Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Have you ever dreamed of being a superhero? Well, guess what? You don't need a cape or superpowers to save the day! As an IT professional, you already have what it takes to become a hero in the world of network troubleshooting.
In the world of technology, network issues can cause chaos and mayhem. Slow connections, dropped packets, and mysterious errors can all make you feel like you're in the midst of a tech apocalypse. But fear not! With the right tools and know-how, you can unleash your inner IT hero and save the day!
So, grab your utility belt and get ready to dive into the world of network troubleshooting. In this post, we'll explore common network issues, the tools you need to diagnose them, and the steps you can take to resolve them. By the end of this post, you'll have the skills you need to tackle any network issue that comes your way and emerge as a true IT hero. Let's get started!
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, network connectivity, and security. The goal of network troubleshooting is to restore normal network operations as quickly as possible and minimize any downtime or disruptions.
Troubleshooting network issues is like maintaining a car. Just as a car requires regular maintenance to ensure it runs smoothly and avoid breakdowns, a network also requires regular monitoring and troubleshooting to ensure it is functioning correctly and to prevent potential problems.
Ignoring small issues with your car or network can lead to bigger problems down the line, resulting in expensive repairs or replacements. By identifying and addressing issues promptly, you can minimize downtime, ensure optimal performance, and save money in the long run.
In short, there are several reasons why it is important to troubleshoot network issues:
- Minimize Downtime: Network issues can cause downtime, which can impact business operations and productivity. By troubleshooting and resolving network issues promptly, you can minimize downtime and prevent significant losses.
- Improve Performance: Network issues can cause slow performance, dropped connections, and other problems that can negatively impact user experience. Troubleshooting can help identify the root cause of the issue and allow for the implementation of solutions to improve network performance.
- Ensure Security: Network issues can create security vulnerabilities, such as unauthorized access, data breaches, and malware infections. Troubleshooting can identify and address these vulnerabilities before they are exploited by malicious actors.
- Cost-Effective: Troubleshooting network issues can save money in the long run by preventing major issues that could require costly repairs or replacements.
Network troubleshooting involves a range of techniques and tools that network administrators and engineers use to identify and diagnose network issues, which may include slow network speeds, network connectivity issues, security breaches, and other issues.
There are several common tools that network administrators and IT professionals use to troubleshoot network issues. These tools include:
- Network Monitoring Software: Network monitoring software, like Obkio, is used to monitor network performance and detect issues in real-time. It can alert network administrators to potential problems before they affect users, allowing for prompt troubleshooting and resolution.
- Ping: Ping is a utility used to test the connectivity between two devices on a network. It sends a series of test messages to the target device and reports back any errors or delays encountered during the test.
- Traceroute: Traceroute is a utility that traces the route that network packets take from the source device to the destination device. It can be used to identify where network traffic is being delayed or dropped.
- Network Sniffer: A network sniffer or packet analyzer is a tool used to capture and analyze network traffic. It can be used to identify network performance issues, monitor network security, and troubleshoot network problems.
- Network Scanner: A network scanner is a tool that scans a network to identify devices connected to the network and their respective IP addresses. It can be used to identify network topology issues, detect rogue devices, and troubleshoot IP address conflicts.
Overall, these tools can be used individually or in combination to diagnose and resolve a wide range of network issues. What you use
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.
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.
Step 3. Collect Network Performance Data: The Top Secret Data to Help You Troubleshoot Network Issues
Once you’ve deployed Obkio Monitoring Agents in your key network locations, they will start measuring key network metrics like
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: The first step in troubleshooting network issues is to define the problem. This might involve identifying specific symptoms, such as slow network performance, dropped connections, or application errors. The more specific you can be about the problem, the easier it will be to identify potential causes and solutions.
- Where the problem is located: Once you've identified the problem, the next step is to determine where the problem is located. This might involve identifying specific devices, network segments, or applications that are experiencing issues. Obkio's network monitoring tool can be helpful in identifying where traffic slowdowns or packet loss are occurring.
- What caused the problem: Understanding what caused the problem is essential for developing an effective solution. This might involve identifying specific hardware or software failures, configuration errors, or issues with network topology or design. Once you understand the cause of the problem, you can take steps to address it and prevent it from recurring in the future.
- When the problem happened: Understanding when the problem occurred can help you identify potential causes and develop a timeline for resolution. This might involve reviewing logs, network monitoring data, or user reports to determine when the problem first appeared and how it has progressed over time.
- Who is responsible for the network segment: Knowing who is responsible for a specific network segment can be helpful in identifying potential causes and resolving issues. This might involve collaborating with other IT professionals or reaching out to vendors or service providers for assistance.
There are a vareity of network issues that can plague your network - and like a real IT hero, you've gotta be ready for any villain that comes your way. Luckily, you don't have to do the deep-dive yourself, because Obkio will uncover the network issues for you.
To get you started, let's go over some of the most common network issues you may encounter:
- Slow Network Speed: Slow network speed can be caused by a variety of factors, such as outdated hardware, congestion on the network, or bandwidth limitations.
- Dropped Connections: Dropped connections can occur when a device loses its connection to the network, either briefly or for an extended period. This can be caused by network interference, hardware or software issues, or configuration errors.
- Network Latency: Network latency is the delay in the time it takes for data to travel from one device to another. High network latency can result in slow network performance, particularly for applications that require real-time data transmission, such as video conferencing or online gaming.
- Packet Loss: Packet loss occurs when data packets fail to reach their destination, resulting in incomplete or corrupted data. This can be caused by network congestion, faulty network hardware, or software errors.
- DNS Issues: DNS (Domain Name System) issues can impact network performance by causing delays in resolving domain names to IP addresses. This can result in slow browsing speeds or difficulty accessing certain websites.
- Security Threats: Security threats, such as malware infections or unauthorized access, can impact network performance by consuming network resources or causing disruptions to network traffic.
These are just a few examples of common network performance issues that can impact the reliability and speed of a network. By understanding the causes of these issues, IT heros can diagnose and resolve them to ensure optimal network performance!
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 in your LAN, WAN, and everything in between.Learn more
When troubleshooting network issues, there are several key things you should keep in mind. Here are a few important considerations:
- Network Topology: Understanding the network topology is essential for troubleshooting network issues. You should know how devices are connected to each other, what types of devices are on the network, and how traffic flows through the network.
- Network Configuration: You should have a good understanding of the network configuration, including IP addresses, subnet masks, and DNS settings. This will help you identify any configuration errors that may be causing issues.
- Hardware and Software: You should be familiar with the hardware and software components of the network, including switches, routers, firewalls, and servers. This will help you diagnose issues related to specific devices or applications.
- Network Traffic: Analyzing network traffic can provide valuable insights into network issues. You should know how to use tools such as packet sniffers or network analyzers to monitor traffic and identify potential problems.
- Troubleshooting Methodologies: Understanding troubleshooting methodologies is important for identifying the root cause of network issues. You should know how to use a structured approach to isolate issues and narrow down potential causes.
- Documentation: Keeping good documentation is essential for troubleshooting network issues. You should maintain accurate records of network configurations, device settings, and troubleshooting steps taken to help diagnose and resolve issues.
By keeping these considerations in mind, you can more effectively troubleshoot network issues and ensure the reliability and performance of your network.
Congrats! You're now officially an IT hero.
Troubleshooting network issues may seem like a daunting task, but with the right mindset and tools, you can unleash your inner IT hero and save the day! By identifying the problem, locating its source, and determining the cause, you can use your troubleshooting skills to tackle network issues head-on.
And 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
So don't be afraid to put on your cape, grab your utility belt, and dive into the world of network troubleshooting. With a little bit of know-how and a lot of determination, you can conquer any network issue that comes your way and emerge victorious as the hero your network deserves!
Start your hero journey with Obkio’s Free Trial!