The Art of Self Reliance in Networking isn’t as scary as it sounds, however, this is a time for some tough love. In the tech field, one of the most important things a person can be is self reliant. You need to think for yourself. I remember once I had asked a junior network engineer of mine to call Cisco for me. He responded, “but I don’t have their number”.
I was a bit shocked, because the first thing I would do if I don’t have a number is think about ways to get that number. What can I use to get that number? Well, I could call directory assistance, I could Google it, I could have even looked in the yellow pages, but I was just so shocked that it didn’t even occur to this engineer to actually do any of those things. He just gave up without even thinking or trying.
Unfortunately, I see a lot of that in forums and I would like to help you all become more self sufficient because if you want to be in this field, there’s going to lots of times in your career when it’s 3AM and you’re all alone in the data center and you have nobody to call for help, and it is all up to you to fix. I’ve been there many a time. It can even be kind of fun if you have all the knowledge you need at the time. We’re called “firefighters” for a reason, after all.
The first thing you can do is become better “googlers”. When you need to know something, don’t google the subject. Google your exact question. For example, you need to know the command on windows to see ARP entries. Don’t google “ARP”, it’s going to overwhelm you with all sorts of information. Instead, be as specific and detailed as possible. Google “windows command for arp”. There’s no shame in googling, nobody is a perfect expert. Everyone uses it. In other words, try googling questions instead of topics. You’ll find more detail in the answers that way.
So next time, something goes wrong, don’t google the topic, it’s too big. Google your question. Google the exact error code or message. Google the symptoms. It’s important to be as specific as possible. “My computer locks up” isn’t going to cut it. Googling “error code 0x0000008”, for example will do it.
Now, The next thing you can do is do a little basic troubleshooting. The first thing you should always try is to reboot the device. I can’t tell you how many times a simple reboot of a router or a switch or a fiber optic DWDM box has solved the problem. We use a funny, more sophisticated term called “environmental refresh “, but a reboot really works. In my career as a chief network engineer, rebooting has solved the issue more times than any other of the other solutions combined. It stands to reason: the longer a device is up and running, the changes of things failing increases as that uptime increases.
If you have a connectivity issue, some basic troubleshooting would be to open a command prompt (CMD in your search box) and type ping 188.8.131.52. If it replies, your Internet connection is most likely good. The next thing to try is to see if your DNS is working, so use the nslookup command. If you can’t get to a website in your browser, type that domain in the URL in a command prompt like this: nslookup www.cisco.com for example.
If you get an answer back, your DNS is good. Now, sometimes DNS needs a “reboot” too.
So type in the comment prompt window:
That will refresh your DNS cache entries, because sometimes an FQDN gets what we call “negatively cached”.
Now if you’re asking, “what is FQDN”, let’s go back to what I said in the Google section and Google that exact question.
That’s all for now, best of luck.