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Tech interview question, could not answer, re: host unreachable

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#1 bl33p!n eddacker

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 10:38 PM

So, I am interviewing for a tech job with a medium sized business. And the admin asks me: you see a "destination host is unreachable" error. What is the problem?

I started to answer and more details were reveled.

NIC? The specific computer [box1] can see the other office computers on the network.

So I replied DNS? DNS is fine other computers can get out.

Configuration?There were no changes to the configuration of box1 and the gateway router is working fine.

I never suggested cable cause that would be too obscure. Or about pinging (both ways) as his posture said: "you should know this."


What answer was this interviewer looking for?


Being driven crazy is not a long drive.


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#2 Orange Blossom

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 11:07 PM

Perhaps this article may answer your question:



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#3 Kilroy


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Posted 24 May 2018 - 03:20 PM

No idea what the interviewer was looking for, probably a glimpse into how you would troubleshoot an issue.


The first question to ask in any trouble shooting situation, "Has it ever worked?"  The time that one question will save you cannot be measured and it gives you a baseline to start with.  If it has never worked the possibilities are massive, including it will not work.


Next, in this case, can anyone else get to the computer?


This will establish the scope of the issue, just the machine you're working on, or more.  Normally if everyone is having the issue the target machine, or the network path, is the problem.  If not, it is this one machine.


If is the one machine I'd check what the current IP address is, 169.254.x.x and you're looking at a DCHP or network issue.  If you have an actual network address you can try to ping the machine by name to see if it resolves to an IP address or can't be reached.


Then again, this is really only really matters if the person asking the question has a fixed problem and doesn't keep moving the problem as you troubleshoot (yes, I've had these people interview me).

#4 29A


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Posted 01 June 2018 - 12:08 AM

The error means that there is no path from the host machine to the destination.


Next action is to see if the destination is available from another machine.


If another machine is unavailable, then attempting to reach another machine across network.


This scopes the problem.

#5 Sneakycyber


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Posted 05 June 2018 - 02:10 PM

They also could have been trying to see if you know the OSI model and the layered approach to networking problems. Always start with Layer 1 (is it plugged in).

Chad Mockensturm 
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