Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

Effect of Windows XP Firewall on Network Simulation and Testing

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

Effect of Windows XP Firewall on Network Simulation and Testing

Article excerpt

Introduction

Cisco Networking Academy (CNA) is widely used in high schools, colleges, and universities all over the world. The Cisco Networking Academy Programs provide critical skills needed by students to work in the IT field. The program offers Web-based content, online assessment, handson labs, instructor training, and preparation for industry certifications such as CCNA and CCNP (http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/netacad/). The networking academy is used primarily to prepare students for Cisco certifications; it is also used for non Cisco certificates, such as CompTIA A+ and Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP). The Cisco Networking Academy courses include lab components which are an integral part of all CNA courses. For instance, the CCNA1-CCNA4 courses lab components include routers, switches, as well as some basic equipment and cables, to simulate and test network protocols in a lab environment using Cisco Internetwork Operating System (IOS). Cisco Networking Academy also promotes a product called Packet Tracer 4.0 (PT4) to simulate and test LAN connectivity. It is used as an alternative to the hardware lab to assist students who have no access to CNA hardware lab.

Typical Cisco Networking Academy Program which offers CCNA1-CCNA4 consists of a rack-mounted routers and switches along with few other devices to simulate and test network connectivity. The lab deals with different routing protocols: some of them are Cisco proprietary routing protocols such as EIGRP, and some non Cisco proprietary protocols such as RIP and OSPF. The simulation problem under investigation in this paper involves two Cisco routers, one Cisco switch, and two PC's (hosts) running Windows XP along with a serial cable (DCE/DTE) to connect the two routers.

Following the completion of a particular Cisco Networking Academy lab simulation, it is typical to test the connectivity between the host computers using Windows ping.exe and tracert.exe which implement the TCP/IP protocol ICMP. A successful ping from all the hosts means that the network is functioning properly at the network layer level. If the ping is not successful it is necessary to start troubleshooting the network until the ping is successful. However, there are cases when the ping is not successful and yet it was not possible to find any problem with the network. On the other hand repeating the same simulation using Cisco Packet Tracer 4.0 simulation software the phenomena is not observed. The objective of this paper is to investigate the reasons behind the ping failure when a network is configured a certain way under the Windows XP, and provides a solution to resolve this connectivity issue in a lab environment. A brief introduction to Windows XP Firewall settings is given in the last section of this paper.

Connectivity Tests using Ping and Tracert

The ping command is a good tool for troubleshooting Layer 1 through 3 of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model and diagnosing basic network connectivity (Odom, 2005). Using ping sends an ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) packet to the specified device (host, server, router or switch) and then waits for reply. The IP address or host name can be pinged. In order to ping the host name of a router, there must be a static host lockup table in the router or a DNS server for name resolution to IP addresses.

The traceroute command, abbreviated as trace, is an excellent utility for troubleshooting the path that a packet takes through an internetwork of routers. It can help to isolate problem links and routers along the way. The tracert command uses ICMP packets and the error message generated by routers when the packet exceeds its Time-To-Live (TTL). The Windows version of this command is tracert.

Cisco Networking Academy uses the ping command in the lab of the CCNA1-CCNA4 curriculum as a means to verify that the network layer between the source and destination is working properly. …

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