Ultimate Tool List for Network Technicians

“Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.”
– Someone that needed something and didn’t have it.

This is a list of items that you may find in a tech’s backpack or tool bag. Depending on what you work on, you may not need more than half the items!

Core Items

These items are the critical main items that may be a standard part of your kit.

  • Backpack
    • Recommended: GORUCK GR1 – Pick your size: 21L or 26L (I use 21L). Put your contact info on it! Get pouches to keep it organized.
    • Fluke has one that looks neat.
  • Laptop – A tablet with dongles will get annoying real quick, also avoid laptops with ethernet ports that “fold out.”
    • Recommended: Lenovo T Series – Get a bigger battery (if available) and a dock for your desk!!
    • Panasonic Toughbook – Doubles as a weapon. Be sure you can fit this in your bag.
    • Dell Latitude Rugged – Actually has a serial port. Like the Toughbook, it can double as weapon and may not fit in your bag.
  • Network Testing Kit – I recommend a large kit with wiremappers and a case.
  • Tone Generator and ProbeGet a nice one! – Even if your tester kit has one.
  • Camera Get a decent one with accessories! – This camera is dedicated to taking pictures of your installations/closets/racks/facilities! Be sure to have an approval letter from your organization!!
  • USB-Serial AdapterTripp-Lite Keyspan – The really cheap ones tend to fail at the worst times.
  • Fiber Optic LocatorGet one with a pouch! – Higher the mW the better! Get THIS also.
  • Inventory – Always keep an inventory listing in your kit to ensure items don’t “grow legs.” Keep it laminated.

Cables and Connectors

These are non-consumables – meaning you won’t deploy/install these at a customer site.

Tools

Media/Boot Applications

Applications

  • SecureCRTNot Free. Tabs, scripting, and built-in TFTP server. A truly wise investment. Can optionally be packaged with SecureFX.
    • Do NOT use PuTTY. Why? Because I said so. Don’t be a plebeian.
  • VS Code – For a pleasurable code editing experience. Stop using Windows built-in Notepad.
  • GNS3 – Study or test network configurations before implementing them. EVE-NG is another option, but GNS3 is more user-friendly, 100% free, open source, and the community support is huge.
  • iPerf – Measure bandwidth.
  • Cygwin – Linux tools on Windows.
  • mturoute – Measure MTU at each hop… omg so kewl!
  • Nmap and Zenmap – Discover and audit your network…
  • Wireshark – Sniff it out.
  • TCPView – A fancy “netstat” – Check port use and see what the heck is going on.
  • 7zip – Zip it up.
  • f.lux – Take some strain off your eyes.
  • WinSCP – FTP/SFTP/WebDAV/SCP client… Also see SecureFX.
  • Solarwinds SFTP/SCP Server – Free and secure file transfer from a respectable source.
  • Tftpd32 – DHCP/TFTP/DNS/SNTP/Syslog server.
  • HFS – HTTP File Server – Instant HTTP File server…
  • SFK- Swiss File Knife – Portable small file with HTTP and FTP servers, zip functions, and MANY other features…
  • Angry IP Scanner – Scan IPs like a madman. It may trigger some anti-virus programs and security systems.
  • Visio – Be careful to not let this application consume your life. – Get schooled.Get stencils and templates.
  • VLC – Plays everything…
  • WiFi Analysis – WiFi Analyzer (Free) OR Last free verison of inSSIDer
  • PicPick – Portable app with image tools to capture screenshots, pick colors, measure pixels, and more.
  • Recuva – Recover files. There’s a free version that works well!
  • PortableApps– 400+ portable applications that can be mass-updated with ease.
  • Finally, LaunchPad of course.  😉

Consumables

These are items you may need to restock that may be deployed/installed locally or at a customer site. Some links here are Amazon for reference/research, but definitely check out Monoprice.com

 Other Items

Optional

Telecom

  • (Telecom) Butt Set – At least get one of the small $15 ones. – They work well!
  • (Telecom) Wire Wrap Tool – 22-24 gauge – Jonard is best, but cheaper ones are ok!
  • (Telecom) Can Wrench Tool

Wireless

Survival

Additional Items (Keep on-hand in case they are needed)

Shop Items

Forbidden Items

(CAUTION: DO NOT USE) EtherKiller – Make one. – For legacy equipment that needs to be put to rest, a.k.a. “upgraded upon failure”.

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