Welcome to article number 7 in my 70-240 in 15 minutes a week series. This week's article covers Implementing, Managing, and Troubleshooting Network Protocols and Services. This includes a look at configuring and troubleshooting TCP/IP and related utilities, remote access connections, remote access protocols, and finally something you must absolutely be familiar with for the 70-240 exam - subnetting.
by Dan DiNicolo
Welcome to article number 7 in my 70-240 in 15 minutes a week series. This week's article covers Implementing, Managing, and Troubleshooting Network Protocols and Services. This includes a look at configuring and troubleshooting TCP/IP and related utilities, remote access connections, remote access protocols, and finally something you must absolutely be familiar with for the 70-240 exam - subnetting. This is the final topic in the Windows 2000 Professional part of the series. If you've managed to make it this far, good work - you're a quarter of the way there! Next week I'll begin with a look at the Windows 2000 Server material. I'm not yet sure how many articles it will take to cover, but it may be a little shorter than the Pro section due to some overlap between the materials covered in the two.
A quick note - be sure to either visit my
website or the last page of this article for details on a huge free
giveaway contest (especially valuable to those studying for 70-240!).
The material that this article will cover includes:
- TCP/IP configuration in Windows 2000
- IP Addressing
- TCP/IP utilities
- Remote access protocols
- Configuring remote access connections
- TCP/IP subnetting
TCP/IP Configuration in Windows 2000
TCP/IP has become the de facto protocol used in networking today, in conjunction with the growth and proliferation of the Internet as a communication tool. For all intents and purposes, TCP/IP is the primary networking protocol of Windows 2000, since Active Directory necessitates a TCP/IP-based network. However, you should still be aware that Windows 2000 supports a variety of other transport protocols including NetBEUI, NWLink (the IPX/SPX compatible transport), AppleTalk, and DLC (although this is a primarily used for special purposes, such as connecting to a non-TCP/IP network-connected printer). These other protocols will be looked at in more detail in the Server portion of the series.
TCP/IP configuration in Windows 2000 can be done both for LAN and remote access connections, as a function of configuring the associated connection object. Each connection object is configured independently, whether for file and printer sharing, or its TCP/IP properties, as shown below:
At a minimum, the TCP/IP configuration must include an IP address and subnet mask. The IP address uniquely identifies a TCP/IP host, while the subnet mask allows us to determine which portion of an IP address designates the network, and which portion designates a host on that network (more on that later). Unless the host is connected to small isolated LAN, a default gateway address should also be provided. This is the IP address of the router to which this computer will forward all packets destined for hosts on other networks (except ones for which the host has an explicit routing table entry). The DNS entries in the lower portion of the screen shot above designate the IP addresses of a preferred and alternate DNS server to use to resolve host name and service-lookup queries. The elements behind the advanced button allows configuration of alternate IP addresses, gateways, DNS client properties, WINS client configuration, packet filtering settings, and so forth (again, this is covered in detail in the server portion of the series). Remember that for a system with three network cards, you would configure the properties (TCP/IP, etc) of each separately.
Windows 2000 provides a wide range of utilities for use in a managing, configuring, and troubleshooting the TCP/IP environment. I have listed the TCP/IP-related utilities below, along with an outline of their uses and some important switches.
Ping - A simple diagnostic utility that verifies connectivity with a remote computer.
Pathping - An advanced ping utility, it also does a traceroute and provides stats of packet loss at intermediary routers.
Arp - displays and allows modification of the Address Resolution Protocol cache, where information on IP to MAC address mappings for local hosts are stored.
Route - displays and allows modification the locally configured routing table
Tracert - traces the route that a packet takes in reaching its final destination.
Nslookup - a command-line resolver for querying a DNS server.
Netstat - displays current TCP/IP session information. For example, information on connected hosts and port numbers used.
Nbtstat - displays the local Netbios name cache. When used with the -RR switch, causes the client to re-register itself with its configured WINS server.
Ipconfig - displays the current TCP/IP configuration of the local machine.
/release - releases a DHCP-obtained IP address
/renew - obtains a new DHCP IP address
/all - displays all TCP/IP configuration information
/flushdns - purges the local DNS resolver cache
/regsiterdns - refreshes DHCP leases and re-registers with DNS.
/displaydns - shows the contents of the DNS resolver cache.
Hostname - displays the locally configured TCP/IP hostname (note this may be different that the locally configured computername (also referred to as a netbios name).
LPQ - checks print queue status on an LPD-based printer.
LPR - sends a print job to a remote UNIX printer running the LPD service
Ftp - a client program to transfer file between the client and a system configured as an FTP server via TCP.
Rcp - used to copy files between a client and a server running an RCP service.
Rexec - used to execute a command or process on a remote computer
Rsh - used to execute a command or process on a remote computer running remote shell (RSH) service.
Telnet - a client program used to logon and execute command remotely on a system running a telnet service.
Tftp - a client program to transfer small files between the client and a system configured as a TFTP server via UDP.
Remote Access Protocols
Windows 2000 Professional supports the ability to create both outgoing and incoming remote access connections. Types of connections supported include dialup, VPN, and direct cable connection (including infrared). The list below outlines the protocols supported and their associated features and limitations under Windows 2000.
Point-to-Point protocol - PPP is the de facto standard for dialup connections, and supports numerous transport protocols including TCP/IP, NetBEUI, IPX/SPX, AppleTalk and a range of others. PPP also support the assignment of client IP addresses via DHCP. Windows 2000 can act as both a PPP client and server.
Serial Line Internet Protocol - SLIP is an older dialup standard that can only be used with IP and does not allow for dynamic allocation of IP addresses. Windows 2000 can only function as a SLIP client and not as a SLIP server.
Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol - PPTP is a virtual private networking (VPN) protocol used to create a secure connection over an untrusted network (such as the Internet) by encrypting all data sent between a PPTP client and PPTP server. PPTP is supported by a variety of operating systems, including Windows NT 4.0, Window 95, 98, etc.
Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol - L2TP is another VPN protocol that provides a similar function to PPTP. However, L2TP's responsibility is tunnel creation and tunnel management. L2TP does not actually encrypt data. Instead, it works in conjunction with the IPSec protocol, which is actually responsible for the encryption. L2TP in an open standard developed jointly by Microsoft and Cisco to ultimately replace PPTP and Cisco's Layer 2 Forwarding (L2F) protocol.
IPSec - In a VPN environment, IPSec is responsible for encrypted data sent between the VPN client and server, as well as negotiating encryption related parameters such as encryption level (56-bit, 128-bit, etc) and so forth. The table below gives a brief comparison of features supported by PPTP versus LT2P.
any packet-oriented point-to-point connection such as ATM, IP, etc
Headers only 4 bytes
uses PPP encryption
Note that so far, the only Microsoft OS to natively support L2TP / IPSec is Windows 2000. As such, protocol choice is often based on client systems making the connection.
Windows 2000 Professional also supports a few new authentication protocols for the purposes of remote access connections. These include EAP and BAP, which are looked at below.
EAP - The Extensible Authentication Protocol is an extension to PPP that allows for a greater degree of choice in terms of the authentication mechanism used. Support is built into Windows 2000 for the use of generic token cards, the MD5-CHAP protocol, and Transport Layer Security (TLS), which is used for authentication via smart card. EAP also allows vendors to create additional authentication modules that can be used in Windows 2000, such a biometric hardware such as a thumbprint reader or retinal scanner, for example.
BAP - The Bandwidth Allocation Protocol is a protocol that enhances the capabilities of multilink in Windows 2000. Multilink is the ability to aggregate the bandwidth from multiple dialup connections (modem or ISDN) for a single user. BAP works to manage bandwidth usage more efficiently. For example, you can use BAP to automatically drop one line of a multilink connection should utilization fall below a certain level.
Windows 2000 also continues to support a variety of authentication protocols that included in NT 4.0. These include:
PAP - Password Authentication Protocol. Uses plaintext passwords.
SPAP - Shiva Password Authentication Protocol. Authentication protocol that allows Windows 2000 clients to be authenticated by Shiva servers, or Shiva clients to be authenticated by Windows 2000 Servers.
CHAP - Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol. An MD-5 based authentication protocol that is supported in a variety of OSes.
MS-CHAP - Microsoft's version of CHAP. When this option is chosen, you can choose to encrypt all data using MPPE (Microsoft point-to-point encryption).
MS-CHAP version 2 - supports many of the same features as MS-CHAP, but is a stronger version. For example, while MS-CHAP uses a single cryptographic key for all data sent and received, MS-CHAP v2 uses separate keys for each function. Also supports password changes during the authentication process.
Want to know more about the different authentication methods? Click
Configuring Remote Access Connections
Remote access connections in Windows 2000 Professional are configured using the Make New Connection Wizard in the Network and Dial-Up Connections program window. The wizard provides 5 choices, as outlined below:
The first two choices are self explanatory, as both involve creating dial-up connections. You should note that if you choose Dial-up to the Internet, the Internet Connection Wizard would start. The third option allows you to create a VPN connection over the Internet, by providing the fully qualified domain name or IP address of the server you wish to connect to. If your system is not directly connected to the Internet and uses a dial-up connection, you can specify the existing dial-up connection to be connected prior to establishing the VPN connection (as shown below). This avoids having to initiate the two connections individually.
The fourth option in the wizard allows a Windows 2000 Professional machine to accept incoming dial-in, VPN, and direct cable connections. The last option creates a connection to another machine using a direct connection. This function works off the Guest/Host principal, as outlined below.
After the wizard defines the connection, a corresponding connection object will appear in Network and Dial-up Connections. Note that the wizard itself only handles the input of the most basic properties of the connection. However, you can get at the advanced settings of the connection by accessing its properties. An example of the general and networking tabs of an outgoing VPN connection are shown below:
The security option of the connection can also be configured via the security tab. This includes settings such as which authentication mechanism is used, whether encryption is required, and so forth. Examples of the security tab and Advanced (or custom settings) are shown below.
Finally, note the options tab shown below. This allows you to control a number of elements including dialing options and associated parameters.
that the Make New Connection wizard only allows you to create and
configure remote access connections. Local area connections are set up
automatically basic on the number of network adapters installed.
Like it or not, you'll need to understand subnetting and TCP/IP principals in order to be successful on the 70-240 exam. For all intents and purposes, TCP/IP is considered to be assumed knowledge based on its importance as a protocol. While you might not get many questions relating to subnetting on the Professional portion of the exam, I have decided to cover the topic earlier rather than later in order to ensure that people have plenty of time to practice and prepare. The purpose of this article in not to teach you how to create a subnetting scheme for a large network. Instead, my purpose here is to help you recognize problems with the IP configuration of a host. I'll teach you how to figure out which host IDs are valid on a subnet, what the mask really means, and how to calculate valid ranges of addresses on a network. Once you can do these things, you can handle any question that might be thrown at you.
It sometimes amazes me that people get so worked up about subnetting, because it really is quite simple. First of all, you need to recognize that in order to really understand subnetting (at least starting off), looking at the numbers in decimal notation makes very little sense. You need to be looking at numbers in binary to really understand what is happening. The beauty of binary numbering is its simplicity - each value can only be a 1 or a 0. Note that each section (octet) of an IP address can be represented by a series of eight bits. There are 4 octets, so 32 bits altogether. That means any IP address can be also looked at as a 32-bit binary number. The table below outlines binary numbering corresponding values.
What this means is simple. If I were to ask for the value of 11001100 in decimal, it would be 128+64+0+0+8+4+0+0, which equals 204. Each bit corresponds to the decimal value above it - add the values for each '1' value and you have the answer. 11111111 would be 128+64+32+16+8+4+2+1, which equals 255 (which is also the highest possible decimal value in an 8-bit binary number).
But what about converting decimal numbers to binary? Well, it's different, but no more difficult. Start at the left on the chart above, and add the decimal values together until you reach your total. Every number you use is a '1' and every number you leave out is a '0'. For example, let's take the number 77. This would be 01001101. Say what? Well, I just started adding numbers left to right, leaving out numbers that put me over 77. In this example, I have 0+64+0+0+8+4+0+1. Simple.
You can also do this using a calculator program with a scientific mode. Just type is a number in decimal and hit the BIN button. The number will then be displayed in binary. However, the calculator has no idea that you're dealing in 8-bit numbers, so you'll have to be careful. For example, my calculator will tell me that 77 in binary is 1001101. That is, it leaves off any leading zeros. As such, you'll need to remember to 'pad out' your binary numbers to 8 bits if you use the calculator. For example, the calculator will show decimal 8 as binary 1000. For an IP address, we need to add the 4 other zeros, making it 00001000. You'll have access to the calculator on the exam, so know how to use it.
After you understand binary numbering, subnetting is easy. First of all, we need to discuss what subnetting is. Quite simply, it is taking a big network ID and breaking it down into a number of smaller networks, or subnets. Routers are what usually separate subnets. Reasons for subnetting include connecting different topologies (such as Ethernet and Token ring), as well as making networks smaller and more manageable. Subnets are also sometimes referred to as broadcast domains, since a broadcast sent on a subnet goes to all hosts on that subnet
For the purpose of the 70-240 exam, you will need to recognize and understand how subnetting works. This includes being able to view system configurations and determine why clients are having trouble communicating. As such, you'll need to be able to recognize valid IP addresses, subnet mask values, and what range of IP addresses are valid on a given subnet. Let's start with a look at valid subnet mask values.
A subnet mask means little in decimal. In binary, however, they tell a story. The subnet mask is what tells us which of the 32-bits in an IP address represent the network identification, and which represent the host identification. In the example below, the host IP address is 188.8.131.52 and the subnet mask is /21, or 255.255.248.0. In decimal, it is difficult to determine which portion represents the network and which the host. However, it binary the mask value is:
11111111 11111111 11111000 00000000
So what does that tell me? That the first 21 bits are used to represent the network, and the last 11 bits are used to represent a host on the network. Actually, it tells me more than that. It also tells me how many hosts I can have per network. How? Well, if eleven bits are used to represent a host, then this subnet can have 2046 hosts. How did I get that? Simple:
2 to the power of 11, minus 2. That equals 2048 minus 2, or 2046. Why minus 2? You subtract 2 because a host value of all binary 0's represents the subnet, and a value of all binary 1's is the broadcast address for this subnet.
If the subnet mask in the example above had been /17, or 255.255.128.0, that would leave 15 bits for host addresses. That would mean 2 to the power of 15 minus 2 hosts, or 32766 total.
Figuring that stuff out should now be easy enough as well. The big question, and the key thing you need to be able to do, is to be able to determine if a host ID is valid on a subnet. Every subnet has a range of addresses that are valid on it. In my last example, there were 32766 valid host addresses. You need to be able to determine which ones are valid for the subnet. It isn't that hard, but you need to know what you're looking for.
Let's say that we've been given an address of 184.108.40.206/20, and we're trying to determine the range of valid host IDs on this subnet. The first step is to determine the actual network ID on which this host falls. The process we use to determine this is called ANDing. When we want to AND an IP address and subnet mask, we first convert them to binary and line the subnet mask below the IP address. Then, calculate the AND value. In an AND operation, values are calculated as follows:
1 and 1 = 1
1 and 0 = 0
0 and 0 = 0
In our example, this would give us:
|| 10011100 00010001 00101010 00000110
|| 11111111 11111111 11110000 00000000
|| 10011100 00010001 00100000 00000000
After we convert our ANDed address back to decimal we get 220.127.116.11. This is the network ID that our host falls onto.
Stay with me here. We know that our mask is 255.255.240.0 (or /20). So, we know that the last 12 bits represent the hosts on this network. The network bits are in black below, the host bits in red. We already know that a host ID cannot be all zeros or all ones in binary. So, when I'm calculating the range of valid IPs on this subnet/network, I can't have either of these values. This leaves me with:
10011100 00010001 00100000 00000000
First Valid Host ID
|| 10011100 00010001 00100000
Last Valid Host ID
|| 10011100 00010001 00101111
Note that the first valid host ID sets all host bits to zero except the last (called the least-significant bit), and the last valid host ID sets all host bits to one, except the last. What did I lose? Two addresses - the host ID being all zeros (which defines the network) and the host ID being all ones (the broadcast address, which is not valid for a host). These are the same 2 addresses that I subtract when trying to find how many hosts I can have per subnet. If I convert my ranges above to decimal, I end up with a range of:
18.104.22.168 to 22.214.171.124
The truth of the matter is that you won't necessarily have time to 'do the math' for every question that comes at you during the exam, so you'll need a way to quickly determine what ranges of hosts are valid on a subnet given a certain mask. For this purpose, I am providing the chart below. You can use this chart to quickly determine the valid ranges of IP addresses on a subnet based on the mask value, and where the next range starts. Please do not use this chart as a crutch if you don't understand how to determine valid ranges as we went through above. This is meant as a shortcut for those who already understand.
How the chart works is simple. Let's say I've been given a host ID of 126.96.36.199 with a mask of 255.255.248.0, and I want to quickly determine the range of host IP addresses valid on the same subnet as this host. This address is subnetted into the third octet based on the mask, so we take the third octet value (248) and plug it into the chart above. The Network value that corresponds to 248 is 8. As such, that means that every new subnet starts at a multiple of 8 in the third octet. For example:
188.8.131.52 subnet0 range = 184.108.40.206 to 220.127.116.11 *
18.104.22.168 subnet1 range = 22.214.171.124 to 126.96.36.199
188.8.131.52 subnet2 range = 184.108.40.206 to 220.127.116.11
18.104.22.168 subnet 3 range = 22.214.171.124 to 126.96.36.199
188.8.131.52 subnet 4 range = 184.108.40.206 to 220.127.116.11
18.104.22.168 subnet10 range = 22.214.171.124 to 126.96.36.199
188.8.131.52 subnet30 range = 184.108.40.206 to 220.127.116.11
18.104.22.168 subnet31 range = 22.214.171.124 to 126.96.36.199 *
* Although these ranges were usually omitted in a classful IP addressing system, they are totally valid under CIDR. Often these ranges are still omitted, however, due to the fact that some older equipment may not reference the ranges properly.
Note that our host is on subnet10, the range in red above. The same rules as always still apply, so be careful. The host ID cannot be all 0's or 1's.
As another example, if the address had been 188.8.131.52/14, the subnet mask would be 255.252.0.0, making the range of addresses on the same subnet as this host everything on subnet 184.108.40.206, since new ranges start in multiples of 4. That would make the valid range:
220.127.116.11 to 18.104.22.168
If you go back to the ANDing process, and calculate the first and last host IDs in binary, you'll see that we've come up with the same answer, only much more quickly!
As I mentioned from the outset, this section was not meant to be a complete explanation of designing a subnetting scheme for a network. Instead, we learned how to define valid ranges of addresses based on a host ID and mask value, both in binary and using the shortcut method. For the purpose of 70-240, you will need to be able to troubleshoot IP addressing, and that's what I've focused on above. Once you can calculate valid ranges, you can then determine which host IDs are local and remote, and which hosts are capable of communicating properly. Only hosts that fall into the same range should be on the same subnet. You also now know that the problem may be the address or the subnet mask values of the hosts in question!
Want to practice your subnetting skills? Try my free subnetting practice
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Wow. Welcome to the end of article 7. I know this has been a longer ride than usual, unless you already understood subnetting - then maybe a little shorter. That does it for the Windows 2000 Profession material. Next week I'll begin with a look at the Windows 2000 Server portion of the exam, topic to be determined. In the meantime, I have a very important announcement to make. I have teamed up with CDI Corporate Education to provide a
very valuable free contest. One lucky winner will receive 6 months free unlimited access
70-240.com website, which carries a
value of approximately $600 US. It includes a whole range of free online courses, practice exams, mentoring, and so
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enter. The prize will be given away on April 16, 2001 - plenty of time to make great use of those 6 months! As always, I look forward to your feedback, so please
email me with any questions or comments. In the meantime, good luck with your studies, and good luck in the contest!