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Network Maintenance and Troubleshooting Guide: Field Tested Solutions for Everyday Problems / Edition 2

Network Maintenance and Troubleshooting Guide: Field Tested Solutions for Everyday Problems / Edition 2

by Neal Allen

See All Formats & Editions

ISBN-10: 0321647416

ISBN-13: 9780321647412

Pub. Date: 11/06/2009

Publisher: Addison-Wesley

Network Maintenance and Troubleshooting Guide

Field-Tested Solutions for Everyday Problems, Second Edition

Neal Allen

The 100% practical, real-world guide to anticipating, finding, and solving network problems—fast!

Real-life networks don’t always behave “by the book.” Troubleshooting them requires practical intuition that


Network Maintenance and Troubleshooting Guide

Field-Tested Solutions for Everyday Problems, Second Edition

Neal Allen

The 100% practical, real-world guide to anticipating, finding, and solving network problems—fast!

Real-life networks don’t always behave “by the book.” Troubleshooting them requires practical intuition that normally comes only with experience. In this book, Fluke Networks’ Neal Allen brings together all that hard-won, hands-on insight: everything you need to discover what’s really happening in your network, so you can anticipate and fix problems before users even notice them.

Writing for network technicians and administrators at all levels, Allen presents an approach to troubleshooting that has been proven in networks of all kinds, no matter how complex. He introduces indispensable triage and troubleshooting techniques for everything from copper and fiber cabling to IPv6, and presents unparalleled guidance on identifying and resolving problems at the MAC Layer. He illustrates his advice with diagrams, tables, and screen captures from Fluke Networks’ market-leading instruments. Throughout this book, Allen also offers practical summaries of each of today’s core networking technologies, making it an ideal complement to any network certification study guide.

Coverage includes

  • Using the OSI model to more efficiently troubleshoot networks layer by layer
  • Copper and fiber-optic cabling: theory, operation, and troubleshooting
  • Media Access Control (MAC) Layer: Ethernet theory and operation
  • Identifying and resolving problems related to IPv4 and IPv6 protocols
  • Preventing problems before they occur
  • Discovering device behavior
  • Troubleshooting switches
  • Using a protocol analyzer more successfully
  • Creating network documentation that helps you more efficiently prevent and resolve problems

Road tested by thousands of Fluke Networks customers, this book’s first edition became the best-kept secret resource for sysadmins, netadmins, and support technicians fortunate enough to discover it. Now, Allen has thoroughly updated his classic for today’s networks. If you’re responsible for maintaining one of those networks, you’ll find this new Second Edition even more indispensable.

Neal Allen is a senior staff engineer in the Fluke Networks’ Technical Assistance Center (TAC) focusing on escalated problems. He has been involved in designing, installing, and troubleshooting networks for nearly 20 years. Allen has served on Interop’s trade show Network Operations Center (NOC) team since 1993, troubleshooting show-floor problems at the Las Vegas and Atlanta Interop trade shows, and helped support and troubleshoot the network for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. His responsibilities currently include product feature specification and beta testing, remote and onsite problem solving, and providing training and sales support worldwide.


Cover design by Louisa Adair

Cover photography from Image Source / Getty Images

Product Details

Publication date:
Networking Technology
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Using the OSI Model

Quick Tour of the OSI Model

Seven Layers of the OSI Model

Layer 7: Application Layer

Layer 6: Presentation Layer

Layer 5: Session Layer

Layer 4: Transport Layer

Layer 3: Network Layer

Layer 2: Data Link Layer

Layer 1: Physical Layer

Networking Devices and the OSI Model





Switch Forwarding Techniques

Common Networking Tools

Network Management Tools

Protocol Analyzers

Handheld Network Analyzers

Cable Testers

Flow Protocols


Chapter Review Questions

Chapter 2: Copper Media


Basic Cable Uses

Test Parameters

Basic Tests and Parameters Required for In-Channel Testing

Basic Frequency-Based Test Parameters Related to In-Channel Testing

Advanced Frequency-Based Test Parameters Related to In-Channel and External Testing

Other Commonly Referenced Test Parameters

Test Configurations

What Should Be Tested?

Grounding and Shielding Cable


Chapter Review Questions

Chapter 3: Fiber Optic Media





Fiber Optic Cable Design

Fiber Cable Construction

Cable Construction

Connector Types

Test Parameters

Field Testing Parameters

Light Behavior


Modal Bandwidth

Critical Angle

Bending Fiber

Graded Index

Light Sources

Launch Conditions


Mode Conditioning


Fresnel Reflections

Fiber Termination Polish

Fiber Alignment Errors and Manufacturing Flaws

Testing Practices and Tools

Test Methods


Levels of Testing

Tier 1

Tier 2

Precautions for Measurement and Testing


Chapter Review Questions

Chapter 4: Media Access Control Layer

Ethernet and the OSI Model

Frame Structure

Bits to Bytes

Bytes to Field Groupings

Basic Ethernet Frame Fields

Theory of Operation

Interpacket Spacing


Error Handling


Frame Bursting


Power over Ethernet (PoE)

Ethernet Implementation Details

10 Mbps Versions of Ethernet

100Mbps Versions of Ethernet

1000Mbps Versions of Ethernet

10Gbps Versions of Ethernet

10GBASE-T Receive Process

Ethernet for Subscriber Access Networks


Chapter Review Questions

Chapter 5: Data Link Layer


Bridge Forwarding Table

Effect of Forwarding


Spanning Tree Protocol


MAC Control Sublayer

Frame Structure

Slow Protocols

Link Aggregation Sublayer

Operations, Administration, and Maintenance (OAM) Sublayer

Logical Link Control Sublayer

802.2 LLC

802.2 LLC Field Definitions

802 SNAP

802 SNAP Field Definitions

Novell Raw


Chapter Review Questions

Chapter 6: Network Layer


OSI Model Implications: Effect of Forwarding

Internet Protocol (IP)

IPv4 Addressing

Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP)

IPv6 Addressing



Chapter Review Questions

Chapter 7: Transport Layer

TCP and UDP Ports

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP)

TCP Segments and Maximum Segment Size (MSS)

TCP Sockets and Connections

Opening and Closing Connections

Sequence and Acknowledgment Numbers


Selective Acknowledgment (SACK)

Window Size, Window Scaling, and Sliding Window

Congestion Control

TCP Segment Structure

User Datagram Protocol (UDP)

User Datagram Protocol (UDP) Datagram Structure


Chapter Review Questions

Chapter 8: Preventing Problems

Strategy for Network Maintenance

1. Management Involvement in Network Decision Making

2. Preparation and Planning

3. Problem Prevention

4. Early Problem Detection

5. Quick Problem Isolation and Resolution

6. Investing More in Tools and Training Rather Than Additional Staff to Accommodate Network Growth

7. Quality Improvement Approach to Network Management and Maintenance



Discovery and Baselining

Design Assistance


Create a Server Log and Software Library

Create a Network Diagram

Cable Plant Documentation

Develop a Baseline

Traffic Monitoring

Proactive Activity and Preparedness

Monitoring the Physical and MAC Layers

Monitoring the Network Layer

Monitoring the Transport Layer

Application Monitoring


Chapter Review Questions

Chapter 9: Troubleshooting

Best Method


Eight Key Steps to Successful Troubleshooting

Step 1. Identify the Exact Issue

Step 3. Localize and Isolate the Cause

Step 4. Formulate a Plan for Solving the Problem

Step 5. Implement the Plan

Step 6. Test to Verify That the Problem Has Been Resolved

Step 7. Document the Problem and Solution

Step 8. Provide Feedback to the User

A Place to Start


Chapter Review Questions

Chapter 10: Troubleshooting Media

Troubleshooting Copper Media


General Testing and Installation Issues

Troubleshooting Fiber Optic Media


General Testing and Installation Issues


Chapter Review Questions

Chapter 11: Network Troubleshooting


Cable Testers

Protocol Analysis

Network Management

Flow Protocols

Handheld Network Analyzers

Advanced Analysis Products

Troubleshooting Generalized User Complaints

Problem: Can’t Connect

Problem: Connections That Drop

Problem: Slow or Poor Performance

General Troubleshooting Advice

Specific Error Types

Some Simple Guidelines

Specific Test Suggestions


Chapter Review Questions

Appendix A: Copper Test Failure Cause Tables



Propagation Delay or Delay Skew

Insertion Loss (Attenuation)


Return Loss



Characteristic Impedance

Impulse Noise

Alien Crosstalk Mitigation

Appendix B: Waveform Decoding Exercise

Module 1: Counting Systems and Encoding Methods

Counting Systems

OSI Seven-Layer Model

Signaling and Encoding Methods

Module 2: Decoding a Waveform into Ethernet

10Mbps Transmission Process

Decoding the Waveform

Module 3: Using Standards Documents and RFCs

Standards and RFCs

Module 4: Using a Protocol Analyzer

OptiView Protocol Expert in Five Buttons

Protocol Expert Lab

Appendix C: Auto-Negotiation

FLP Field Definitions

Base Page

Message Pages

Unformatted Pages

Extensions to Auto-Negotiation for 1000BASE-X

Extensions to Auto-Negotiation for 10GBASE-T

Appendix D: Discovering Device Behavior

At What Layer Does This Device Operate?

Test #1: Basic Functionality

Test #2: The Gray Area

Test #3: Find Any Configured VLANs

How to Use the Test Results

Collision Domain

Broadcast Domain

Different Network

Appendix E: Techniques for Troubleshooting Switches

What Problems Are Encountered in Switched Environments?

How Do You Find Which Port or Switch Has a Problem?

Techniques for Troubleshooting a Switch

Method 1: Access the Switch Console

Method 2: Connect to an Unused Port

Method 3: Configure a Mirror or Span Port

Method 4: Connect to a Tagged or Trunk Port

Method 5: Insert a Hub into the Link

Method 6: Place the Tester in Series

Method 7: Place a Tap Inline on a Link

Method 8: Use SNMP-Based Network Management

Method 9: Have the Switch Send Flow Technology Summaries

Method 10: Set Up a Syslog Server

Method 11: Use the Server (Host) Resources

Method 12: Use a Combination of Methods

Troubleshooting Methods: Conclusion

Appendix F: Simple Network Management Protocol

SNMP Operation





Appendix G: Troubleshooting with a Protocol Analyzer

Understanding a Web Page Connection

DNS Query

ARP Query

TCP Connection

Data Transfer

Closing the Connection

DNS Failure

Protocol Analyzers and Protocol Knowledge

Appendix H: Network Diagnostic Products Used in This Book

What Tool to Start With?

Network Operations

Network Engineering

Network Technicians

Network/PC Support Help Desk

Media Test

DTX 1800 Cable Analyzer

OptiFiber Certifying OTDR

AnalyzeAir Wi-Fi Spectrum Analyzer

Network Analysis: Hybrid Handhelds





Protocol Analysis


Built-in Features

Alarms and Triggers

Data Storage and Reporting

Flow Protocols Analysis

Visual Performance Manager

Visual UpTime Select

NetFlow Tracker

Application Performance

Appendix I: Answers to Chapter Review Questions

9780321647412 TOC 9/29/2009

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