How to Troubleshoot Network Issues: Unleash Your Inner IT Hero
Experiencing network issues is inevitable - but they don’t need to derail your entire work day. The faster you troubleshoot network problems, the quicker you can get back to peak productivity. In this article, we’re teaching you how to troubleshoot network issues using Network Troubleshooting tools.
- What is Network Troubleshooting?
- Step 1. Deploy a Network Monitoring Software
- Step 2. Monitor Network Locations
- Step 3. Collect Network Performance Data
- Step 4. Identify Network Issues
- Step 5. Compare the Network Sessions
- Step 6. Troubleshoot with Device Monitoring
- Step 7. Troubleshoot with Traceroutes
- Step 8. Contact Your Service Provider
So you wanna unless your inner IT hero and save your business' network from performance-degrading issues. You're at the right place!
First, let's briefly go over what network troubleshooting is and how it can help you.
Network troubleshooting is the combined processes of identifying, locating, and resolving network issues located anywhere along your network. Combined with Network Performance Monitoring and Network Assessments, it's a logical process network professionals use to collect information about a network problem (when, what, where) to resolve them and improve network performance.
This can involve troubleshooting network issues with hardware, software, connectivity, and security. The goal of network troubleshooting is to restore normal network operations as quickly as possible and minimize any downtime or disruptions.
Network troubleshooting involves a range of techniques and tools, such as network monitoring software, network analyzers, ping and traceroute utilities, and network performance testing tools. Network administrators and technicians use these tools to identify and diagnose network issues, which may include slow network speeds, connectivity problems, security breaches, and other issues.
So your users are complaining about poor network performance - what now?
Before you can even begin to troubleshoot network issues, you need a tool to help you understand what the network problems are, and what’s causing them.
The easiest way to troubleshoot network issues is by using a Network Performance Monitoring and Troubleshooting like Obkio.
Obkio continuously monitors end-to-end network performance with synthetic traffic using Network Monitoring Agents. The Agents exchange synthetic traffic to measure network metrics, like packet loss, between each other, identify network issues, and collect the information to help you troubleshoot.
Get started with Obkio’s Free Trial!
To actually identify network issues to troubleshoot, you need to deploy Network Monitoring Agents which continuously measure network performance in key network locations like offices, data centers and clouds. The Agents exchange synthetic traffic to measure network metrics between each other.
This will help you the root cause of the network issues and identify any network segments where the network issue is most pronounced. Essentially, to collect the data you need to translate, you’ll need:
- Local Agents: Installed in the targeted office location experiencing network performance issues. There are several Agent types available (all with the same features), and they can be installed on MacOS, Windows, Linux and more.
- Public Monitoring Agent: Which are deployed over the Internet and managed by Obkio. They compare performance up to the Internet and quickly identify if the network issue is global or specific to the destination. This will be great information for later in the troubleshooting process. You can use an AWS or Google Cloud Agent.
Once you’ve deployed Obkio Monitoring Agents in your key network locations, they will start measuring key network metrics like jitter, packet loss, and latency and displaying them on Obkio’s Network Response Time Graph.
Obkio's Network Response Time Graph and VoIP Quality Graph showing Latency, Jitter, and Packet Loss
Measuring these key network metrics will allow you to better understand if something is wrong with your network. To identify network issues, you’ll want to let the Agents run and collect data for some time. If your issues are really bad, you’ll see the performance issues after just a few minutes, but we recommend letting the Agents collect data for at least 3 hours.
Obkio will notify you of events like substantial packet loss between certain sites, or users experiencing high levels of jitter during VoIP calls, and more.
You may have an idea that something is wrong with your network, but you may not know the extent of it. At this point, if you have a network issue, you’ll be able to see it in the graph above. You can see the exact moments when the network issue occurred in your network and even the impact on MOS Score.
You can now use all the data you’ve collected to actually identify network issues and collect the information you’ll use to troubleshoot. Create your own dashboard with a summary of your network metric measurements, the results of speed tests, and a detailed analysis of any network issues that may have been discovered.
You can identify:
- What the problem is
- Where the problem is located
- What caused the problem
- When the problem happened
- Who is responsible for the network segment
To begin troubleshooting the netowrk issue, you've got to catch it first.
To do this, compare the monitoring sessions between the two Public Monitoring Agents you deployed.
As a reference, below is an example of a Network Session with no network issues.
If it’s not a network issue, it might be a user issue. In this case, you can install a Monitoring Agent directly on a user’s workstation (the user who is experiencing the performance problems) to see the issue from their point-of-view.
If you still don’t find that it’s a network issue at this point, it may just be a problem that IT specialists can solve directly on the user's workstation or on the remote destination. The problem could be several other hardware-intensive videoconferencing systems, which use up a lot of resources (CPU, RAM).
Obkio also monitors these other resource metrics for you!
In the screenshot below is an example of a network issue present both network sessions.
In this case, the network issue is present on a network segment that is common to both network sessions. This means that the problem is:
- Broader and not exclusive to a single network path or destination.
- Affects all services and applications dependent on the network.
- Could be happening in LAN, the firewall or the local loop Internet connection.
Skip to Step 6 for the next step.
In the screenshot below is an example of a network issue present on only one network session.
This means that the network issue is happening specifically towards that specific location on the Internet and that the problem is further away.
In this case, skip to Step 7.
If the network issue is happening on both network sessions, compare that data using Obkio’s Device Monitoring feature to further understand if the network issue is happening on your end, or over the Internet, in your Service Provider’s network.
When you compare your previous data with Device Monitoring metrics, you may find CPU or Bandwidth issues. These resource issues likely means that the network issue is on your end and you need to troubleshoot internally.
Here are a few suggestions to troubleshoot network issues related to CPU or bandwidth:
- What Traffic is Being Used: Look into if traffic going through your network is legitimate or not by looking at the firewall logs. Illegitimate traffic might be a security breach (data exfiltration), or mass data backup happening during business hours instead of during the night.
- Manage Firewall Priorities: Prioritize important traffic in order to reduce the impact on those applications during periods of congestion. This way, all the traffic towards or from those applications will be prioritized first when passing through the network and will be less likely to cause congestion.
- Upgrade Internet Connection Bandwidth: With your ISP if you’re just running out of bandwidth.
- Investigate Missing Resources: Look into your device to understand why it’s missing resources and causing high CPU usage. It may be a software problem, your device may need a firmware update, the latest update may be bugged, or the device may just not have enough resources available and needs to be upgraded to a bigger device
If you don’t see any resource issues from your devices, this is a sign that the network issue is actually on your Service Provider’s end.
In this case, you need to open a service ticket with all the information as you can collect to prove that the issue is on the ISP’s end, and get quickly escalated past 1st level support. Obkio's app will be your secret weapon for this hero journey!
The data you can provide is that from your dashboard in the previous steps, as well as your Traceroutes in the next step.
Now, you can now collect the last bit of data to help you pinpoint exactly where the network issue is located so you can share that information with your Service Provider.
To do this, we’ll be using Obkio Vision, Obkio’s free Visual Traceroute tool that runs continuously to interpret Traceroute results to identify network problems in your WAN and over the Internet.
Obkio Vision Quality Matrix
Note: If the network issue happening only on your end, you don’t need to do this step. It’ll just further confirm that conclusion.
By using Traceroutes, the Network Map, and the Quality Matrix you’ll be able to identify if:
A. The network issue is happening specifically towards a specific location over the Internet. So only one specific site is being affected.
Obkio Vision Network Map
B. The network issue is on your ISP’s side and you need to open a service ticket with as much information as you can collect.
Obkio Vision Traceroutes
You need to reach out to your Service Provider (MSP or ISP), to help you troubleshoot. But this time, you won’t get stuck dealing with level 1 support telling you to just “reboot your modem.” With all the data you’ve collected using Obkio, you can hold your Service Provider accountable and give them all the information they need to troubleshoot.
- Contact your ISP to get technical support using the screenshots of Monitoring Sessions, Dashboards or Traceroutes in Vision.
- Share results of Live Traceroutes with your ISP using a public link.
- If your ISP wants to analyze your data further, you can create a temporary Read-Only User in your Obkio account for them.
Learn how to use Obkio Vision’s Visual Traceroute tool to troubleshoot network problems with traceroutes both inside & outside your local network.Learn more
Congrats! You're now officially an IT hero.
But remember, network issues can always come back. To simplify the way you troubleshoot network issues in the future, you need to be proactive at identifying them.
That’s why it’s important to keep monitoring network performance so you can identify and troubleshoot network issues as soon as they happen. Install Monitoring Agents in all your network locations, and keep Obkio as your permanent network monitoring and troubleshooting tool!
- Get complete visibility over your network and network problems
- Collect the data you need to troubleshoot
- Ensure the peace of mind knowing you can solve problems before your users even experience them
Start your hero journey with Obkio’s Free Trial!