Common Network Problems Resolved

By Tech Experts Staff
It’s amazing how easily network problems can turn into a huge headache for businesses and home users. If you don’t have guidance when purchasing equipment, or don’t know how to properly maintain and troubleshoot issues, you could be down for hours or days.

While network problems and questions are very common, there really are simple solutions to them. This month we’ll take a look at the most common network related questions and problems and how we generally resolve them.

The first question we regularly hear, most often from home users, is “How do I know what kind of equipment to purchase?”

That isn’t that hard of a question. Generally, with network equipment, it comes down to the old saying “You get what you pay for.”

When you buy networking equipment, whether it’s a switch to expand the number of available connections on your network, or a router, don’t buy the lowest priced one you can find.

There’s a reason one piece of equipment is more expensive than another. Generally, the price difference means drastic differences in the speed of the unit, number of available ports, range, and in some cases security features.

So, when buying network equipment, don’t scrimp – you’ll end up with a slow network lacking in features.

Even when you have good equipment in place you can still run into network problems. The most common issue on a network tends to be a malfunctioning device.

It is normally much less expensive to try replacing a device as a first step to resolving a problem than it would be to have a tech go around and test every device on the network.

For example, if your network is having issues with slower than normal connections, high latency, etc. it is entirely possible that your switch or router has begun to fail.

With consumer grade network equipment, routers and switches can fail as much as once per year depending on the quality of the device and how well you’ve protected it from power surges.

If you’ve replaced your router and/or switch, and you continue to have high latency and strange issues, the next step is to check your network cables.

The cables you’ve been moving around over the years and putting stress on may have faults that are causing problems.

At this point, a tech would need to go through and test the cabling to make sure there are no issues with them.

A cable that is either wired improperly or is starting to fail can cause problems that will affect a network in many ways.

Sometimes, depending on the severity of the fault, it can cause intermittent failures resulting in spotty connections. If a cable fails altogether it can prevent a user from being able to connect to the network entirely.

Once all of the cabling issues are straightened out and we know our devices are good, you may still have a computer acting up on the network.

In that case, it is possible that the network interface card (NIC) is failing. Sometimes this can be a hardware problem where the NIC fails, but sometimes it is possible that the software on your computer is causing problems with it.

For instance, a NIC takes drivers for the operating system to allow it to communicate on the network. If you have the wrong driver installed, or the driver is corrupt, it can cause a lot of network problems.

Another possibility is a virus or other malicious software installed on the computer.

Depending on what the virus is designed to do it could be causing the problem with your computer’s ability to connect to the Internet.

Depending on the severity of the infection and what it was designed to do, it is possible that a virus could cause the entire network to run slowly.

What it all comes down to is that it is really best to have a professional diagnose network issues and work with you directly when trying to get equipment for your network.

With the number of variables involved, if you don’t deal with networking on a regular basis it’s fairly easy to be confused.

Feel free to contact us anytime for advice on network upgrades and help diagnosing problems with your network, firewall, switches or routers.

Networking Equipment: What’s It All Do?

There are many times when explaining to clients what piece of hardware needs rebooted or reset that they do not know what we are talking about when we reference the piece of networking equipment by name.

Even if you do know what is meant by router, modem, switch, hub, etc., you might not know what the equipment does, and why you need it.

Today is your lucky day! Below is a brief explanation of what the various types of networking equipment is, what it does, and why you need it.

Let’s start from your Internet service providers (ISP) main line into your house or business and work our way up to your computer. It all begins with your modem – this is how you initially connect to your ISP’s main line into your building.

The modem is what connects you to your Internet provider, and secures an IP address for your computer or network to connect to the Internet.

The next piece of hardware in line is normally your router.

Some network installations don’t have a router, usually because the modem supplied by the Internet provider has one built in, or the computer connects directly to  the modem.

A router allows you to have your own network IP scheme and communicate from your network to your ISP’s network.

Routers allow you to expand your network beyond the one device that most ISP’s modems allow by creating a larger subset of IP addresses for your computers to connect to which is then “routed” to your ISP’s IP address and out to the Internet.

This is why they are called routers, they route network traffic. Some routers also offer the ability to connect wirelessly to your network.

These connections act exactly the same way except for the fact that they do not have an Ethernet cable plugged into the computer you are using to connect with and there is increased security on the wireless connection to prevent unauthorized connections to your network. Some routers also offer a high grade built in firewall.

So as you can see routers can come in many different flavors and configurations.

The final piece of hardware in the chain of networking hardware is your switch.

In general switches are designed to be connected to your router and offer more Ethernet ports for you to connect devices to your network.

Most routers offer on average five Ethernet ports – a switch gives you the ability to expand on the number of available Ethernet ports that can connect to your router.

If you want to have multiple devices connected to your Internet connection while keeping your network secure give us a call and we can guide you on selecting the proper equipment as well as getting it setup properly for you.

If this kind of equipment is not configured properly you may not be able to connect to the Internet at all.

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