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Getting an Overview

The first step is to get to know your network. Clearly, your predecessor can help if he is available to comment. (We're assuming that Terry Dactyll has gone the way of the dinosaurs and exited stage left.)

Drawing a diagram of the network is a useful exercise in seeing how it is constituted. Talking to the more knowledgeable end users can help to identify current or potential problems. For example, the users on Floor 2 experience very slow access to their email at certain times of the day, which might be due to a congested link on the floor-level switch. (We'll come back to this issue when we look at the C++ code.)

By working in tandem with the users, you can uncover a lot of useful information. Needless to say, if you have access to network management products, such as HP OpenView, they can greatly help you to get acquainted with the network, the traffic crossing it, faults, and so on. Let's now turn to a specific and quite common problem.

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