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  • 19 May 2010 12:10

Opengear Assists Launch of PacketLife Community Labs for Cisco Networking Education and Certification

Opengear ( a leading provider of next-generation console server and remote management solutions, today announced that it is sponsoring, a site that offers advice, training and a community lab for Cisco networking professionals. was founded as a site to help relatively inexperienced networking and IT professionals advance their careers. Employers often hire people with networking certifications, but these certifications can be very difficult to obtain without real-world experience. Additionally, the costs of training materials and certification exams add up quickly. offers a free community site, filled with expert and user generated content that includes study notes, a Wiki, a forum and a recently launched community lab accessible over the Internet.

The PacketLife community lab, recently launched and found at, provides free access to Cisco networking equipment for training purposes. Opengear provided the community lab the Opengear CM4116, a low-power 16-port console server running embedded Linux.

PacketLife’s traffic has gained steadily over its first 2 years; it now gets 10s of thousands of unique visitors each month, becoming a key resource for young networking professionals.

“Many people starting out in networking have grown accustomed to deploying old Cisco 2511 routers as access servers for labs. While these might suffice for an individual, they're hardly a robust solution and simply unfit for a managed lab. For serious console access over IP, I needed something more,” said Jeremy Stretch, founder of PacketLife. “It wasn't until I came across a line of console servers produced by Opengear that a free community lab became a real possibility. With Opengear's help, the community lab I had envisioned quickly became a reality."

Features that made the Opengear CM4000 console servers especially useful for the PacketLife Lab include:

* Customizability : ability to write and run custom scripts

* Power Controls: remote PDU control for inline power cycling

* Security: regex matching against the serial stream to trigger alerts

“Opengear’s support of the PacketLife Lab shows our commitment to the Cisco community and belief in partnering with the network administrators who use the equipment in the real world,” said Todd Rychecky, VP Sales and Marketing. “We believe Jeremy brings the Cisco networking market a unique way to educate network engineers who need the hands-on training to accelerate the learning process. That’s why links back to PacketLife’s website – it is a great resource for Opengear customers.”

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