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

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


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  • Copyright 2010
  • Dimensions: 7-3/8" x 9"
  • Edition: 2nd
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-321-64741-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-321-64741-2

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

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Installing and Testing Copper Cabling in LANs

Sample Pages

Download the sample pages (includes Chapter 2 and Index)

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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