Staying at home and relying heavily on the internet for various activities has become the new norm.
According to Gartner, 88 percent of organizations worldwide are working from home after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.
This means you can’t rely on your company’s technical support to fix the issues right away. Because of this, knowing how to troubleshoot network problems can be of great benefit.
This article describes ten simple and relatively easy ways to troubleshoot network problems.
- Reboot the router
If your router hasn’t been turned off in a while, it can cause connection problems. In this case, restarting the router may resolve the problem. Turn off the switch or unplug the power cord and wait a minute or two before turning it back on.
This method allows your router to regain its performance by cleaning up its cache memory. Restarting a router can also help update its connection configurations, including the assigned IP address. This method is considered to be the easiest, and we recommend trying this out before reviewing other potential factors.
- Try a different device or website
You may need to determine if the connection problem is from your target website. Sometimes a website takes longer to load because the web server is down. Try accessing other websites and see if you get the same results.
Assuming you can’t access other websites either, you should check to see if other devices using that network are having the same problem. For example, if your laptop can’t access the internet, see if your smartphone or desktop computer can connect.
If your other devices can connect to the internet without any problems, then you can assume that your original gadget is the source of the problem.
- Check your DNS server
A DNS server is a server that holds the list of IP addresses associated with domain names. If you cannot connect to this server, you will not be able to access the website using the regular URL. Hence, you should check that your device can connect to the DNS server.
If you’re using Windows, open the command prompt and type nslookup to see if the server you want to connect to is available. Another method is to access the target website’s IP address directly.
For example, if your browser can’t load www.google.com directly, try typing 18.104.22.168, one of Google’s IP addresses, in the search bar. If the site loads without any problems, the problem may be with the target’s DNS server.
If the problem persists, there may be a problem with your local connection. Consider clearing the DNS cache as this can fix the problem in your network configuration.
- Check physical network connections
One of the possible causes of your connection problems could be hardware. Make sure that all Ethernet cables are properly plugged in and not damaged. You can also use tools such as a cable tester to check the condition of the cable.
Some WiFi-enabled devices may also have a physical wireless switch; check if it is turned off. Another device to check is your router or access point. Typically routers and access points have indicator lights; make sure they glow properly.
See the documentation for your device to diagnose what these indicators are telling you. If the link indicator turns red, your ISP may have a network problem.
- Scan for viruses or other malware
Some computer viruses or malware can attack your device by slowing down the connection speed. So make sure your antivirus software is running normally and scan your system regularly so that you can keep network performance up.
Windows 10 comes with a built-in antivirus that works well against most viruses and malware. However, there are numerous other antimalware options to choose from. Antivirus software is of great benefit not only to your network but also to your system in general.
Remember that antivirus software must be constantly updated to provide the latest files necessary to fight new viruses and protect your computer.
- Run the Windows network troubleshooter
Windows operating system users can use the built-in tool called Network Troubleshooter to solve some common network problems. This tool will scan your system and run some tests to determine the possible cause of the problem.
Once a problem is found, the tool gives you several possible options to fix the problem. Choose an option and Troubleshooting will ask you if it has fixed the problem. All you have to do is right click the network icon in your system tray and select Fix Problems to access this feature.
- Check the ping and test its route
Ping is a command in the Windows command prompt to test the ability of the source computer to reach a specified destination computer on a network. During the ping process, your computer tries to send and receive data packets to a specified address.
First, try pinging a local IP address on your network. If an error occurs during the process, the problem could be with your local device or the source computer. However, if the local ping shows no sign of a problem, move on to pinging a popular website like Google.
To ping an address, open the command prompt application from your Start menu and enter the command as in the following example:
Change the URL or IP address according to the address you want to reach. It is also possible to follow the step-by-step breakdown of the path to reach the destination you specified using the tracert command. This tracing process can show you where on the network your problem is occurring.
- Confirm your IP address
Some of the configurations on your device can also cause connection problems. If your router or access point uses the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), make sure that the DHCP settings on your laptop or smartphone are enabled.
After that, check that your computer is getting a valid IP address from the router or access point by using the ipconfig command in the Windows command prompt. If your IPV4 address starts with 169 it means that your computer is getting an invalid IP from your router.
This problem can be resolved by typing ipconfig / release and ipconfig / renew at the command prompt. If your computer is still getting an invalid address, you may need to factory reset your router or replace it entirely.
- Update your firmware
Outdated drivers, firmware and operating system can also cause connection problems on your device. Firmware updates for your modem or router can fix performance issues, add new features, and increase connection speeds.
Another common cause of network problems is an outdated driver for the network adapter. Try updating your ethernet or wireless adapter depending on which connection method you are using. Some driver patches are also included in the regular Windows updates. Therefore, it can be worthwhile to update your operating system as well.
- Contact your ISP
After several troubleshooting methods, you may find that you are unable to fix the problem yourself. At this point, it is best to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and see if the connection problem is on their part.
There are several possible causes for your connection problem, such as: B. Regular maintenance and power outages affecting the ISP’s servers. For this reason, choosing an ISP with excellent and responsive customer service is essential, especially in this scenario.
Customer support staff can provide you with relevant information about the connection issues and some possible workarounds for your connection issues. Your ISP can also offer to send technicians to you if you cannot solve the problem yourself.
Knowing how to identify the root cause of a network problem and the possible solutions can be valuable in various situations, especially if you rely on the internet in your daily life. While computer networks can be complicated, there are several simple ways to correct the potential problems.
In this article, we discussed ten simple steps you can try to identify a connection problem:
Restart the router
Try a different device or website
Check your DNS server
Check the physical network connection
Scan for viruses or other malware
Run the Windows network troubleshooter
Check the ping and test its route
Confirm your IP address
Update your firmware
Contact your ISP
Hopefully this article has helped you introduce you to troubleshooting the network and give you additional methods for the next time. Just follow the steps presented and identifying network problems will be a breeze.