Top 7 TCP/IP Utilities

1. Ping

The PING utility tests connectivity between two hosts. PING uses a special protocol called the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) to determine whether the remote machine (website, server, etc.) can receive the test packet and reply.

Also a great way to verify whether you have TCP/IP installed and your Network Card is working.

We’ll start by Pinging the loopback address (127.0.0.1) to verify that TCP/IP is installed and configured correctly on the local computer.

Type: PING 127.0.0.1

Top 7 TCP/IP Utilities Every Networking Pro Should Know – Ping

This tells me that TCP/IP is working as well as my Network Card.

To test out connectivity to a website all you have to do is type: ping espn.com

Top 7 TCP/IP Utilities Every Networking Pro Should Know – Ping

The results should tell you if the connection was successful or if you had any lost packets.

Packet loss describes a condition in which data packets appear to be transmitted correctly at one end of a connection, but never arrive at the other. Why? Well, there are a few possibilities.

The network connection might be poor and packets get damaged in transit or the packet was dropped at a router because of internet congestion. Some Internet Web servers may be configured to disregard ping requests for security purposes.

Note the IP address of espn.com — 199.181.132.250. You can also ping this address and get the same result.

However, Ping is not just used to test websites. It can also test connectivity to various servers: DNS, DHCP, your Print server, etc. As you get more into networking you’ll realize just how handy the Ping utility can be.

2. Tracert

Tracert is very similar to Ping, except that Tracert identifies pathways taken along each hop, rather than the time it takes for each packet to return (ping).

Top 7 TCP/IP Utilities Every Networking Pro Should Know – Tracert

If I have trouble connecting to a remote host I will use Tracert to see where that connection fails. Any information sent from a source computer must travel through many computers / servers / routers (they’re all the same thing, essentially) before it reaches a destination.

It may not be your computer but something that is down along the way. It can also tell you if communication is slow because a link has gone down between you and the destination.

If you know there are normally 4 routers but Tracert returns 8 responses, you know your packets are taking an indirect route due to a link being down.

3. ARP

The ARP utility helps diagnose problems associated with the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP).

TCP/IP hosts use ARP to determine the physical (MAC) address that corresponds with a specific IP address. Type arp with the – a option to display IP addresses that have been resolved to MAC addresses recently.

Top 7 TCP/IP Utilities Every Networking Pro Should Know – ARP

4. Netstat

Netstat (Network Statistics) displays network connections (both incoming and outgoing), routing tables, and a number of network interface statistics.

It is an important part of the Network + exam but it’s a helpful tool in finding problems and determining the amount of traffic on the network as a performance measurement.

Top 7 TCP/IP Utilities Every Networking Pro Should Know – Netstat

Netstat –s provides statistics about incoming and outgoing traffic.

Top 7 TCP/IP Utilities Every Networking Pro Should Know – Netstat

 5. Nbtstat

Nbtstat (NetBios over TCP/IP) enables you to check information about NetBios names.

It helps us view the NetBios name cache (nbtstat -c) which shows the NetBios names and the corresponding IP address that has been resolved (nbtstat -r) by a particular host as well as the names that have been registered by the local system (nbtstat –n).

Top 7 TCP/IP Utilities Every Networking Pro Should Know – Nbtstat

6. NSLookup

NSLookup provides a command-line utility for diagnosing DNS problems. In its most basic usage, NSLookup returns the IP address with the matching host name.

Top 7 TCP/IP Utilities Every Networking Pro Should Know – NSLookup

7. IPConfig

Not part of the TCP/IP utilities but it is useful

8. whois

The whois command looks up the registration record associated with a domain name. This can show you more information about who registered and owns a domain name, including their contact information.

This command isn’t included with Windows itself, but Microsoft’s Windows Sysinternals provides a Whois tool you can download. This information is also available from many websites that can perform whois lookups for you.

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