A key aspect of network troubleshooting is having the proper tools at your command. You certainly might need basic hand tools, such as screwdrivers, and some more specialized tools, such as the cabling tools discussed in Chapter 15, "Installing a Network," but the primary network troubleshooting tool is information. Being able to find information, gather it, interpret it, and use it properly are all essential skills for the network troubleshooter. This chapter explains how to find information about the products you use on your network, the current condition of your hardware, and the status of your software.
This chapter builds on the troubleshooting procedures described in Chapter 17, "Network Troubleshooting Procedures," and on the information about operating systems and applications found in Chapter 4, "Networking Software," and Chapter 10, "TCP/IP Applications." Knowledge of the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) communications covered in Lesson 1: IP, in Chapter 6, "Network Layer Protocols," and Chapter 8, "TCP/IP Fundamentals," as well as an understanding of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model layers, as covered in Lesson 2: The OSI Reference Model, in Chapter 1, "Networking Basics," are also helpful.