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Monitoring your network with Network Utility

From: Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Beyond the Basics

Video: Monitoring your network with Network Utility

When you open the Network Utility, you may be entering new territory because a lot of people don't go in here because they are not sure that they are going to understand what's happening in here, and even for normal users there is a lot of useful things that you can do within here. Some of it will be for IT sorts of people or people who spend a lot of time troubleshooting the niggling details of the network, but you as a normal user can also find some interesting things in here. The first thing we are going to look at is Ping. Pinging a computer is similar to poking your sleeping mate and asking "Are you awake? Ha, are you, ha, ha ,ha", except the computer being pinged isn't likely to slap you.

Monitoring your network with Network Utility

When you open the Network Utility, you may be entering new territory because a lot of people don't go in here because they are not sure that they are going to understand what's happening in here, and even for normal users there is a lot of useful things that you can do within here. Some of it will be for IT sorts of people or people who spend a lot of time troubleshooting the niggling details of the network, but you as a normal user can also find some interesting things in here. The first thing we are going to look at is Ping. Pinging a computer is similar to poking your sleeping mate and asking "Are you awake? Ha, are you, ha, ha ,ha", except the computer being pinged isn't likely to slap you.

Essentially you are asking the remote computer to tell you if it is there by sending it a ping or a little packet of data and waiting for it to respond with the 'Yeah, I got it' message. There are a couple of useful things you can do with pinging, for example, if you are on the road you may want to know if your home server is running. If you have that Mac's IP address you just enter it in the network address field here and click Ping. If you see a response in the ping below you know it is alive and maybe even well. Also pinging a computer is a good way to tell if your firewall is working.

If you switch on the firewall in the Security System Preference so that it accepts only essential services or just those services you have allowed and a ping isn't one of them, that Mac should not reply to the ping which is good when you don't want other computers on the internet or locally talking to your Mac, so we are going to give this a try. I am going to ping my laptop and the address there is .255.72. I had the firewall configured so that it is open, so I will ping the computer and it should tell me that it's up and working.

And sure enough these little messages here are being sent back by the computer saying, yes, I am here and this is how long it took for me to do this. Now let's try this again, this time I am going to switch on the firewall, I will try to ping the computer and nothing will come back, let's see how that works, and sure enough it works. By this time we should have seen some kind of response if we were going to get one, we didn't get one because the firewall is switched on so if you are concerned that your firewall may not be working, this is one way to do it, and you don't have to ping another computer, you can also ping your own computer.

Simply enter your computer's IP address, which you can find in the Sharing System Preference, enter it here and click Ping, to ping your own computer. If you like to look up the IP address of a particular website, that's easily done as well, simply click Look Up, and enter the name of the domain you want to check. In this case let's check out lynda.com, find it what the IP address is. Click Look Up and there it is, here is the IP information about lynda.com. Now if you find that certain websites take forever to load on your Mac it is possible that your Mac is having to jump through several hoops to get there.

If you use traceroute, this will help confirm the length of the journey. Just enter the domain name or IP address in the network address field and click Trace. So we look for something like a www.guardian.co.uk so we are going to go to London on the strip and we will click Trace. And the journey is complete, click Stop, we will see where we have gone to trace the route. See we have been to San Jose, New York, London and we hopped a bunch of places in between.

So what good is this for you? This one may help you decide to change your ISP if yours is taking way too many trips to get where you wanted to go. Some ISPs have big pipes that go directly to places, others sort of take more secured routes and tend to be slower, and now to WhoIs. I moderate some message boards and I use WhoIs all the time to figure out where the people who post spam on our message boards are coming from. And it works much like the other network utility tabs. You enter a domain or an IP address in the address field and click WhoIs.

We will watch how that works. Now, let's go to the New York Times site for example, nyt.com. I will choose one of the services that reports these, how about network solutions, and click WhoIs, and here is our WhoIs information. This provides as much information as it can. You will actually get more information if you type in an IP address and let's see if they give us one somewhere. Indeed they do, here is our IP address here at the bottom, we will copy that, paste it up here, and now do another WhoIs search.

And now we will do another search but we use a different search body, in this case we will use arin.net, which I often have a lot of success with. Click WhoIs and we have more information. This is showing us the information for the ISP that handles that domain. Why this is important and useful is because of information like this, the abuse e-mail address. So for example, if you look into an e-mail message that you received, that has a lot of spam in it, if you look in the header information sometimes you can find the IP address of the person spamming you, you can then use a Look Up to find out who the ISP is, you can send an e-mail message to the abuse address and then hopefully they will be able to unplug that spammer's account and the spammer would be out of business at least until they can find a new ISP.

And finally port scan, this is another good option for testing a Mac's firewall. You can add in your Mac's IP address or local address in this field and click Scan, and we will give that a try. And this will tell me about the ports that are open on my Mac, and nothing appears to be open and the reason is because my firewall is on. Now let's turn off the firewall and see how it looks. And now we will scan the port again and see now that the firewall is off what it looks like.

And here we go; now we can see that certain ports are open. This is a good security measure if you know something about ports you can find out which ports are open on your Mac and if some show up, that you are a little concerned about, you can then use the firewall application to close those ports or you can use a firewall utility such as NoobProof to close specific ports. And that concludes our tour of Network Utility.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Beyond the Basics
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Beyond the Basics

76 video lessons · 26953 viewers

Christopher Breen
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 34s
    1. Welcome
      2m 34s
  2. 7m 20s
    1. Getting settled into the interface
      3m 47s
    2. Moving more quickly on your Mac
      3m 33s
  3. 18m 44s
    1. Changing languages with the International system preference
      7m 28s
    2. Adding security with the Security system preference
      5m 30s
    3. Configuring a firewall with the Security system preference
      5m 46s
  4. 28m 26s
    1. Adding a Bluetooth device with the Bluetooth system preference
      4m 6s
    2. Configuring your display with the Displays system preference
      6m 46s
    3. Configuring your input devices with the Keyboard & Mouse system preference
      5m 43s
    4. Printing and faxing with the Print & Fax system preference
      8m 15s
    5. Setting the Sound system preference
      3m 36s
  5. 35m 18s
    1. Setting up your MobileMe account with the system preference pane
      8m 36s
    2. Configuring your network connection with the Network system preference
      15m 46s
    3. Sharing your computer with the Sharing system preference
      10m 56s
  6. 41m 33s
    1. Understanding the Accounts system preference
      5m 46s
    2. Creating a new account with the Accounts system preference
      5m 31s
    3. Limiting access with the Parental Controls system preference
      10m 18s
    4. Updating your Mac with the Software Update system preference
      3m 54s
    5. Using Speech
      4m 19s
    6. Changing your startup disk with the Startup Disk system preference
      3m 17s
    7. The Universal Access system preference: The basics
      5m 44s
    8. The Universal Access system preference: VoiceOver
      2m 44s
  7. 33m 14s
    1. Tweaking your account settings
      6m 53s
    2. Organizing and viewing messages
      3m 30s
    3. Filtering mail with Rules
      11m 45s
    4. Importing and exporting mail
      3m 52s
    5. Mail tips
      7m 14s
  8. 14m 2s
    1. Creating complex iCal events
      4m 17s
    2. Publishing and subscribing to calendars
      4m 39s
    3. Importing and exporting calendars
      1m 47s
    4. Expanding iCal
      3m 19s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Creating complex contacts
      4m 22s
    2. Importing, exporting, and sharing contacts
      5m 10s
    3. Organizing with Groups and Smart Groups
      7m 15s
    4. Printing from your Address Book
      2m 8s
  10. 17m 17s
    1. Doing more with Bookmarks
      3m 27s
    2. Covering your tracks
      3m 26s
    3. Working locally
      3m 54s
    4. Expanding Safari with Saft and PithHelmet
      6m 30s
  11. 54m 3s
    1. Monitoring your computer with Activity Monitor
      8m 31s
    2. Configuring an airport base station with Airport Utility
      4m 10s
    3. Configuring manual settings on an airport base station
      6m 16s
    4. Copying files with Bluetooth File Exchange
      2m 36s
    5. Setting up a partition with Boot Camp Assistant
      2m 36s
    6. Console
      5m 40s
    7. Storing your passwords with Keychain Assistant
      3m 45s
    8. Using keychain access for more than just passwords
      4m 22s
    9. Transferring user accounts with Migration Assistant
      4m 0s
    10. Monitoring your network with Network Utility
      6m 43s
    11. Using System Profiler
      5m 24s
  12. 23m 3s
    1. Understanding Disk Utility
      2m 18s
    2. Verify and repairing with Disk Utility
      3m 14s
    3. Formatting and partitioning with Disk Utility
      4m 28s
    4. Configuring a RAID with Disk Utility
      4m 13s
    5. Creating disk images with Disk Utility
      5m 34s
    6. Burning CDs with Disk Utility
      3m 16s
  13. 18m 18s
    1. Introducing the Terminal
      1m 36s
    2. Essential Terminal commands
      9m 58s
    3. Using the manuals
      1m 20s
    4. More useful Terminal commands
      5m 24s
  14. 7m 9s
    1. Changing permissions
      4m 27s
    2. Enabling the root user
      2m 42s
  15. 19m 18s
    1. Automator essentials
      1m 18s
    2. Creating an Automator workflow
      6m 52s
    3. Mailing images easily
      2m 42s
    4. Creating a timed backup system
      3m 10s
    5. Playing songs randomly from iTunes
      2m 27s
    6. Recording automation
      2m 49s
  16. 16m 13s
    1. Using the Calculator
      3m 16s
    2. Using Font Book
      3m 25s
    3. Importing and managing fonts in Font Book
      5m 1s
    4. Syncing your devices with iSync
      4m 31s
  17. 20m 13s
    1. Keeping your computer healthy
      8m 15s
    2. Using Disk Warrior
      3m 41s
    3. Using Onyx
      8m 17s
  18. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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