For most network infrastructures, the lynchpins are the router and switches. Unlike many devices in a customer's network, routers require extensive configuration before they will become the efficient and reliable tools that a systems integrator (SI) or networking consultant promised the CFO.
Switches, in the mean time, may work straight out of the box, but in order to achieve they're full potential, need some tweaking as well. This series of tips goes over some of the first and minimal steps needed for an SI to get their customer's new hardware up and running.
Unlike some devices, routers require quite a bit of configuration before they will be useful. In this tip, we'll look at the bare minimum tasks to get a Cisco router working. Note that there are a lot of differences between the old school "routers", like the venerable 2500, 2600, 3600 series, and the newer "layer 3 switches" models like the 3550 or 2948G-L3. However, the tasks, as far as configuring the routing function, are the same.
Some basic steps for the bare bones router configuration include:
- Interface configuration
- IP address and subnet mask creation
Read more on the basic router configuration task list.
In most instances, you can take any brand of switch out of the box and turn it on and, without any configuration whatsoever, have it provide the connectivity you need much like an unmanaged hub would. In this tip, we'll look at when you need to configure something extra.
In order to meet a minimum level of security, a must for any enterprise switch, some configuration tasks include:
- Setting the password. (Better you than an intruder)
- Turning off all unused administration methods.
- Configuring a syslog server to store log entries remotely.
Get more information on initial tasks to complete in order to secure the switch and get the network up and running.
If you're working in an environment where you have lots of routers and switches with standardized configs, and you're looking for a good way to automate some of your tasks, consider building your device configs in your favorite spreadsheet application.
The "secret" of this method is listing every command in a row in the same order you want them in the configuration. Next, keywords and parameters go in their own columns. Once this is done, it's easy to print or export to a space-delimited text file.
Learn more about this spreadsheet technique for configuration automation.
About the author
Tom Lancaster, CCIE# 8829 CNX# 1105, is a consultant with 15 years of experience in the networking industry. He is co-author of several books on networking, most recently,CCSP: Secure PIXand Secure VPN Study Guide, published by Sybex.