Telnet is an acronym formed from Terminal EmuLation for NETworks. It was originally developed to open terminal sessions from remote UNIX workstations to UNIX servers. Although still used for that purpose, it has evolved into a troubleshooting tool.
The Telnet Utility
In today’s Windows environments, Telnet is a basic command-line tool for testing TCP connections. You can Telnet to any TCP port to see if it is responding, which is especially useful when checking SMTP and HTTP (Web) ports. Each upperlayer service in a TCP stack has a number for its address. Each network service that uses a particular address will respond to a TCP request on this port (if the defaults are used).
To find out if a TCP service is responding, follow these steps:
For example, to find out if the Sybex web server is responding to TCP port 80 (its default port), enter the IP address or DNS host name of the server (www.sybex.com, in this case) followed by the TCP port number (80, in this case).
If you successfully connect to the web server, you won’t be notified that this is the case. If the web server doesn’t respond, you’ll receive a Connect Failed message.
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