What Command Do I Use to Find the IP Addresses in Use on My Network?

Written by kristy borowik
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What Command Do I Use to Find the IP Addresses in Use on My Network?
Fend off unwanted IP addresses in use on your network by securing your wireless network with a strong password. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Finding the current IP addresses in use on a network is limited by both hardware and software. Switches are responsible for sorting out all of the data on a network and ensuring that your computer sees only the traffic that is destined for it. Thus, it is more difficult to find out about other computers on the network directly from a workstation. For the most comprehensive list, you must have access to a server.

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Network Logs

Find the network logs (if the computer is set up to keep logs) of a major switch or server on your network. There you will find all IP addresses that have communicated through that switch or server, the date of the contact and what IP address they contacted. If a logged time is close to the current time, it is probable that an intruder is still on your network.

If the logs are not enabled, then you should enable them to track all of the traffic that flows through that point, in order to get an idea of who is accessing your network.

IP Scanning Software

Locating all active (excluding inactive) computers on a network involves using IP scanning software. These programs look at each IP address within a range you supply. If the computer is on, it should respond to a "ping" request by the scanning software. However, this may not work if ping requests are not allowed on the network or if the computer is set up to not respond to a ping request.

Unwanted Visitors

When you find unwanted visitors on your network, disconnect the unwanted computers. However, that does not prevent them from reconnecting. If an unwanted guest is involved in illegal activity, contact the authorities. Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, accessing a computer or computer network without authorisation is illegal. However, your primary goal after finding unwanted visitors, is preventing them from connecting to your network again. You need to secure your network.

Secure Your Network

Secure your network with a strong password. Then block the intruders' MAC addresses to prevent them from connecting to your network again. This is called creating a Black List. The alternative is to create a list of computer MAC addresses within your firewall software that you want to allow on your network (White List). This way, only those people you have expressly allowed can access your network.

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