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Top 10 Cisco Commands : A Cheatsheet For Network Administrators

Top 10 Cisco Commands : A Cheatsheet For Network Administrators

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Cisco routers and switches are prominent in network infrastructure, and understanding their Cisco commands is crucial for network management and troubleshooting. Here’s a list of the top 10 essential Cisco commands, along with brief descriptions of their functions:

  1. enable: This command is used to enter the privileged EXEC mode from the user EXEC mode. In privileged mode, you can access a broader range of management and configuration commands.
  2. configure terminal: After entering privileged EXEC mode, this command is used to enter the global configuration mode, allowing you to make changes to the device’s configuration.
  3. show running-config: This command displays the current configuration running on the device. It’s very useful for verifying current device settings and for troubleshooting.
  4. show ip interface brief: This command provides a quick summary of the interface statuses and IP addresses on the device, which is helpful for verifying the network status and troubleshooting.
  5. interface: This command followed by the interface type and number (e.g., interface GigabitEthernet0/1) is used to enter the interface configuration mode, allowing you to configure or modify the settings of a particular interface.
  6. ip address: Used within interface configuration mode, this command sets the IP address and subnet mask for an interface.
  7. no shutdown: Also used within interface configuration mode, this command enables an interface, changing its state from administratively down to up.
  8. show vlan: This command displays information about the VLANs that are currently configured on the switch. It’s crucial for managing VLANs and troubleshooting VLAN issues.
  9. ping: This command is used to test connectivity between the device and another IP address or host. It sends ICMP echo requests and waits for replies, helping in troubleshooting network connectivity issues.
  10. copy running-config startup-config: This command saves the current configuration (running config) to the startup configuration file. It ensures that changes made during the current session are retained after a reboot.

These commands form the backbone of day-to-day network management and troubleshooting on Cisco devices. Regular practice and usage will lead to more efficient network management and problem resolution.

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enable Command

  • Details: The enable command is essential for transitioning from user EXEC mode to privileged EXEC mode, granting the user access to a broader set of commands for managing the device. While it doesn’t generate output, it may prompt for a password, providing a layer of security before granting access to the device’s privileged mode.

  • Usage Scenarios: Use this command when administrative access is required. This might be for tasks like viewing detailed system configurations, managing device settings, or troubleshooting issues that require privileged commands. It’s often the first command used after logging into a Cisco device to gain the necessary permissions to administer the device.

configure terminal Command

  • Details: The configure terminal command, often abbreviated as conf t, transitions the user from privileged EXEC mode to global configuration mode. In this mode, you can modify the device’s global settings, such as hostname, passwords, and other system-wide configurations. The command doesn’t provide output but opens up a range of configuration commands for the user.

  • Usage Scenarios: This command is crucial when system-wide configuration changes are needed. It’s the starting point for most configuration tasks, including setting up interfaces, configuring routing protocols, or modifying access control lists. Anytime you need to make changes that affect the device as a whole, you’ll start with configure terminal.

show running-config Command

  • Details: The show running-config command displays the current active configuration on the device. It’s an extensive command, showing all configurations that are currently active, including interface settings, security configurations, network protocols, and more. It’s a snapshot of the device’s current operational state.

  • Usage Scenarios: This command is indispensable for verifying and documenting the current configuration before making changes. It’s often used to backup the current configuration before updates, to ensure that any changes can be reviewed or reversed if necessary. It’s also a key troubleshooting tool, allowing administrators to compare the current active configuration with known good configurations or baseline standards.

show ip interface brief Command

  • Details: The show ip interface brief command provides a concise summary of the interface status and configuration on a Cisco device. It displays key information such as interface names, IP addresses, and whether the interfaces are active or down. The output is less verbose than show interfaces, focusing on the essential information for a quick review of the device’s interface status.

  • Usage Scenarios: This command is a go-to for network administrators when quickly checking the status of all interfaces on a device. It’s particularly useful for initial troubleshooting steps, such as verifying that interfaces are correctly configured with the right IP addresses and that they are active and able to send and receive traffic.
Top 10 Cisco Commands : A Cheatsheet For Network Administrators

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interface Command

  • Details: The interface command is used within global configuration mode to specify which interface you want to configure. After entering this command followed by the interface identifier (e.g., interface GigabitEthernet0/1), you enter interface configuration mode, where you can apply various settings such as IP address, speed, and operational status to that particular interface.

  • Usage Scenarios: Use this command when you need to configure or modify settings specific to a certain interface. This could involve setting the IP address, changing the speed or duplex settings, or administratively shutting down or enabling the interface. It’s a foundational command for setting up or modifying how the device interfaces with the rest of the network.

ip address Command

  • Details: The ip address command is used within interface configuration mode to assign or change the IP address and subnet mask of an interface. The command syntax typically includes the IP address followed by the subnet mask (e.g., ip address 192.168.1.1 255.255.255.0). This command configures the layer 3 addressing required for a network interface to communicate on an IP network.

  • Usage Scenarios: This command is fundamental when configuring network interfaces, especially when setting up routers and switches for the first time or when reconfiguring interfaces for new network segments. It’s also used when re-addressing network devices during network redesigns or expansions.

no shutdown Command

  • Details: The no shutdown command is used within interface configuration mode to enable an interface (change its state from administratively down to up). In contrast, the shutdown command disables the interface. This command effectively controls the operational status of an interface, but without physically unplugging or disabling the hardware.

  • Usage Scenarios: Use this command to bring interfaces online after configuration or maintenance. It’s also used to re-enable interfaces that were previously shut down for security, troubleshooting, or maintenance purposes. Conversely, if you need to temporarily disable an interface without removing its configuration, you’d use the shutdown command.

show vlan Command

  • Details: The show vlan command displays information about the VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks) currently configured on a switch. The output includes the VLAN ID, name, and the status, as well as the ports assigned to each VLAN. This command is crucial for managing and verifying VLAN configurations on a device.

  • Usage Scenarios: This command is essential for network administrators managing VLAN configurations. Use it to verify that ports are assigned to the correct VLANs, to troubleshoot VLAN-related issues, or to ensure that VLAN configurations have been applied correctly after changes. It’s also useful for documenting the current VLAN setup of a network.

ping Command

  • Details: The ping command is used to test the reachability of a host on an IP network. It sends ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) echo request messages to the target host and listens for echo reply messages. The output displays the results of each echo request, including the time taken for the round trip and if any packets were lost.

  • Usage Scenarios: Use this command for basic network connectivity troubleshooting. It helps in verifying that a host is operational and reachable across an IP network. It’s also useful for diagnosing network latency issues, packet loss, and the operational status of network links between devices.
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copy running-config startup-config Command

  • Details: The copy running-config startup-config command saves the current running configuration (which is in RAM) to the startup configuration (stored in NVRAM). This ensures that any changes made during the current session are retained after the device is restarted or power cycled, making the running configuration persistent.

  • Usage Scenarios: This command is crucial after making any configuration changes that you want to be permanent. Without executing this command, any changes made would be lost upon reboot, returning the device to its previous state. It’s a best practice to use this command after any configuration session to ensure that your changes are saved and will be applied when the device next boots.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cisco Commands

What is the difference between the show running-config and show startup-config commands?

The show running-config command displays the current configuration in use by the device (in RAM), which may include changes that haven’t been saved yet. On the other hand, show startup-config displays the saved configuration (in NVRAM) that the device will use upon the next reboot. Changes made in the current session need to be saved with copy running-config startup-config to appear in the startup configuration.

How can I reset an interface to its default configuration?

To reset an interface to its default configuration, you need to enter interface configuration mode using the interface command and then issue the default interface [interface-type] [interface-number] command. This will remove all specific configurations made on that interface and revert it to its default state.

If I use the no shutdown command on an interface, will it remain enabled after a reboot?

Yes, if you use the no shutdown command to enable an interface and then save the configuration with copy running-config startup-config, the interface will remain enabled after a reboot. The device saves the interface’s operational status (up or down) as part of the configuration.

How can I quickly check the status of all interfaces on a Cisco device?

The show ip interface brief command provides a concise and quick summary of all interfaces on the device, showing their names, IP addresses, and their operational status (up or down). It’s a go-to command for a quick health check of the device’s interfaces.

What’s the importance of saving the running configuration to the startup configuration, and how often should it be done?

Saving the running configuration to the startup configuration with the copy running-config startup-config command is crucial because it ensures that all the changes made in the current session are retained after a device reboot. It’s a best practice to do this immediately after making any configuration changes you want to preserve. Failure to do so might result in losing all the changes if the device is power cycled or rebooted.

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