In your office is an interconnected network of computers that are all be linked to the same server, Internet connection, or even the same printer. The convenience of a shared network is unmatched, yet network issues can take down multiple computers at the same time. It’s for that reason that your Dallas company must have a troubleshooting plan in place. How do you troubleshoot a network?
Here’s how to troubleshoot your network issues:
- Double-check connectivity settings
- Do a hardware check
- Type ipconfig to see your router’s IP status
- Ping another network
- Do an nslookup to check the DNS server
- Run through your data logs
- Review your antivirus
- Contact your IT team
Time is of the essence when your network goes down, as the longer your team can’t use their computers, the more work that will pile up. In this detailed guide, we’ll run you through the above steps so you can get to the bottom of your network and restore its functionality.
Follow These 8 Steps for Troubleshooting Your Network
Double-Check Connectivity Settings
Sometimes the easiest solution is the right one, so don’t be afraid to start with what’s obvious and then work your way out from there. If your main network device isn’t connected to the Internet, then the interconnected computers likely won’t be able to get online either.
Access your Wi-Fi settings and confirm that your Wi-Fi is on. Sometimes you can accidentally click off the Wi-Fi without realizing it or a computer upgrade can temporarily disable the Internet. Once your Internet is on, try going online using the main network computer. If that works, then do the same with the interconnected computers.
If everything is working now, then congrats, that was an extremely easy fix.
Do a Hardware Check
In a few cases, the above method might work, but more than likely, fixing your network issue isn’t going to be that easy. The next thing you want to do is rule out hardware problems as the reason why your network is inoperable.
Start with your local area network or LAN and wide area network or WAN connections, both of which are Ethernet. It could be that someone accidentally tripped over the Ethernet cables when leaving the office the other day, knocking the cord out or even pulling it out slightly but not completely.
If all the Ethernet cables are plugged in securely, then unplug them for a few minutes to reset them. When you plug them back in, hopefully, your network will be up and running. If it isn’t, then you should consider buying new Ethernet cables and seeing if that helps.
Type ipconfig to See Your Router’s IP Status
Okay, so you’re sure it’s not a hardware issue. There is still a lot of network troubleshooting you can do, so don’t give up yet. Next, go to the main network computer and open up command prompts. Then type ipconfig exactly like that.
This command will show you every Internet Protocol or IP and Transmission Control Protocol or TCP network configuration value on your network. Typing in ipconfig can also reset two important settings, the Domain Name System or DNS and the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol or DHCP.
DNS takes the domain names of the websites you visited and remembers their IP addresses. Then your browser uses the IP addresses to pull resources. Some people liken DNS to a phonebook, which could be a handy way for you to remember it too.
DHCP gives your network an IP address so you can then use DNS and other network protocols like it.
You’ll be able to see your network’s IP address by typing in the ipconfig command. If the first three digits are anything but 169, then it’s not an IP issue. An IP with 169 as the first three digits means the IP address is invalid.
To reset your network’s IP, all you have to do is type ipconfig/release, then ipconfig/new. With your network’s new IP, you should be able to connect to the Internet without difficulty, thus ending your issues.
Ping Another Network
What if your IP address is valid, your router is working, but your network is still down? It’s time to go back to the command prompts and attempt to ping another DNS server. To connect to Google’s server, input ping.18.104.22.168 -t. The -t tells the command to continually attempt to ping. If you don’t type that in, then your network will ping Google once.
The ping command can be replaced with the word tracert if you want more detailed information on what’s going on with your network. Tracert will tell you where the issue occurs between each ping, whether it’s early on in the ping attempt or later.
The former indicates that your network is to blame, which brings you one step closer to understanding what’s going on.
Do an nslookup to Check the DNS Server
You can also confirm whether it’s yours or the other server that the error is originating from with an nslookup command prompt. This prompt runs a DNS check that can display such results as no response, refused, server failure, or server timed out. If you see any of these responses after the ping, then the destination server is at fault, not your network.
Then do an nslookup on your network. If the above responses did not occur when you ran a DNS check on the destination server but you get those errors on your own network, then it might be time to run some further diagnostic tests on your network to pinpoint why you can’t connect to another server.
If the connectivity issue is on the destination server’s part, you can get in touch with your Internet service provider to determine whether there’s a widespread outage. Your ISP might tell you that others have already reported a similar problem. If so, then the ISP will be actively working on a solution.
At this point, you have nothing further to do except to wait for the ISP to restore service to your network. Unfortunately, you’re going to lose hours of work, perhaps even the entire day, but you can’t do much about that right now. If these outages are common enough, you might rethink continuing to use that ISP.
Run Through Your Data Logs
Your ISP can just as easily tell you that they’re not having any outage and that your report is an anomaly. That means you’re back to troubleshooting your network issues. At this stage, we’d recommend combing through your data logs to see what, if anything, they can tell you.
Database issues can fly under the radar, especially if you’re sure that some other issue must be the cause of your network dysconnectivity.
Review Your Antivirus
Antiviruses are great. They flag your main network device or the interconnected computers when you’re about to visit a potentially dangerous website. Your antivirus will also block suspicious attachments before you download them and provide detailed reports on the safety of your computer.
Yet sometimes antiviruses can get a little too overzealous, turning off parts of your network or instigating a firewall. That’s why it doesn’t hurt to look at your antivirus and ensure that it’s not preventing your network from running in full. If you have separate malware software, then do the same with that as well.
Contact Your IT Team
You’ve gone through every step above and your network still won’t connect. Call our IT services in Dallas TX and let us review the issue. They’ll likely have to come onsite to your office to check both the network hardware and software.
Perhaps the issue will be something that you missed–which can easily happen if you’re not trained in network troubleshooting–or maybe you had a rather complex issue that your IT team had to sort through for a while.
Make sure that you get a report on the diagnostics of what the issue was and what was done to solve it. Ask your IT pros what you can do in the future to keep your network up and running so you don’t have these kinds of outages too often.
Network issues keep your Dallas company from crossing tasks off the to-do list, as all computers in the network will be unusable. One or two of the above troubleshooting tips might be all it takes to solve your issue. If not, then you might have to go through our entire list to pinpoint the problem.
Should nothing work, these troubleshooting steps will put you closer to the ballpark of what the issue might be so your IT team can get your network operable once more.