I know, I know; the phrase "network conversation" is imprecise almost to the point of meaninglessness. Let's take this specific scenario: I plug in a computer to a DHCP enabled router, open a browser and type in "www.google.com".

Now, actions that need to happen are:

  • DHCP configuration
  • DNS lookup
  • Establish connection with www.google.com
  • Get the content of the webpage

After that comes displaying it, of course, but that's not "over the wire." I'm just interested in all the actions whereby data actually travels across the wire to and from my computer.

I am midway through a fairly detailed video course in TCP/IP protocols, and I feel it would really help me get a better handle on it to know the command line tools I can use to manually do each of the above steps (and all other steps I have left out; I know there are many more).

The only tools I know that are relevant are dig and nc, and I'm sure there are more—and I'm also fairly sure I don't know the full range of use of either of those tools.


Tcpdump will show you every single packet visible on your computer's Ethernet segment. You can institute filters if, for instance, you didn't want to see all the "who are you?" kind of traffic. The following website has relevant documentation: https://danielmiessler.com/study/tcpdump/

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