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Pop Quiz: Command-line network troubleshooting tools

Do you know the difference between ping and traceroute? Take this short quiz and test your knowledge of command-line networking utilities.
From ping to traceroute, command-line network troubleshooting tools, can be an admin's best friend. But, how much do you really know about the different tools? Take this short quiz and test your knowledge. Note: Unfortunately, our poll tool, which I use to create each pop quiz, doesn't let me indicate a correct answer after each question. To keep from giving away the answers before everyone has a chance to test his/her knowledge, and ruining all the fun, I've published the answers on the second page of this blog post. I encourage everyone to answer all the questions before looking at the second page.

Answers are on the next page »

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

32 comments
jck
jck

I got 9 out of 10. :D

grantpqd
grantpqd

Although I answered 100% corrrect, I will admit that remembering the commandline switches is a bit trickier than remembering the commands.

viralnexxus
viralnexxus

I learned something new about the linux command MTR. That was the only one I missed. *pats back*

Taha Mahyoub
Taha Mahyoub

I agree it is a refresher and would like to see more of this type of window and unix quizes separately.

kapalkailash
kapalkailash

This was truly a refresher for me....i got almost 95% answers correct ..keep on posting such pop quizzes in future as well...

dbucyk
dbucyk

Very easy. Got all right. Need harder quiz.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

You are supposed to be computer professionals, for crying out loud. Open a command window and [b]run the stinkin' commands![/b] It's been so long for a couple of these, it's what I did. And if it don't run under Windows, it must be the Linux command, eh?

MikeBlane
MikeBlane

I had never heard of the "host" command in *nix.

sa74r24r
sa74r24r

Great quizes. Thank you very much and expect more.

figglywig
figglywig

Answers are on page 2, and I am glad that they were - I got 9 out of 10! whoo hoo! I never even use Linux/Unix!

blarman
blarman

I really like these quizzes you post, but I still haven't seen where it identifies the CORRECT response. just because the majority of people select an answer doesn't mean it is the right answer, and the italics just seems to indicate the answer I selected. PLEASE POST THE ANSWER KEY!

JonGauntt
JonGauntt

As if System Admins allow anyone but themselves to play around with their precious little boxes. Maybe we should remember some of this, but having read about it 20 years ago, doesn't mean that I have utilized it ever again. Give me Microsoft or Apple and Cisco and I'm good. I'll leave the NIXie stuff to the other guys... lol

Jasonjb1222
Jasonjb1222

Hey there Bill. Good quizz. For question 3, I would have rather have seen "pathping" in there as well. As it does both a statistical analysis on hops and traces the path as it pings each one. For question 9, my system does not recognize "host". But I use ping -a if netBios is enabled or Wins or proper DNS will return the name of the machine... Just saying. Thanks for the Quizz.

Sparkling Spacers
Sparkling Spacers

Just showing off here: I don't know Linux and I'm an SAH mom, got 6/10 right. I just like to figure out why my machine does what it does and be able to find anything I want. Knowing this material helps. It's come in handy more than once...

seanferd
seanferd

How does one find the answer to several of the questions, or confirm one's guess? a) netstat -h b) netstat -google c) netstat /? d) netstat /wth

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Look below and to the right of the VOTE button. There's a link because the "Answers are on the next page ?". Your admin assistant may need to put a "sign here" sticky on it.

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

System Admin. Just get an old pc, install your favorite flavor of whatever trips your trigger and don't let anyone else play around with your precious little box. It's always good to know a little about different operating systems. If you can learn more and become very familiar with it the better.

for_merlin
for_merlin

I disagree with the answer sheet! For a SINGLE command with no arguments mtr is a better answer than netstat. However, netstat is NOT just a Linux command and is much more powerful than mtr. Netstat provides information about most of the 'nix networking subsystem(s). The type of information printed is controlled by the argument(s) used. Please refer to: http://linux.about.com/od/commands/l/blcmdl8_netstat.htm for detailed information on the currently available arguments. Merlin

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

You're correct. Pathping is basically the Windows equivalent of the Linux/UNIX mtr utility. I just didn't get to include it as I limited the quiz to 10 questions. As for the host tool, it's a Linux/UNIX only command. Windows admins can use nslookup to get similar information. I've updated the question to make it a bit more clear. Thanks for the feedback!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]I just like to figure out why my machine does what it does and be able to find anything I want.[/i] May your children also be curious. added: And as a SAH Mom, you are naturally excluded from my original rant. :)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

My complaint isn't so much that people answered some of these incorrectly, but that they are answering the questions on a computer. How much work is it to open a command window and run the command? Only 74% of respondents answered "Which of the following switches would you use with the netstat command to view a system's routing table?" correctly. Let's think about this...routing starts with r, maybe it's the -r switch... type in C:\ >netstat -r ...by damn, there's the routing table! Only 73% of respondents gave the correct answer to "Which of the following tools would you use to review and modify a host's address resolution protocol table?" correctly. [b][u]A[/u][/b]ddress [b][u]R[/u][/b]esolution [b][u]P[/u][/b]rotocol? Gimme an A! A! Gimme an R! R! Gimme a P! P! What's that spell? arp! Say it again... Arp! I can't hear youuu! ARP! And google is your friend. I've not delved into the nuts and bolts of Linux networking like I should, so I had to search for mtr. This is at the top of the page from the first link on the first page of results, searching for 'linux mtr': "What is MTR? mtr combines the functionality of the 'traceroute' and 'ping' programs in a single network diagnostic tool." http://www.bitwizard.nl/mtr/ Yet only 36% of respondents got it right, and I suspect most of those knew the answer outright. Maybe I'm assuming too much (good sense, for example?), but sheesh! I don't look at these quizzes as strictly a test of my knowledge, but also a test of my abilities. To not even look up the answers when you are already on the internet is just...just...stupid. No wonder so many people complain about slow networks! ;)

JonGauntt
JonGauntt

I should do that. I just generally don't have time at work and prefer to do something entirely different when I get home. Otherwise I end up caffeined out and slumped over a desk all the time and my wife really wants me to live almost as long as she does.

robo_dev
robo_dev

simple yet informative. I use nmap a lot (for good, not evil). For example, if you forget the IP address of a web server on your local network, you can use nmap to do a quick scan for anything listening on port 80 on the local LAN, and find SQL servers or printers the same way.

ultimitloozer
ultimitloozer

Apparently some of your students are here too...

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I used quizzes to reinforce, not to punish. All my quizzes were open-book, because that was sometimes the only way I could get some of my students into the books. And even then, some couldn't manage to pass them...

pgit
pgit

Been a while since I've done any cli networking with windows... =[

Justin James
Justin James

Yeah, it is Windows only if I recall. It's not NETBIOS name, it does a full and proper reverse DNS lookup. :) J.Ja

pgit
pgit

In windows yes, but not in Linux.(don't know about BSD or Unix) I think -a calls on the remote NETBIOS name, if I'm recalling my windows training from over a decade ago correctly. Anyway, the difference is probably how Linux handles host names. Either you have your own DNS or you use static (or sudo-static via DHCP/MAC pairing) IP addresses and the /etc/hosts file.

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