• United States

Getting to know your router

Mar 03, 20032 mins

I recently became a network manager and have to learn to work with a Cisco router. I have some experience but know that I need to know more. What suggestions do you have about coming up to speed on working with one?

— via the Internet

The most important thing I can recommend is to document, document and then document.

Since you inherited an existing router, I will assume that you have been given the passwords required for accessing the router. Telnet to the router and do a “show run” to get the current running configuration. Copy this configuration into a text file. This can be used for learning how the router is set up and for configuring a new router if your current one fails. If you are limited to the command-line telnet client that ships with later versions of Windows, you might want to consider a replacement telnet client that will let you copy the configuration to a text file on your machine (a good, free replacement is PuTTYtel).

Since there are quite a few commands in Cisco’s IOS, use the current configuration you are running in conjunction with a O’Reilly book called Cisco IOS in a Nutshell. You can see how the commands are being used to understand how your router is currently running. I would also suggest studying for your CCNA. This will also help you learn the other commands available in IOS – something that will no doubt come in handy as you get more experienced.

To get you more comfortable with working at the command line and delving into a Cisco router, consider getting some type of simulator (available for between $60 to $150 depending on what you choose). Cisco and Boson have two candidates that are worth looking at (read more on the Cisco simulator and the Boson one) This will let you go through the process of configuring a Cisco router and some of the administrative tasks you will perform with it periodically.