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Network Engineer Interview Questions

Here is a list of the most commonly asked network engineer interview questions for your help. These are the top ones that you will definitely come across in the interview. With each question, there is a best suitable answer. General tips on how to prepare for the networking interview will also be useful.

Network engineers are personnel in the field of networking who deal with installation, maintenance, and provision of support to the computer communication networks in the company or organization or even between organizations. Their principal responsibility is to confirm the proper working of communication network in order to offer the best performance as well as availability to the users i.e. customers, staff, suppliers, and other clients. Top questions and tips for answering them are given below:

Question 1: What exactly is a PING? Why to use it?

PING stands for Packet InterNet Gopher and it is used for checking the connectivity of any network, a host, or a device of any network. It is a IP/ TCP utility used for checking the reachability destination. This is achieved through an ICMP echo request which is known as 'PING' and then waiting for a reply which is called as 'PONG'. Generally, to ping a website is referred to use the utility that tells you whether your site is up or not; in simple words, whether it is connected with the Internet. A simple and brief answer can be 'a PING command checks the connectivity of the network'.

Question 2: Explain the distinction between router, switch, bridge, and hub.

All these are network devices; however, there are some general differences between then:

  • Router - It can work on any layer such as physical, data, or network layer. It is a layer 3 network device
  • Switch - It is a layer 2 network device and is able to work on the data link layer
  • Bridge - It is also a layer 2 network device and works on the data link layer
  • Hub - It works on a physical layer. It is a layer 1 network device and is a multi-port repeater

Question 3: How would you elaborate more on difference between a router and a switch?

Here you need to concentrate on the major differences between the two. Broadcast domain and collision domain are divided by the router. On the other hand, a switch has the capability to divide only the collision domain. One more major difference is that a router has the ability to communicate among two different networks and in case of a switch, different networks cannot be communicated.

Question 4: Explain what is an OSI model.

An OSI model is an open system interconnection reference model. This is an abstract type of model that is used in layered communication as well as in computer network protocol design. Since there are seven layers in this model, it is also referred to as a 7 layer model, OIS layered model or technology, OSI seven layered model, and OSI reference model.

Question 5: How many layers are there in an OSI model? Name them.

There are the seven layers in an OSI model - physical, data link, network, transport, session, presentation, and application. If you are not able to memorize the names of these layers, then follow a trick. You just need to memorize their names through a simple sentence - 'Please Don't Touch Steven's Pet Alligator'. See the initials of the words and you would be able to recall the layers' names.

Question 6: At which layer of the OSI model does hub operate? Would you prefer using hub for large networks?

Hub operates only at the physical layer of an OSI model. Keep this answer shorter and focus more on the second question about using hub for larger networks. Hub should not be the preferred choice in case of huge networks, since Hub is not able to divide the broadcast or collision domain. Therefore, if a Hub is used in large broadcast networks, it has to face problems frequently. A Hub is not ideal for supporting large networks.

Question 7: What are TCP and UDP?

TCP is transmission control protocol of the Internet protocol suite. It provides reliable delivery of the octets from one program on a computer to some another program on another computer. It is a connection oriented protocol that allows point to point communication. This protocol is used by most of the Internet applications i.e. email, file transfer, remote administration, and World Wide Web.

UDP is the user datagram protocol which is one of the important Internet protocol suite members. Unlike TCP, this is a connection less protocol and is unreliable due to less traffic conditions. UDP is used to send messages, that are called datagrams here, to another host on an IP network. This requires no prior communication for any special transmission channels.

Question 8: List the advantages and disadvantages of using a router.

Using a router has many advantages such as it allows to connect different media and architectures, as well as to communicate different networks, it can filter the broadcasts and limit the broadcast and collision domains, it works on both LAN and WAN, and the most important advantage is that it can impart the best route for data up to the destination. On the other hand, there are certain disadvantages too. Router is relatively more expensive than switch, bridge, or hub. Updates regarding router tend to consume some extra bandwidth, it works only with routable protocols, and it works slower as compared to switch.

Question 9: Tell me what is functionality or ARP.

ARP is address resolution protocol. It is a network protocol that is used to resolve network layer addresses into link layer addresses. ARP is used in a number of network combinations as well as in overlaying of network technologies.

Question 10: What is POP3 and why do u need it?

POP3 is the post office protocol 3 which is used to explain the interaction between the email clients and mail servers. POP3 is a mail server used only for incoming mail. This protocol is the latest version of the standard post office protocol to receive mails. It is especially designed to delete email on the server once the user has finished downloading it.

Above listed questions are probably the most common questions asked in networking interviews, especially in a network engineer's interview. Just go through these points before you prepare for the interview:

  • Do enough of home work that includes everything from basics so as to refresh your knowledge
  • Review your resume and correlate all your skills to be presented during the interview to those mentioned in your resume
  • Keep all the technical protocols memorized
  • Review the job title and job responsibilities once again so as to focus on those aspects that are specific to your position

If you have the essential qualifications with enough experience in networking and now have received an interview call for the post of a network engineer, then these guidelines containing the most commonly asked network engineer interview questions and the best answers to them will definitely help you prepare for the interview and crack it successfully.

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