1. Beginner network engineer interview questions
  2. What do you mean by a network?
  3. What is a link?
  4. What do you mean by a node?
  5. What is a router?
  6. Can you define the OSI model?
  7. What is the TCP IP model in networking?
  8. What do you mean by a point to point link?
  9. Can you state the differences between a switch, router, and a hub?
  10. What do you mean by a backbone network?
  11. Define subnet mask
  12. Intermediate Network Engineer Interview Questions
  13. What is a DNS?
  14. Can you define NAT?
  15. Mention the different types of LAN cables used in networking. What do you mean by a cross cable?
  16. What is the use of a proxy server?
  17. What do understand by domain and workgroup?
  18. What is 127.0.0.1?
  19. Can you differentiate between the internet, intranet, and extranet?
  20. What is active directory?
  21. What is FTP and anonymous FTP?
  22. What is the difference between ipconfig and ifconfig commands?
  23. What do you understand by DHCP?
  24. What is Netstat?
  25. What is the importance of APIPA in networking?
  26. What is SMTP?
  27. What do you mean by NIC?
  28. How would you define CSMA/ CD?
  29. What is the use of a VPN?
  30. What is a MAC address?
  31. Can you define OSPF?
  32. What is a tracert command?
  33. Important interview tips

A network engineer is a professional who has the responsibility of handling all the networking devices such as routers, bridges, servers, LANs and WANs.

As no organization can function without these networking devices, a network engineer or an NOC engineer is an important position in any firm.

So, if you are preparing for a network engineer interview, here are some network engineer interview questions that will help you.

These questions are divided into three divisions – beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Beginner network engineer interview questions

The network engineer interview questions for beginners are given below:

What do you mean by a network?

A network can be considered as a set of devices of systems that are connected.

They can communicate and share information. Devices such as computers, laptops, servers, and printers can be connected through networks like LAN (Local Area Network) and WAN (Wide Area Network).

A connection between two or more devices is called a link. A link defines different protocols that help a device to connect with another device within a network.

What do you mean by a node?

A node is a point where two or more devices connect within a network.

A node is where data is received, stored, sent and created within the network.

Nodes can be an endpoint for transmitting data or a redistribution point. Any device connected to another device inside a network is a node itself.

Common examples of nodes are switches, routers, bridges, and servers, which may be connected or other devices through the internet.

What is a router?

A router is a physical device that is used for receiving, storing, analyzing and forwarding data packets to other nodes inside or outside the network.

Routers can connect to devices such as a modem, optic fiber and a cable to connect and share information between devices.

Routers contain firmware and software. Firewalls are installed in routers for securing the network.

Moreover, routers use forwarding tables and headers for determining the best path for transferring the data packets.

Can you define the OSI model?

The OSI (Open System Interconnection) is a reference model that has the necessary protocols and standards for communicating over a network.

The model was made by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1984. It consists of seven layers, where each layer has a different function.

These layers are Physical Layer, Data Link Layer, Network Layer, Transport Layer, Session Layer, Presentation Layer, and Application Layer.

What is the TCP IP model in networking?

The TCP IP (Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol) model is a more precise representation of the OSI model.

The current architecture of the internet is based on the TCP IP model. It was developed by the Department of Defence's Project Research Agency as a part of their project for communication within systems and remote machines.

It has 4 layers that have protocols required for communication between devices of a network. They are as follows:

  • Application Layer (Process layer)
  • Transport Layer (Host-to-Host layer)
  • Internet Layer
  • Link Layer (Network Access)

A point to point link is a connection between two dedicated networking devices.

The complete bandwidth of the link is utilized for the transmission of data between two devices.

There may be multiple connections between devices. Using a PPP link, two different networks can be connected, where one network will work as the endpoint for another.

These days PPP links are created using modems and PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Networks).

An example of a PPP link is a telephone call between two people.

Can you state the differences between a switch, router, and a hub?

A switch is used for forwarding the data packets in a network. It facilitates error checking for the data packets and send error-free packets to the destined ports properly.

A router is a networking device that transfers data packets after analyzing their contents.

The correct destination, correctness and IP address of the data packets are checked by the router.

They make use of a routing table for finding out the best path for transmission.

A hub is a connection point for networking devices. Different segments of a LAN are connected using a LAN. It also has several ports for communication.

If a packet arrives at a hub port, it is copied to the other ports so that it is visible to the other segments of the LAN. But as they are unable to filter data, it sends the data packets to all the connected devices.

What do you mean by a backbone network?

A backbone network is a network that has the connectivity infrastructure that is the main link for the various parts of a network.

It has the capability of supporting networks spread over vast geographical areas.

It can connect different networks within the same area or building, or different buildings within an area.

Typically, a backbone network comprises routers, bridges, gateways, and switches.

Define subnet mask

A subnet mask is a number that specifies the range of IP addresses that are available in a network.

A subnet mask puts a limit on the number of valid IP addresses. This is the 32-bit number that is used for masking the IP address.

Subnet mask divides the IP address into a host address and network address.

Two or more systems within the same subnet can communicate with each other. If a system is connected to a network, its subnet mask can be determined by accessing the Network Control Panel.

Intermediate Network Engineer Interview Questions

The intermediate network engineer/NOC engineer interview questions are given below:

What is a DNS?

DNS stands for domain name system. Websites are accessed by their domain names such as google.com and yahoo.com. But these names are not understood by the computer.

The DNS translates these names into IP addresses so that the browsers can load them for the users.

DNS converts the hostname of the website into an IP address that is readable by the computer.

The converting of hostnames into IP addresses is called forward lookup. Converting or resolving IP addresses into hostnames is called backward lookup.

Can you define NAT?

NAT stands for Network Address Translation. This is for IP networks that are using unregistered IP addresses.

NAT enables them to connect to the internet. In this process, a public address is assigned to a system within a private network.

NAT operates using a router and converts the private addresses into legal addresses.

It is also used for securing networks by limiting the number of IP addresses a company can use within a network.

Mention the different types of LAN cables used in networking. What do you mean by a cross cable?

Some of the common types of LAN cables that are used in networking are CAT 5 and CAT 6. CAT 5 provides 100 Mbps of speed and CAT 6 offers 1 Gbps of speed.

However, the three major types of network cables are coaxial, fiber optic and twisted pair.

A cross cable is also called a crossover cable that is used for connecting two similar devices for communication without the help of a hub or a switch.

What is the use of a proxy server?

Proxy servers are used for securing a network from external users who might want to intrude into the network. It makes a computer system virtually invisible to others.

A proxy server has a list of harmful websites so that the main network is protected.

When it receives a request, it collects the data from the target web server and processes it. The response is then forwarded to the user.

What do understand by domain and workgroup?

Domain is a group of computers in a network, which are connected. The members of a domain consist of users, workstations and database servers.

Devices within the same domain are administered using the same protocols and rules.

When an active directory is installed, a domain is created. Domains can be used for administering computers centrally, which is not possible in a workgroup.

A workgroup is a set of connected computers that share resources. Here, all the computers are peers and they do not have control over one another. All peers must be on the same LAN and subnet.

What is 127.0.0.1?

The IP address 127.0.0.1 is a reserved address that is used for localhost connections.

It is a special IPv4 address that is also called a loopback address. It is not a real IP address but all systems have this address which means “this computer”.

During any connection issues, the server is pinged to check whether it is responding with the help of this address. The address is only used by the computer you are currently working on.

Can you differentiate between the internet, intranet, and extranet?

The internet is a global network that connects thousands of computers. Information can be accessed and shared from any location that has access to the internet.

An intranet is a network that is unique to a firm where data is accessed and shared among the computers within that network only.

An extranet is a network where only specific members are allowed access. These may include vendors, customers, suppliers, and other officials who are associated with a company.

The extranet handles the secure part of the website that is accessed through IDs and passwords.

What is active directory?

An active directory provides ways to handle the relationships and identities within a network. It allows the network administrator to manage domains, objects, and users in a network.

The admin can create a user group and assign special access privileges to them for accessing specific directories on the server.

The 3 main components of the active directory structure are

  • Domain
  • Trees
  • Forests

What is FTP and anonymous FTP?

FTP stands for file transfer protocol. This is used by the TCP/IP model for transferring files from a host system to another host system.

It is used for downloading files from the server to a computer and transferring web pages very efficiently.

Anonymous FTP is a method of providing access to certain public servers. Users who have been granted access to these servers do not need identification, instead, they can just log in as guests.

Advanced network engineer interview questions

Below is a list of Network Engineer Interview Questions that are of advanced level.

What is the difference between ipconfig and ifconfig commands?

The ipconfig command stands for Internet protocol configuration that is used for configuring networking devices on Windows machines.

All the TCP/IP network summary data can be displayed through this command using the command line.

It is also used for refreshing the settings of Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Domain Name System (DNS).

The ifconfig stands for interface configuration. The command is used for configuring and managing the network interface parameters on the TCP/IP network.

The network interface IP addresses can be viewed with the help of this command. The command is used on MAC, LINUX and Unix operating systems.

What do you understand by DHCP?

DHCP stands for Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. This protocol assigns IP addresses and network configuration parameters to devices within a network.

It helps the devices to communicate with each other and reduces the problems caused due to the allocation of IP addresses manually.

DHCP allocates addresses from its pool of IP addresses to network devices.

The protocol initially checks whether the next available address is assigned to a device. If not, it allocates a device to this IP address.

What is Netstat?

Netstat stands for network statistics. It is a network utility of the command line.

This command is used for displaying information about the TCP/IP settings, incoming and outgoing connections, network protocol statistics and routing tables.

The command is used on Windows and Unix operating systems. Netstat is useful for determining the network traffic and problems in the network.

On a Windows system, the command netstat can be entered in the command line. You will see a list of all active network connections.

What is the importance of APIPA in networking?

APIPA stands for Automatic Private IP Addressing. This is an important feature of Windows systems that allow the device to assign an IP address to itself when there is no DHCP.

This IP address has a range of 169.254.0.1 through 169.254.255.254. Any client system can use this APIPA address until the DHCP server is available.

This facility is commonly used for small organizations having about 25 clients.

What is SMTP?

SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. This protocol is used for delivering emails over a network from one system to another.

It is a part of the TCP/IP application layer protocol that uses a method called “store and forward”.

This is used for sending emails across the networks with the help of a Mail Transfer Agent.

SMPTP can send messages to one or more clients within or outside the network. These messages can include text, voice, images or graphics.

What do you mean by NIC?

NIC stands for Network Interface Card, also called an Ethernet card or a network adapter.

This is a hardware component that is essential for connecting the computer to a network.

NIC is a card that is installed in a system for connecting to the internet. This is important for wireless, wired and LAN communication.

It has a unique MAC address that will help in identifying the computer within a network.

How would you define CSMA/ CD?

CSMA/ CD stands for Carrier-sense multiple access Collision Detection. This protocol defines the way two devices interact when a data collision occurs.

The protocol has rules of how long the devices in a network must wait when a collision happens.

It analyses if the communication channel is busy or not, and controls the transmission accordingly.

If it detects a collision, the transmission of the station is stopped. It then sends a jam signal and waits for some time before transmitting again.

What is the use of a VPN?

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network that can be considered as a private Wide Area Network.

This network protects anonymity while surfing the internet and accessing certain websites that might be potentially dangerous.

It is used in corporate environments where a computer may be connected to a remote server.

Traffic on a VPN is sent by creating an encrypted connection over the internet called a tunnel. This provides unauthorized access and eavesdropping over the network.

What is a MAC address?

A MAC (Media Access Control) address is used for uniquely identifying a device on a network.

Also called the physical address or ethernet address, MAC addresses are 48-bit numbers that are present in the NIC of the devices.

This is an address given by the manufacturer of the device. The MAC sub-layer of the data link layer makes use of the MAC addresses.

They are 12-digit hexadecimal numbers, where the first 6 digits identify the manufacturer.

Can you define OSPF?

OSPF stands for Open Shortest Path First. This is a link-state routing protocol that is used for identifying the best path for transferring data packets.

This protocol is useful as it makes use of the network bandwidth efficiently.

What is a tracert command?

The tracert command is used for displaying information about the path taken by a data packet to reach the destination network from the router.

The total number of hops taken by the packet during the transmission is also displayed.

Important interview tips

Research about the company

Do your homework in advance. Research about the objective, scope, and status of the organization.

Connect with people working with the organization to get detailed insights. You can also visit Ambitionbox.com to read what the employees have to say about the organization.

Reach on time

Reaching on time for your interview leaves a good first impression and displays work ethics and discipline. You can also use this time to make yourself comfortable with the environment.

Ask the right question

Ask relevant and important questions when you get a chance. List down 3-5 relevant questions that will give you more clarity.

Do not ask questions about salary, leave policy, etc. Focus on knowing more about the job profile and your scope if you get hired.

Related: Questions to ask in an interview

Brush-up your basics

Before going for the interview, make sure that you brush up your basics about the field and are well-versed with the basic terms.

Read up about the new technologies that may affect the network engineering scenario to answer better.

Focus on staying organized

Dress appropriately and wear something that is formal yet makes you comfortable. Avoid wearing anything that may make you look unkempt.

Carry all your documents in a binder or file to keep documents organized and easy to find when asked for.

Suggested readings:

Basic Interview Questions and Answers
Interview Preparation Tips

All the Best!!

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