July 31, 2018

A Linux Sysadmin’s Guide to Network Management, Troubleshooting and Debugging

A system administrator’s routine tasks include configuring, maintaining, troubleshooting, and managing servers and networks within data centers. There are numerous tools and utilities in Linux designed for the administrative purposes.

In this article, we will review some of the most used command-line tools and utilities for network management in Linux, under different categories. We will explain some common usage examples, which will make network management much easier in Linux.

Network Configuration, Troubleshooting and Debugging Tools

1. ifconfig Command

ifconfig is a command line interface tool for network interface configuration and also used to initialize an interfaces at system boot time. Once a server is up and running, it can be used to assign an IP Address to an interface and enable or disable the interface on demand.

It is also used to view the status IP Address, Hardware / MAC address, as well as MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) size of the currently active interfaces. ifconfig is thus useful for debugging or performing system tuning.

Here is an example to display status of all active network interfaces.

$ ifconfig
enp1s0    Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 28:d2:44:eb:bd:98  
inet addr:192.168.0.103  Bcast:192.168.0.255  Mask:255.255.255.0
inet6 addr: fe80::8f0c:7825:8057:5eec/64 Scope:Link
UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
RX packets:169854 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:125995 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
RX bytes:174146270 (174.1 MB)  TX bytes:21062129 (21.0 MB)
lo        Link encap:Local Loopback  
inet addr:127.0.0.1  Mask:255.0.0.0
inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:65536  Metric:1
RX packets:15793 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
TX packets:15793 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
collisions:0 txqueuelen:1 
RX bytes:2898946 (2.8 MB)  TX bytes:2898946 (2.8 MB)

To list all interfaces which are currently available, whether up or down, use the -a flag.

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