July 2, 2019
A business’s network is a necessary tool, connecting their scope of systems together, allowing for levels of cooperation and communication never seen before the digital age. However, as any professional IT engineer will tell you, they can sometimes be on the fussy side.
Networks can go down for any number of reasons, but there is also a wide range of ways to help find the problem and bring things back online. Here, we’re going to look at 7 network troubleshooting steps and tools any pro can help you with.
“Turn it on and off again” might be a tired cliché about IT support, but the truth is that this can solve a host of temporary network connectivity issues, so it should be your first response to problems that aren’t going away on their own. Rebooting any devices having connection issues is a response, but you should do the same for any modems and routers. Unplug your modem and router and leave it for 60 seconds. Then plug your modem back in, wait for it to be boot up, and connect your router to it.
If other devices are able to effectively connect to the network but your system still isn’t, it’s a sign that this is where the problem lies.
To make use of some of the troubleshooting tools that we’re going to mention below, you’re going to need to know the specific IP addresses of the different hosts that you’re relying on to connect. You may already know this but, if you don’t, simply entering “ipconfig” into your Command Prompt and pressing enter should return all the information that you need to know. This is also important for businesses using dynamic addressing methods that can change the IP on a regular basis.
With ipconfig, if you cannot get a response from your router or it lists your default gateway as 0.0.0.0, then it means the issue is likely with a router. In this case, restarting the router may help but, if not, you may need to get in touch with your ISP.
Follow the wired setups of any routers, modems, or systems that are physically connected by cables. Disconnect and reconnect everything on your way. Look at where the connection comes into your property as well, which can often be located on the outside of the property. Main cables can be damaged by wildlife or knocked loose by the weather on a regular basis. If it’s damaged, you may need a replacement.
You may also have a cable splitter, and you should check that every connection is tight and that it’s in good condition, including that it’s not rusty or overly dirty. If it is, you may need to replace it.
Ping is a very widely used network tool. To put it simply, it offers a simple connectivity test between your system and a destination host using the Internet Control Message Protocol. Pinging is effectively sending off a test packet to a destination host while listening out for a response to show that the host is reachable.
As such, a ping can help you identify where your network is having trouble. The ping might reach your router just fine, but have trouble reaching the internet provider, showing that this is where the issue lies. You can reach your ping utility from the Command Prompt. Simply type in ping and your IP address and press enter.
Take a closer look at the modem to see if the power LED is lit. If not, then it’s not plugged in. There will also be Link or Online LEDs, as well as some other activity LEDs. If these aren’t on or are orange or red, you may need to try restarting and reconnecting your modem after it has been powered down for 60 seconds.
Similarly, your router should have a power LED, as well as the internet or WAN LED, which should either be green or flashing. If they aren’t, then you can look to the back, where your Ethernet port lights should be flashing to show a connection. If they are not, then turn the router off, disconnect the cables, correctly seat them back in, and wait a few minutes before booting the router back up.
All routers are able to switch between 14 channels, also known as frequencies. Channel interference is a common problem that may be affecting your ability to get online. Many of the different channels overlap, but 1, 6, and 11 on most routers will not. You should be able to access your manufacturer’s router management console by typing the IP address of your router into the address bar.
Here, you will have access to a host of features, including which channel you are connected to. It may be set to Auto, but you should try switching it between 1, 6, and 11 to see if that helps.
Also known as traceroot, this function is designed to better display information that’s specific to the destination host that you’re trying to connect to, as well as the path which information packets take, and response times. This is known as the tracert function on Windows and traceroot on Linux systems, but the function is fundamentally the same.
Open your Command Prompt and enter a destination IP address. It should be able to help you see the response times of all the different routers, bridges, and other components that connect a large network to the internet. This way you can further highlight the specific areas where your issues might be cropping up.
If you’ve tried the network troubleshooting steps above and you’re still having trouble getting everything online or you simply don’t have the know-how or confidence to implement them, Field Engineer can help. Bring a technician into your business who can ensure you have someone who knows what to do, from troubleshooting network issues to implementing solutions that prevent downtime.