Cisco Noob Guide

Especially on old-school devices, you might find no one logged  any of the network topology and config details.  If you are lucky (depends on your outlook) there is no password for the console connection.  To connect over console, you will need an ethernet cable that plugs into a serial port on your config machine.  If you do have a password on console port, hopefully it’s something from your list of other device passwords.  Probably a Level-15 account.

We will be in the CLI, so all those nice GUI configs you are used to with newer devices, are not at your disposal.  So we have this guide for logging in, going into enable mode, then showing certain configurations.  This can help you map a network out, especially if you inherited it and want to document and know how it really functions.

Starting out: (Run a cable from the console port on said switch, to your machine Serial port.)

  • Use PUTTY or a similar application to connect to COM1
  • Press Enter 2x.  You should then see Console of some sort
  • Login when prompted for a password (or if none)
  • type ‘en‘ without the quotes.  This will take you to config / enable mode.
  • show ? will give you a list of available commands.
  • Start with show version to get an idea what platform and version of iOS (or PiX) you are dealing with.
  • show running-config will show you the currently running device configuration.  Feel free to archive this into a flat file for reference later.
  • show vlan is huge if you need to know the VLANs defined on the network.
    Note: Your core switch will have them defined, then other devices can reference those VLANs and route accordingly.  IF you do not have a VLAN defined somewhere, it will be useless to use as a target.

 
 

That’s my primer on dorking your way though some older cisco devices.  Granted these methods will work or be very similar in current, CLI based cisco sessions.  Happy explorations.