What is Network Troubleshooting?
Intermittent network problems interrupt your flow of work, frustrate users, and can wreak havoc on your business. Troubleshooting network problems as fast as possible is the key to making sure that doesn’t happen. In this article, we’re running you through what is network troubleshooting, how to troubleshoot network connectivity issues, and how to troubleshoot networks with Network Monitoring and Network Troubleshooting software.
- What is Network Troubleshooting?
- What about Proactive Network Troubleshooting?
- Why Network Troubleshooting?
- How to Troubleshoot Networks (Network Troubleshooting Steps)
- A Network Troubleshooting Use Case
- Network Troubleshooting with Network Monitoring
If you're unfamiliar with the difference between Traditional Fault Monitoring tools and Network Monitoring, or the theory behind Network Diagnostics and Network Troubleshooting, check out our other articles in the series:
- Network Fault Monitoring vs. Network Performance Monitoring
- What is Network Troubleshooting (this article)
- Network Diagnostics with Obkio
- How to Troubleshoot Network Issues
Network troubleshooting refers to the combined measures and processes used to identify, locate, and resolve network problems located anywhere along a network, from WAN to LAN.
It's a logical process that network engineers or IT professionals use to resolve network problems and improve network performance. Essentially, to fix network issues, you need to troubleshoot them. When troubleshooting a network, many IT pros will use a network troubleshooting software or various network troubleshooting tools to help with the process.
In summary, network troubleshooting is used to:
- Troubleshoot network issues when a user complains of network or application slowdown or poor connectivity.
- Provides end-to-end visibility to pinpoint the source of a network problem.
- Offers in-depth data about the location, and cause of a problem to quickly provide solutions.
For information on what to do before network troubleshooting, check out our article on how to identify network issues!
Learn how to detect intermittent network problems to troubleshoot performance issues that are hard to catch with Obkio Network Monitoring software.Learn more
Troubleshooting network problems so they stop affecting your users is important. But, what's even better is if you identify and troubleshoot network problems before they affect your end-users. This is what we call proactive network troubleshooting.
Proactive network troubleshooting is done through Continuous Network Monitoring. It is important because it gives you a real-time overview of your network at all times, so you can identify, locate, and solve issues before they start affecting end-users, therefore before you receive complaints, and (for Service Providers especially) before it hurts your reputation.
With the increasing complexity of technology and network infrastructures, Network Monitoring has become an integral part of any business that needs to ensure the proper functioning of their network, devices, and applications.
Network Monitoring is generally used for three main purposes:
- Network Assessments
- Network Troubleshooting (like in we talk about in this article)
- Continuous Network Monitoring.
The longer network problems exist in your network infrastructure, the more disruptions they cause. Which is why network troubleshooting is essential.
Because so many businesses depend on high-functioning networks that can span across several locations, poor network performance can impact a number of different factors like:
1. IT Services:
- Poor VoIP Quality causing choppy voice and video calls
- Slow Internet performance
- Slowdown of critical applications such as ERP, CRM, finance, and ecommerce systems.
- VPN connection problems
- Failing Citrix, RDP or Terminal Server sessions
- Low transfer rate
2. Business Affairs:
- Wasted time and productivity
- Overworked IT infrastructure
- Increased operating costs
- Damaged reputation
- Loss of income
3. Clients and Users:
- Lost productivity
- Frustration and disengagement
- Increased user complaints
- Bad customer experience
Watch our on-demand network diagnostics webinar to learn how to troubleshoot network issues with Obkio network monitoring vs traditional monitoring.Learn more
Even the best designed networks are not immune to problems. With the growing complexity of network infrastructures, problems are bound to happen, but just harder to pinpoint.
All IT managers generally agree on one thing: it’s not about whether there will be network problems, but rather when they will occur and how to solve them as soon as possible.
In order to troubleshoot a network as efficiently and painlessly as possible, it’s important to have some best practices or steps in mind that you can follow every time.
Learn how to troubleshoot network issues by identifying where, what, why network problems occur with Network Troubleshooting tools.Learn more
Most businesses don’t have time to manually assess every part of their network to find the cause of a problem. When you have a flood of user complaints and the executive team breathing down your, it can be overwhelming to try to find the problem, let alone fix it.
Luckily, there are several tools available in the vault of a network administrator or IT specialist - the most important being Network Monitoring.
A great network monitoring software, like Obkio Network Performance Monitoring software will provide continuous end-to-end monitoring of your network performance, to identify problems and collect the information you need to troubleshoot, all with one tool!
Believe it or not, many network problems may be caused by faulty hardware, bad physical connections, or incorrect configurations. When you begin the troubleshooting process, check all your hardware to make sure it’s correctly connected, turned on, and working.
If a cord has come loose or has broken, or somebody has switched off an important router, this could be the problem behind your network issues. There’s no point in going through the process of troubleshooting network issues if all you need to do is replace a cord, so make sure all switches are in the correct positions and haven’t been bumped accidentally.
Going through to check every cord one-by-one can be tiresome and a gigantic loss of time. Thankfully, a network performance monitoring software like Obkio monitors problems within your network interface that are commonly caused by hardware!
DNS, which stands for Domain Name System, is a directory for the Internet (and every internet-connected device) that matches domain names with IP addresses. Every single website has its own IP address on the web, and computers can connect to other computers via the Internet and look up websites using their IP address.
Use the “nslookup” command to determine whether there’s a problem with the server you’re trying to connect to. If you perform a DNS check on, for example, google.com and receive results such as “Timed Out,” “Server Failure,” “Refused,” “No Response from Server,” or “Network Is Unreachable,” it may indicate the problem originates in the DNS server for your destination. (You can also use nslookup to check your own DNS server.)
With Obkio’s Application Performance Monitoring (APM) for HTTP URLs feature, users can now monitor DNS performance! DNS is key to URL monitoring, and is one of the five steps to download the content of a single URL.
Learn how to identify and diagnose Internet problems and Internet connectivity issues in your network using Network Monitoring and Traceroutes.Learn more
Issues can arise at numerous points along the network. To start troubleshooting a network, you want to have a clear understanding of what the problem is, how it happened, who it’s affecting, when it occurred, and how long it’s been going on.
By gathering the right information and clarifying the problem, you’ll have a much better chance of resolving the issue quickly, without wasting time trying unnecessary fixes.
Troubleshooting your network helps you get all the information you need about:
- What network problems are affecting your network or application performance.
- Where the network issues are located anywhere along your network.
- Who the owner of the problem is (user, application, network, or ISP), and who is responsible for fixing it.
- How to solve problems for a quick and smooth fix.
Obkio allows you to do this using tools like:
- Traceroutes to identify route, latency and packet loss between two sites. View traceroute results with Obkio Visual Traceroute tool.
- Speed Tests to monitor network speed and validate if the bandwidth you need is readily available.
- Prioritization and QoS to increase network efficiency in the event of network congestion and prioritizes applications more critical or sensitive to performance problems such as VoIP or video.
- SNMP monitoring to monitor the performance of network devices like firewalls, routers, and switches
Leverage Obkio Vision to monitor, detect and troubleshoot network problems with visual traceroutes, IP route historic and graphical network maps.Try for Free
Whether the problem is in your ISP’s network or somewhere else on the Internet, we always recommend reaching out to your ISP’s NOC (Network Operation Center) to help you troubleshoot problems. Explain to them the issue with the following information that you collected in step 4.
In addition, Obkio’s Live Traceroute feature allows users to share a traceroute using a link that is accessible by anyone without having to log into the App. This way, ISP network engineers can see the problem, change the traceroute options and validate that their changes are fixing the issue without having to get back to you.
At this point, within large ISPs, you should be able to skip level 1 support with standard "reboot your modem" solutions and move to level 2 support with network technicians or engineers more familiar with the specific networks issue that you’re facing.
Your ISP will then be able to confirm if your analysis is good or not, and if they can fix the issue at hand. If you have the chance to have a good ISP, they will also explain why your analysis is wrong if this is the case.
We’re running you through an example of when and how network troubleshooting can help you resolve networks problems!
Let’s say that users in your company start reporting intermittent network performance and slowness issues, like choppy VoIP Quality and lagginess which makes voice calls incomprehensible.
If you’re a member of the IT team, you’re definitely the first person that users come to with their complaints. Which means that you now need to solve the problems fast because employees are wasting time and the executive team is breathing down your neck.
Learn how to measure packet loss using Obkio’s Network Monitoring software to proactively identify problems in your network & collect data to troubleshoot.Learn more
When you're looking into how to troubleshoot network connectivity problems, deploy a network monitoring and network troublshooting tool that measures end-to-end network performance to pinpoint network issues located within your business’ LAN, Firewalls, or internet infrastructure.
Get a 360-degree view of network and application performance to help you identify network performance issues you never would have had visibility of before.
Monitoring network performance using a network performance monitoring software continuously measures the most critical network performance metrics to find issues, even before your users experience them.
That means that you can stay on top of problems by proactively identifying if problems are related to the network, where they are located and when they occurred, even if they happened in the past.
With information about what, where, how, and when network problems occurred, you can drastically improve the time it takes you to troubleshoot and solve problems!
As mentioned earlier, the easiest and most accurate way to troubleshoot networks is by using a Network Monitoring and Network Troubleshooting software, like Obkio.
Obkio is a simple Network Monitoring software for Enterprises and service providers that allows users to continuously monitor end-to-end performance of their network and core business applications to identify network issues, collect data on network performance, and improve the end-user experience!