as to learn about various topics/issues that are occurring today. Free with no catches…it’s hard to argue with that.



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Nick Kelly

Cybersecurity Engineer, Cisco

Nick has over 20 years of experience in Security Operations and Security Sales. He is an avid student of cybersecurity and regularly engages with the Infosec community at events like BSides, RVASec, Derbycon and more. The son of an FBI forensics director, Nick holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice and is one of Cisco’s Fire Jumper Elite members. When he’s not working, he writes cyberpunk and punches aliens on his Playstation.


Virgilio “BONG” dela Cruz Jr.

CCDP, CCNA V, CCNP, Cisco IPS Express Security for AM/EE
Field Solutions Architect, Tech Data

Virgilio “Bong” has sixteen years of professional experience in IT industry from academe, technical and customer support, pre-sales, post sales, project management, training and enablement. He has worked in Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) as a member of the WAN and LAN Switching team. Bong now works for Tech Data as the Field Solutions Architect with a focus on Cisco Security and holds a few Cisco certifications including Fire Jumper Elite.


John Cavanaugh

CCIE #1066, CCDE #20070002, CCAr
Chief Technology Officer, Practice Lead Security Services, NetCraftsmen

John is our CTO and the practice lead for a talented team of consultants focused on designing and delivering scalable and secure infrastructure solutions to customers across multiple industry verticals and technologies. Previously he has held several positions including Executive Director/Chief Architect for Global Network Services at JPMorgan Chase. In that capacity, he led a team managing network architecture and services.  Prior to his role at JPMorgan Chase, John was a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco working across a number of verticals including Higher Education, Finance, Retail, Government, and Health Care.

He is an expert in working with groups to identify business needs, and align technology strategies to enable business strategies, building in agility and scalability to allow for future changes. John is experienced in the architecture and design of highly available, secure, network infrastructure and data centers, and has worked on projects worldwide. He has worked in both the business and regulatory environments for the design and deployment of complex IT infrastructures.