Hi there! If you're looking at this 'About' page, you're either lost or confusing me for someone more interesting. Welcome all the same.
My name is Aaron Balchunas. I live in Michigan, and am recently married to a lovely wife. I work in IT, and I really love Networking. If you're so inclined, check out my Resume or my Linkedin page. Warning - may cause blindness. That's a bald joke.
I'm currently the Director of Information Security for Credit Acceptance, where I have been fortunate to work with a diverse group of skilled colleagues. We recently made Fortune Magazine's Top 100 Places to Work.
For eight years, I was also a part-time instructor for Baker College, teaching Cisco CCNA, CCNP, and CCSP courses. I also designed the curriculum. Which meant that anything and everything wrong with the program was my fault. I always assumed that someone would catch on to this (they didn't), and come after me with torches and pitchforks (they haven't). In 2010, I took a hiatus from teaching, after graduating my last group of students.
I will miss the teaching, the labs, and especially the students. I was blessed with fantastic students over the years. Despite all my shortcomings, they stuck with me - through grueling labs and marathon lectures and crazy stunts that provoked the wrath of campus security (okay, the students loved that part). I may teach again someday, but time is precious.
Though my teaching hobby is on hold, this site will stay online. This site started as a place to post my lecture notes, study guides, and labs - and I see no reason for that not to continue.
Why provide this material free of charge? Why not?
I do my best to keep it updated, but I'm failing miserably. Apologies for that. I often get asked whether my CCNA or CCNP guides are "enough" to pass the certification exams, and my answer is always unequivocally no! I would never rely on a single piece of material for your studies - any "free" guides (including mine) should be used as a supplement for other material. You will definitely want a good book - I recommend either Cisco Press or Todd Lammle's Sybex books. And you will want to use some form of LEGAL testing software, such as from Boson or Self-Test Software.
Also, you'll want hands-on experience with Cisco routers and switches. If you don't have access to actual equipment, try to get a simulator (such as Cisco's Packet Tracer) to practice commands.
Fair warning too, I make no claim at being an expert in all things networking. Please use the material on this site with caution. There are almost certainly mistakes, and some of the guides are becoming outdated. I would like to hear from you if you find any errors. Please berate me. I don't bite back. Usually.
I sincerely hope you find the information on this site helpful. All I ask is that you don't steal, sell, or alter my work. I'm not entirely without ego - I will hunt you down.
Thanks for stopping by. Please pop in and say hello on our Forum. The old forum got obliterated by my former (awful) hosting company, so this new forum is a bit bare. Feel free to post something anyway. Watch out for the grue.