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Establish the Symptoms
Using your powers of observation and your suite of hardware and software troubleshooting tools, take note of what exactly isnt working.
Regarding observations walk around and check with users to see if others report the same symptoms when trying the same actions. You can also examine the lights on routers, hubs and NICs to verify that there is connectivity among the various devices.
Hardware troubleshooting tools you might use are network analyzers, TDRs, cable continuity testers and loopback connectors. Also, you can take advantage of diagnostic modes embedded in devices such as routers themselves, to verify that a device hardware problem is not involved.
Software troubleshooting tools include the suite of TCP/IP utilities discussed earlier in this book. Ping can be used to determine connectivity between neighboring PCs, routers, Internet gateways, etc. Nslookup can be used to verify that DNS is working appropriately. Arp can check MAC to IP address mappings. Nbtstat can check NetBIOS statistics. Tracert can verify the path of data from its source to its destination. Etc.
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