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Cisco Command Line Interface CLI

December 20th, 2011 Go to comments

In the previous tutorial we learned about the boot sequence of a Cisco router/switch. After that, the router will allow us to type commands but in different modes we can only used specific commands. So in this tutorial we will learn about the Command Line Interface (CLI) and different modes in a Cisco router/switch.

Below lists popular modes in Cisco switch/router:

Router> User mode
Router# Privileged mode
Router(config)# Configuration mode
Router(config-if)# Interface level (within configuration mode)
Router(config-router)# Routing engine level (within configuration mode)
Router(config-line)# Line level (vty, tty, async) within configuration mode

Now let’s discuss each mode in more detail

User mode (Unprivileged mode)
In most case this is the mode you will see on the screen after connecting to it. This mode provides limited access to the router. You are provided with a set of nondestructive commands that allow examination of certain router configuration parameters (mostly to view statistics). You cannot, however, make any changes to the router configuration.

Privileged mode
Also known as the Enabled mode, this mode allows greater examination of the router and provides a more robust command set than the User mode. In Privileged mode, you have access to the configuration commands supplied in the Global Configuration mode, meaning you can edit the configuration for the router.

Configuration mode
Also called the Global Configuration mode, this mode is entered from the Privileged mode and supplies the complete command set for configuring the router. In this mode you can access interface level, routing engine level, line level…

Interface level

In some books, this level is also referred as “interface configuration mode” or “interface mode”. In fact, it is a level inside Configuration mode so you can see the “configuration” part in its prompt (config-if). This level can be accessed by typing a specific interface in Configuration mode. For example:

Router(config)#interface fa0/0

But notice that the prompt doesn’t give you information about which interface is being configured so be careful with this level while you are configuring! This lack of information can make you configure wrong interface easily!

Routing engine level

This is the level where we configure dynamic routing protocols (RIP, OSPF, EIGRP…). You will learn about them later in CCNA.

Line level

In this level we can configure Telnet, Console, AUX port parameters. Also notice that the prompt (config-line) is used for all “lines” on the router so you must be careful about which line you are configuring!

Note: The “line” here can be a physical Console port or a virtual connection like Telnet.

The image below shows how to access each mode and popular levels inside Configuration mode:


Learning about modes is not difficult and you will get familiar with them while configuring routers & switches. Just pay a little attention to them each time you practice and surely you can grasp them easily.

Comments (50) Comments
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  1. Sunny
    December 20th, 2011

    That is great. Million thanks 9tut.

  2. brijessh
    December 22nd, 2011

    it is the way that tell difficult things in simple manner….specially figure boss.

  3. kodeswaran
    December 30th, 2011

    It is really a great website.any one can read easily and gain knowledge more….

    thanks to 9tut members….

  4. aman
    January 26th, 2012

    good explanation..

  5. Thura
    May 13th, 2012

    Cool !!!! Thanks millions…9tut

  6. gowtham
    May 15th, 2012

    Tnx a lot..great job.

  7. anisetti.sureshbabu
    September 5th, 2012

    understood different types of modes in single step.

    Thank you.

    April 25th, 2013

    good guidance for the beginners of CCNA course

  9. ALY
    May 11th, 2013

    Million Thx

  10. okal
    June 18th, 2013

    this Anonymous guy has passed alot of CCNA exams. well hes selling whatever he is advertising here.

    July 25th, 2013


  12. Shantanu
    September 11th, 2013

    You r really genius u make the things uk better thanx a ton dude!

  13. Stephanoia
    March 1st, 2014

    You are the best ! Thanks

  14. Veronica
    March 31st, 2014

    Well explained!!! thank you very much to 9tut.

  15. rakesh
    May 15th, 2014

    ah all the commands u r given is not workng properly check the commands once if u can

  16. hero_mind
    July 21st, 2014

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    but I wish more question
    one thing else
    you can make the answer with white color to not appeared and we can see it by selecting

  17. sunny
    July 26th, 2014

    u pple r doung gr8 job! 9tut

  18. Sandy6933
    August 8th, 2014

    This is an awesome way to understand small things.

    Keep writing :)

  19. Walta
    August 18th, 2014

    Thanks 9tut.

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    October 14th, 2014

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    November 4th, 2014

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    January 6th, 2015


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    January 6th, 2015

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    April 30th, 2015

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  26. black
    June 21st, 2015

    Billion thanks to 9tut

  27. Rahul
    July 1st, 2015

    How simply u describe these all modes. Great thanks 9tut.

  28. 1234
    July 10th, 2015


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    August 21st, 2015

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    October 2nd, 2015

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    November 4th, 2015

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    January 25th, 2016

    I am preparing for CCNA exam next month. Could anyone send me CCNA dumps to {email not allowed}, pls? Thanks in advance

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    February 1st, 2016

    hi everybody

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    February 28th, 2016


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    March 3rd, 2016


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    March 6th, 2016

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    March 6th, 2016

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    March 14th, 2016

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  42. Snowguy
    May 13th, 2016

    We can also add: config-if-range where configuration is done on multiple interface.
    R1(config)#int range fa0/0-8
    R1(config-if-range)# <change will apply to each int. from fa0/0 to fa0/8

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    June 17th, 2016

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    June 22nd, 2016

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    August 3rd, 2016

    This is interesting

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    August 17th, 2016

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  47. Anonymous
    October 7th, 2016

    It’s really very helpful… Thanks.

  48. Anonymous
    December 2nd, 2016

    Very helpful, easy and descriptive. Thumbs up team

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    December 8th, 2016

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