Practical, Time-Saving Tips for Troubleshooting Network Errors
Learn how to troubleshoot network errors. Find out about network troubleshooting techniques that identify problems, save time, and safeguard resources.
When your enterprise network involves multiple types of software, several hosts, dozens of routers, different switches, and servers, and potentially even multiple branches in different locations, troubleshooting can be challenging. To safeguard time and resources, you need an organized approach to diagnosing and fixing errors. Take a look at these tips.
1. Identify the Problem
To troubleshoot a network issue, you need to identify the problem. Usually, this step is straightforward. For example, if someone cannot connect to a file server, that is the problem. But once alerted to the issue, you should take steps to understand its scope.
When did the issue start? Are other people having the same problem? Is the issue isolated and confined to a single host, or is it happening throughout the network? By asking these types of questions, you can effectively identify the scope of the network error.
2. Use Ping and Trace to Gather Information
Ping commands and traceroutes are both relatively easy, straightforward ways to gather even more information on network problems.
You can use ping commands to check network card functions, to ensure the TCP/IP is working on the host, to find improperly configured ACLs, to identify issues with the firewall, or to see if the issue is up or downstream from the host machine.
Similarly, traceroutes provide information on the route when you dispatch a packet to the target destination, helping you to narrow in on the location of the problem.
3. Analyze Data to Develop a Solution
Whether you use ping commands, traceroutes, or other methods to assess the problem, you should use the data you find to develop a methodology to troubleshoot the network error. As you troubleshoot issues, track your methods.
Then, when known issues present themselves again, you can immediately rely on the established method, saving time and helping you to diagnose and troubleshoot issues more quickly in the future.
4. Decide on a Top or Bottom Down Approach
You can troubleshoot network problems from the top or the bottom of your open system interconnection (OPI). Starting in the optimal layer helps you save time and avoid needlessly troubleshooting layers that are working correctly. For example, if the problem is in the application, troubleshooting the physical layers may be counterproductive.
If you don’t have enough data to determine whether a top or bottom down approach is going to be the most effective, you may want to start in the middle at the network layer of your OSI. Usually, a properly functioning middle layer indicates that the layers below it are also working. If the middle layer doesn’t work, you know you need to go further toward the bottom to find the problem so you can start to work on a solution.
5. Be Flexible
As you troubleshoot network problems and develop solutions, you create a framework for addressing issues in the future. Still, you also need to keep in mind that you will encounter different problems as your network environment changes. Ultimately, you need to strike a balance between embracing well documented, predictable troubleshooting plans and flexibility. Always following the same route can be detrimental to long term success.
6. Address Recurring Problems
If you’re constantly facing the same network problems, you are likely to develop troubleshooting techniques to address those issues, but ideally, you should go a step further. You need to find out why those problems keep happening and take steps to find a permanent fix.
7. Invest in Human Resources and Network Management Tools
To support your network, you should invest in both human resources and network management tools. Your employees need to understand how to use the network correctly. If people make mistakes configuring, accessing, or using networks, they place strain on the IT team and the network. In contrast, well-informed workers cause fewer errors.
At the same time, you also need tools that help to monitor, diagnose, and troubleshoot common network issues, and you need IT support professionals who can lend their expertise to your organization.
To get help troubleshooting network errors, contact us today. At ARCIS Technology Group, Inc, we provide IT support to businesses throughout Ohio. We handle the tech so you can focus on your business.