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Networking – Learning about TCP/IP

October 22nd, 2010 No comments

So today I was asked a question about TCP/IP. Specifically, about how a TCP connection is established. Networking is something I definitely do not spend enough time on (and have I have never really gone into the nitty gritty as to how it works either). I understand all the basics and what I need to get around for my job, as well as some more advanced or bespoke bits that I have learnt / done on the fly as and when required, but think that I do need to learn more about how the underlying technology works.

As a start to this, I am writing this quick post to answer this question. (See first line of this post). I did know that some kind of handshake needed to be done to establish the initial connection (that part is obvious), but the specific answer is quoted below (source: Wikipedia).

Question: How is a TCP connection first established?

Connection establishment
To establish a connection, TCP uses a three-way handshake. Before a client attempts to connect with a server, the server must first bind to a port to open it up for connections: this is called a passive open. Once the passive open is established, a client may initiate an active open. To establish a connection, the three-way (or 3-step) handshake occurs:
The active open is performed by the client sending a SYN to the server. It sets the segment’s sequence number to a random value A.
In response, the server replies with a SYN-ACK. The acknowledgment number is set to one more than the received sequence number (A + 1), and the sequence number that the server chooses for the packet is another random number, B.
Finally, the client sends an ACK back to the server. The sequence number is set to the received acknowledgement value i.e. A + 1, and the acknowledgement number is set to one more than the received sequence number i.e. B + 1.
At this point, both the client and server have received an acknowledgment of the connection.

I have got a Cisco for beginners book sitting on the bookshelf here, so I think as soon as my current personal projects and VCP training are finished, I’ll get back to reading that! I also hope to post more on Networking in the future as I come to terms with the fundamentals.

Modify your NIC MTU size setting in Windows Registry

August 12th, 2010 No comments

A quick and easy blog post today on how to modify your NIC MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) size setting in the Windows Registry.

By default your MTU won’t be defined in registry. Microsoft state that (Link):

The MTU is usually determined by negotiating with the lower-level driver. However, this value may be overridden.

To change your MTU setting in Windows Server 2003 or 2008 use the following steps:

  • Open regedit as an administrator account on the server in question.
  • Navigate to HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\services\Tcpip\Parameters\Interfaces\[Choose the interface in question] (Do this by checking the correct IP address is in the settings under this key for the adapter you are configuring)
  • Once you are in the correct key for your interface, right-click and select new DWORD value (32 bit).
  • Call it MTU
  • Give this a decimal value equal to the setting you would like your MTU to be (measured in bytes).

For more information about Maximum Transmission Unit sizes, have a look at the official Wikipedia article.

Here is a screenshot of an MTU setting I made on this server using 1400 bytes as an example. This would obviously be tuned to whatever amount you are wanting to use for your NIC and specific application settings.

How to restart a slave FortiGate firewall in an HA cluster

December 10th, 2009 10 comments

Here’s a quick how-to on restarting a specific member of a High Availability FortiGate hardware firewall cluster. I have only tested this on a cluster of FG60 units, but am quite sure the steps would be similar for a cluster of FG100s, FG310s etc…

get-ha-status

First of all you may or may not want to set up some monitoring going to your various WAN connections on the HA cluster. Restarting the slave unit should not have any effect on these connections in theory as your master unit is the one handling all the work. The slave is merely there to take over should things go pear shaped on the master unit. When the slave restarts you can watch your ping statistics or other connections just to ensure everything stays up whilst it reboots.

1. Start by logging in to the web interface of your firewall cluster. https://ipaddress

2. Specify a custom port number if you have the management GUI on a custom port for example https://ipaddress:555

3. Login and look for “HA status” under the status area – this should be the default page that loads. It should show as “Active-passive” if this is the mode your HA cluster is in. Click the [Configure] link next to this.

4. This will give you an overview of your HA cluster – you can view which unit is the Master and which is the slave. This step is optional and just gives you a nice overview of how things are looking at the moment. Click “View HA statistics” near the top right if you would like to view each unit’s CPU/Memory usage and other statistics.

5. Return to the “Status” home page of your firewall GUI. Click in the “CLI Console” black window area to get to your console. (Optionally, you could also just SSH in if you have this enabled).

6. Type the following command to bring up your HA cluster details: get system ha status

7. This will show which firewall is master and slave in the cluster e.g.

Master:129 FG60-1 FWF60Bxxxxxxxx65 1
Slave :125 FG60-2 FWF60Bxxxxxxxx06 0

Look for the number right at the end and note this down. In the above example the Slave unit has the number “0” . Note this down.

8. Next enter the following command: execute ha manage x

Where “x” is the number noted down in step number 7.

This will change your management console to this particular firewall unit. i.e. the slave unit in our case. You should notice your command line change to reflect the name of the newly selected HA member.

9. Enter the following command to reboot the slave: execute reboot

10. Press “Y” to confirm and reboot the slave.

Monitor your ping / connection statistics to ensure everything looks fine. Give it a minute or so to boot up again, then return to your HA statistics page to ensure everything looks good.

That is all there is to it.