Networks are important in the workplace because without functional networking to keep computers connected to each other and the internet, it would be extremely difficult to complete work efficiently or at all. A network support technician is the person who is called in to diagnose and resolve these problems. Using network support tools, a network support technician can troubleshoot and repair faults to return the network to full functionality.
One of the most basic and common tools network support technicians use to determine if a computer is connected to a network and functioning properly is the ping command. The ping command can be used to determine connectivity and to check the speed of the connection. The ping command returns information such as packet loss rates and round-trip times in milliseconds. A variation of the ping command is tracert. Tracert can be used to determine where the point of failure is in a problematic network. This is done by using a Time To Live value to show how many hops there are between the computer and a remote location.
Another basic and essential command used in diagnosing computer network configuration is ipconfig. Ipconfig reports the IPv4, IPv6, subnets and default gateways of all network adapters on a computer. This information lets a network support technician make sure that the computer is configured correctly, without duplicate IP addresses and that DNS and DHCP addresses are correct.
A useful tool to troubleshoot and analyse networks is Wireshark. Wireshark is a packet sniffer that allows a network support technician to analyse the traffic flow of a network. Wireshark captures live data from different types of networks and allows the technician to browse them via a GUI. This allows network support technicians to inspect and debug network protocols as well as identify security issues.
Another tool that can be used by network support technicians to audit network security is Nmap. Nmap helps a network support technician determine what applications are running and what ports are open. This can expose any security vulnerabilities in the network and the device. This is done by scanning TCP and UDP ports to determine if they are open, closed or filtered. If a port that should not be open is detected, the technician would then be aware of the threat and can take appropriate action to mitigate the risk such as closing the port or applying a filter.
These tools are only some of the resources network support technicians can use to diagnose and repair a network, as well as securing a network from intrusion. There are many other tools developed that can perform these tasks better however, the end goals of these tools are the same, to ensure that the network is functional and free from errors and security vulnerabilities. Having knowledge o these network support tools are only the first step for a network support technician to perform their duties.