In this continuation of getting familiar with the CLI (Command Line Interface) of your Cisco or Stratix switch, we will go beyond getting connected and look at basic setup features that will need to be utilized in setting up your switch for any environment whether it would be IT or OT. We will just jump right in and get started.

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Setting the name of the switch:

  • Switch(config)#hostname HMINET1

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Setting the switch clock:

  • HMINET1#show clock (to see the clock time)

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  • Before setting the clock, you will want to set up the time zone for your area

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  • Set the clock with the “#clock set” command
  • Then #show clock to see that the clock is updated

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Saving Configuration:

  • Any time you are making changes to a switch, you are modifying the “Running Configuration”. If the switch is rebooted, then the “Startup Configuration” will be loaded.
  • Any changes made to the running configuration must be made to the startup configuration or they will be lost at the next reboot of the switch
  • To Save the configuration, use the “#copy running-config startup-config” command, then hit the ENTER key twice

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To reboot a switch:

  • To reboot a switch, you use the “#reload” command
  • Most switches do not have a power switch. You must either cycle the power with the power chord or use this command to reboot them.

 Setting the Password:

  • First, I recommend turning on password encryption
  • Then, I recommend using MD5 hash by using the “secret” password command
  • Make passwords unique and don’t give them out to anyone. Something like pwtest is obviously only for training purposes and would never be used in any kind of secure network.

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  • Here we type the “#show running-config” command to see our results in the running configuration. It shows us in the first line that the service for password encryption is turned on and the enable secret password is encrypted with MD5 hash and it hides the password as encrypted below.

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Other useful information about your switch:

  • Use the “#show version” command to see useful information about your switch and its operating system. This command will give you information including operating system, serial numbers for your system and so much more. At the end of the information, you will see the software version which is essentially the version of the IOS that you are running on your particular switch.

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Conclusion

The Cisco CLI is an important skill to have. I equate it with learning how to program a DCS, PLC or Historian System.

It is the foundation for the communication bridge between devices. It must allow needed communication and block unwanted communication and incorrect settings can make your network vulnerable to downtime.

Written by Brandon Cooper
Senior Controls Engineer and Freelance Writer

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