Dec 23

Fast Running Network Support Tools

Network Support Tools

In 2019, 5.7 percent of the overall IT staff in companies was network support staff. This share has been relatively constant over the past five years, between 5.5 and 5.8 percent.

If you work in Network Support you will be mainly responsible for keeping your organisation’s network up and running and up to date by doing regular maintenance, testing, and troubleshooting.

You will also ensure all software, hardware, devices, etc are working.

Network Support workers use a variety of different tools to assist with their responsibilities. There are a variety of different commands that you can run in your command prompt for networking troubleshooting. Let’s take a look at some popular commands and tools used today.

One of the most common tools all IT professionals should know is the ‘Ping’ utility. With the Ping utility, you are able to test a connection between the requesting and destination host. If the host is reachable, the requesting host will receive a response from the destination host. The ping utility will give you just a basic understanding of where your issue may exist. For example, if your internet is down at your organisation’s office, this utility can be used to tell you if the issue lies within your organisation’s office, or if the issue lies within the internet provider’s network. To use this utility, simply open up your command prompt, type ‘ping’ and the IP address that you wish to ping, and look at the results!

Adding onto that, after you run the ‘Ping’ command, the ‘Tracert’ utility can then be used to find out more specific information. Tracert can show you information regarding the path a packet takes from the device you’re on to the destination that you have specified and its response time.

When troubleshooting a network issue, you will need to find the IP configuration of the affected hosts. In some cases this is already known, however, with dynamic addressing, the IP addresses of hosts can change. This is where the ‘Ipconfig’ utility can come into play. To use this utility, open up your command prompt and type in ‘Ipconfig’ and you will see some information about your IP address, subnet mask, etc. For an even more detailed review, include the ‘/all’ command after Ipconfig.

When running into network issues there is a high chance there may be an issue with DNS addresses. For troubleshooting, you can use the ‘Nslookup’ utility, where you will be able to use a hostname, such as Google.com.au, to find out the IP address or vice versa.  If the Nslookup command cannot find this information, then there is a DNS issue. It is also good to note that Nslookup can be used for security purposes, especially against a phishing attack. For example, let’s say a domain name has been changed from zaksicecreamshop.com.au to zakslcecreamshop.com.au to make it look legitimate as the ‘I’ and ‘L’ look similar.

Another troubleshooting command tool that is commonly used is ‘Netstat’, which can show you the state of your active network connections. There is a variety of different information you can check with Netstat such as which remote hosts are connected to a local host on a port or you can verify the status of a listening port.

Moving on from commands, you may even use a speed test program to find out the bandwidth and quality of your internet connection. These programs are good for finding out how long it may take to upload or download from a local to a remote host. You are also able to check whether your connection is receiving the amount of bandwidth that you purchased from your internet provider. Google has a basic built-in speed test application where you can access by simply searching up speed test on their webpage. Google’s speed test will show your download and upload speed, latency, where your server is located, and a brief description of what your connection can handle.

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