Pluralsight blog Where devs, IT admins & creative pros go for news, tips, videos and more.
Pluralsight + Digital-Tutors - 3,000 tech & creative courses - starting at $29/month Get it now →
October 5, 2011

CCNP TSHOOT: Using Cisco Troubleshooting Tools

By CCNP TSHOOT: Using Cisco Troubleshooting Tools

One of the topics on the CCNP TSHOOT exam is the “usage of Cisco troubleshooting tools”. In order to score well on this exam you should definitely know how to use and configure the various troubleshooting tools that Cisco equipment offers.

In this article we will examine everything you need to know regarding error message logging, reachability and routing troubleshooting as well as technical information collection from Cisco devices. Cisco has incorporated this section into the CCNP TSHOOT exam because it is extremely important to know what your troubleshooting tools can do and how to benefit from them. Learn them now so that you can apply them in real life tomorrow.

Cisco devices are like people; you need to listen to them. They can tell you important things about their hidden thoughts and worries. Always monitor your device logs at frequent intervals. In general, logged messages will assist you in identifying future problems. They will indicate active running malfunctions or even disturbances that happened during your off hours.

Cisco Troubleshooting: Message Logging Levels

The level of message logging is configurable. There are eight distinct levels of logging based on severity. Higher severity messages are given a lower level number. The following table presents these logging levels:

Logging Level Value (severity) Logging Level Name Logged Messages Description
0 Emergencies “Dead” System
1 Alerts Immediate action is needed
2 Critical Critical alarms
3 Errors Erroneous conditions
4 Warnings Warning messages
5 Notifications Normal important notifications
6 Informational Informational messages
7 Debugging Detailed debug messages

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • The highest severity logging level is the “Emergencies” (level 0)
  • The lowest severity logs are the “Debug” (level 7)
  • Enabling a logging level automatically activates logging of higher severity levels. For example if you configure logging level “3″ then all messages falling into levels zero (0) up to three (3) are logged.

Message Logging Methods

There are four different methods of logging messages in Cisco devices. By default, logging of messages is enabled on the Console and on the device’s internal buffer. The four logging methods are:

  • Console
  • Internal buffer
  • Virtual Terminal ( telnet session)
  • Syslog server

The format of the Cisco command to enable logging is:

Logging [method] [level]

The following list displays the commands you need to use to configure each logging method:

  • Logging console [level]: This command enables console logging (enabled by default). Use the no logging console command to disable it.
  • Logging buffered [level]: This command enables logging of messages to the internal buffer (enabled by default). Use the no logging buffered command to disable it.
  • Logging monitor [level]: Use this command to enable logging of messages towards virtual terminal sessions. On your telnet session use the terminal monitor commands to enable the display of messages on your terminal. The command terminal no monitor disables this feature. Also the command no logging monitor disables this logging method.
  • Logging [ip address]: This command enables logging of messages towards a syslog server. You can specify several syslog servers by issuing separate commands with the ip address of each syslog server respectively.
  • Logging trap [level]: Use this command to specify the level of messages transmitted to the syslog servers. The no logging trap command disables logging of messages to syslog servers.

Display Logging Configuration and Status

To display the configured logging methods and logging messages, issue the show logging privileged executable command. An example is shown below:

log

Troubleshooting with PING and TRACEROUTE

Do not underestimate the power of the PING and TRACEROUTE commands. You need to know them for your exam preparation as well.

  • With the PING command you verify reachability with the remote device. By default, PING sends five ICMP echo requests to the destination IP address expecting to receive an ICMP echo Reply within a time interval of 2 seconds to each request.
  • With the TRACEROUTE command you find the path taken to reach a specific destination. It can be used to verify reachability as well. It can provide important information regarding possible network bottlenecks.

Take a look at my article on how to troubleshoot your connections with Ping and Traceroute to learn more.

Important “Show” Cisco Commands

When it comes to identifying hardware problems or service malfunctions, you need to know the basic Cisco commands to use in order to diagnose the problem. Moreover, these are the commands that Cisco experts would ask from you in case you have a maintenance agreement with them, so it is necessary to know them.

When suffering from performance degradation, the following commands are the first to consider:

  • Show interfaces
  • Show buffers
  • Show processes cpu
  • Show memory

When you come across IP protocol errors or connectivity errors, the outputs from the following commands need to be evaluated:

  • Show ip protocol
  • Show ip route
  • Show ip interfaces
  • Show ip access-lists
  • Show ip traffic

There is a single Cisco command that collects a lot of information equivalent to issuing many “show” commands. I am talking about the show tech-support command.

There is another crucial command, a very important one. That is the show version command. This command provides the following important information:

  • The installed IOS number and name.
  • The system’s Bootstrap and installed BootLoader.
  • The system’s uptime.
  • The reason for the latest system’s restart.
  • The date of the last restart.
  • The image filename and stored location.
  • Hardware information such as processor type, memory usage, controllers, DSPs, etc.
  • The value of the configuration register.

Using Cisco Troubleshooting Tools

Cisco provides a variety of troubleshooting tools to help you identify and isolate potential hardware or software problems. Cisco expects know these tools inside-out. I have presented some of the basic troubleshooting commands in this article, but be sure to learn them well. You will definitely need them!

About the Author

(CCNA, NET+, MOUS) holds a BSc in Electronic Engineering and an MSc in Communication Networks. He has over three years of experience in teaching MS Office applications, networking courses and GCE courses in Information Technology. Stelios is currently working as a VoIP Engineer in a Telecom company, where he uses his knowledge in practice. He has successfully completed training on CCNP topics, Linux and IMS. His enthusiasm, ambition and knowledge motivate him to offer his best. Stelios has written many articles covering Cisco CCENT, CCNA, and CCNP.


Discussion