Natty Narwhal netbook: The ultimate network administrator toolkit

With a tiny laptop and the latest version of Ubuntu, you can be a netadmin ninja

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Software to download

That's a mighty nice collection of networking utilities, but there are more that belong in your network admin toolkit. The following packages are all in the Ubuntu software repositories, so you can use your usual favorite installation method: Synaptic, apt-get, the Ubuntu Software Center, etc. This list is a comprehensive sampling, and there are dozens more. You'll find the complete list at Load these up on your Natty Netbook and you'll be ready for just about anything.

Network discovery, monitoring, and exploration

Use these to test connectivity, discover who is on your network, find unauthorized servers, find redundant servers, and read what is going over your wires. Nothing needs to be a mystery, and you can see exactly what is happening on your network.

  • <strong>2ping</strong>
    is a bidirectional ping utility for determining the direction of packet loss.
  • <strong>chaosreader</strong>
    is a multi-protocol network session tracer.
  • <strong>conntrackd</strong>
    replicates the status of the connections that are currently being processed by a stateful firewall.
  • <strong>cryptcat</strong>
    is a featureful netcat-like utility that encrypts its transmissions. It's excellent for debugging and network exploration<./li>
  • <strong>daemonlogger</strong>
    is a great packet logger and tap daemon for network security analysis.
  • <strong>darkstat</strong>
    is a packet sniffer that outputs statistics to a Web browser.
  • <strong>dhcp-probe</strong>
    discovers unauthorized DHCP and BootP servers.
  • <strong>dmitry</strong>
    is a network probe finds subdomains, uptime info, email addresses, port scans, and lots more.
  • <strong>ettercap</strong>
    is a powerhouse protocol sniffer and analyzer.
  • <strong>fping</strong>
    can ping multiple targets.
  • <strong>iptraf</strong>
    is a colorful LAN traffic monitor.
  • <strong>ifstat</strong>
    is a network interface monitor.
  • <strong>iftop</strong>
    monitors bandwidth usage.
  • <strong>kismet</strong>
    is an 802.11b wireless network sniffer. It's a must-have for wireless networks.
Kismet discovers local wireless networks.
  • <strong>kism3d</strong>
    is a 3D network display server which can be used as a 3D desktop environment.
  • <strong>knocker</strong>
    is a TCP port scanner.
  • <strong>wireshark</strong>
    is a sophisticated packet sniffer and analyzer.
  • <strong>cdpr</strong>
    is a Cisco discovery protocol reporter.
  • <strong>imsniff</strong>
    is an instant messaging sniffer and logger.
  • <strong>ike-scan</strong>
    discovers IKE (IPsec VPN Servers) hosts.
  • <strong>farpd</strong>
    is a fake ARP daemon that can claim unassigned LAN addresses.
  • <strong>ipwatchd</strong>
    can find IP address conflicts.
  • <strong>icmpinfo</strong>
    is a nice tool for decoding ICMP messages.
  • <strong>nmap</strong>
    will act as a network mapper, security auditor, perform host fingerprinting, and do lots more.
  • <strong>iw</strong>
    configures and displays wireless interface information.

Performance testing and monitoring

Your users probably pester you frequently with complaints that "the network is slow!" With these tools, you can see for yourself how well the packets are flowing, test server responses, find the bottlenecks, and verify that your SSL-encrypted Web traffic really is encrypted.

  • <strong>bandwidthd</strong>
    , bandwidthd-pgsql for graphing subnet traffic.
  • <strong>bing</strong>
    provides bandwidth measurement based on pings.
  • <strong>bmon</strong>
    is a bandwidth monitor that outputs results in HTML and ASCII.
  • <strong>echoping</strong>
    tests remote server performance.
  • <strong>ethstats</strong>
    measures network interface throughput.
  • <strong>flowscan</strong>
    provides network traffic analysis and visualization.
  • <strong>httping</strong>
    measures HTTP/S server performance.

Name services

DNS is still half-voodoo, and one typo in a zone file makes a disproportionately big mess. Use these tools to see abnormal traffic (which could indicate a misconfiguration or even an attack), test performance, and test server configuration.

  • <strong>bind9utils</strong>
    contains tools for checking a BIND server.
  • <strong>dlint</strong>
    is a DNS zone analyzer.
  • <strong>dns-flood-detector</strong>
    detects abnormally high nameserver traffic.
  • <strong>dnstop</strong>
    captures and analyzes DNS traffic.
  • <strong>dnstracer</strong>
    traces DNS queries to their source.
  • <strong>fpdns</strong>
    can tell you the versions of remote DNS servers.

Cisco, Juniper, Intel, ATM, and Infiniband tools

Linux and FOSS even offer nice tools for managing and monitoring spendy high-end snooty vendor gear.

  • <strong>atm-tools</strong>
    helps you set up, monitor, and tune ATM networks.
  • <strong>br2684ctl</strong>
    bridges ATM over Ethernet
  • <strong>c3270</strong>
    provides a telnet connection to IBM mainframe.
  • <strong>dynagen</strong>
    is a Cisco 7200 router emulator.
  • <strong>dynamips</strong>
    is a Cisco 7200/3600/3725/3745/2600/1700 router emulator.
  • <strong>gamt</strong>
    is a serial-over-LAN client for Intel AMT.
  • <strong>ibsim-utils</strong>
    simulates InfiniBand fabric.
  • <strong>ibutils</strong>
    diagnoses and test InfiniBand networks.
  • <strong>gns3</strong>
    is a graphical network simulator that configures Cisco and Junos devices.
  • <strong>vpnc</strong>
    is a Cisco-compatible VPN client.

Remote desktops and file sharing

These are mostly cross-platform so you can share files and printers on mixed networks, set up remote help desks, accommodate roaming users, and run secure remote graphical desktops -- all without getting dinged for silly terminal server and other gratuitous licenses.

  • <strong>krdc</strong>
    , and
    are all remote desktop connection clients.
  • <strong>samba-common</strong>
    , and
    are server and client files for Samba file shares, including diagnostic commands.
  • <strong>nfs-common</strong>
    provide network file shares server and client tools.
  • <strong>openssh-server</strong>
    is a secure shell server. Install this on all hosts that required secure remote connectivity

Miscellaneous tools

Again, there are some useful programs for odd jobs that don't fit into the other categories.

  • <strong>etherpuppet</strong>
    creates a virtual mirrored TCP interface (TUN/TAP).
  • <strong>6tunnel</strong>
    is an IPv6 proxy for IPv4 applications.
  • <strong>aircrack-ng</strong>
    helps with 802.11a/b/g WEP/WPA cracking.
  • <strong>bridge-utils</strong>
    helps set up Ethernet bridges.
  • <strong>cutter</strong>
    closes TCP connections.
  • <strong>ebtables</strong>
    sets up, maintains, and inspects tables of Ethernet frames.
  • <strong>geoip-bin</strong>
    find the country of origin of any IP address or hostname.
  • <strong>grepcidr</strong>
    filters IPv4 CIDR addresses.
  • <strong>hping3</strong>
    is a network smashing tool.
  • <strong>icmpush</strong>
    is an ICMP packet builder for controlled testing.
  • <strong>ipcalc</strong>
    calculate and convert network addresses and subnets.
  • <strong>wakeonlan</strong>
    sends magic packets to wake up WOL-enabled hosts.

Go forth and administer your network!

Be sure to read the fine man pages! You'll also find boatloads of practical guidance in my own Linux Networking Cookbook. Editors willing and the creek don't rise, we'll follow up with some juicy howtos on using your nifty Natty Netadmin Netbook for specific network diagnostic and fixit tasks.

Carla Schroder is a regular ITworld contributor. Follow Carla on ITworld.

This article, "Natty Narwhal netbook: The ultimate network administrator toolkit," was originally published at ITworld. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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