Basic Network Troubleshooting Steps And Tools

An Extensive Study of Network Troubleshooting with the Tools used.

We explored all about Network Security along with its types in our previous tutorial.

When we run a network or while working in any system there are always chances of failure in the smooth operation owing to technical, physical or any other faults.

For uninterrupted running of the system, we need to resolve the raised issues as soon as possible and for this, we need to detect the cause of the problem first and then fix it.

Must Read => Beginner’s Guide to Networking

Thus the process of detection, minimization and resolving the faults that arise in the network while performing the various day to day activities is known as troubleshooting.

Here we will explore the different kinds of troubleshooting steps and the tools we use for fault detection and closure of the same.

Network Troubleshooting

In this tutorial, we are only concerned about the computer networking fault diagnosis and rectification.

Based on the type of issue, we will discuss its troubleshooting steps and tips.

Basic Network Problems

  • Cable Problem: The cable which is used to connect two devices can get faulty, shortened or can be physically damaged.
  • Connectivity Problem: The port or interface on which the device is connected or configured can be physically down or faulty due to which the source host will not be able to communicate with the destination host.
  • Configuration Issue: Due to a wrong configuration, looping the IP, routing problem and other configuration issues, network fault may arise and the services will get affected.
  • Software Issue: Owing to software compatibility issues and version mismatch, the transmission of IP data packets between the source and destination is interrupted.
  • Traffic overload: If the link is over utilized then the capacity or traffic on a device is more than the carrying capacity of it and due to overload condition the device will start behaving abnormally.
  • Network IP issue: Due to improper configuration of IP addresses and subnet mask and routing IP to the next hop, the source will not be able to reach the destination IP through the network.

Network Troubleshooting Flowchart

Network Troubleshooting Tools

There are various tools that are used for checking the IP reachability issues and to locate where the packet is lost while communicating with the destination host. These tools make troubleshooting easier and minimize the time for restoration.

Some of the popular tools are mentioned below:

#1) SolarWinds Engineer’s Toolset

SolarWinds provides a network software, Engineer’s Toolset that contains over 60 tools.
With the help of these tools, you will be able to automate network discovery. For automated network discovery, it has a set of tools like Port Scanner, Switch Port Mapper, SNMP sweep, IP Network Browser, etc.

This software has powerful diagnostic capabilities. It will perform real-time monitoring and alerting. It provides the features of IP address & DHCP scope monitoring, Configuration & log management, and enhanced network security.

Engineer’s Toolset can be integrated with SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor. The tool will help you to perform network stress tests with WAN Killer. According to your specifications, it will generate random traffic and will allow you to adjust packet size, bandwidth, and percentage of bandwidth.

SolarWinds offers a fully functional free trial for 14 days. Per seat license of Engineer’s Toolset will cost you $1495.

#2) Obkio

Obkio is a simple network performance monitoring solution that provides real-time, end-to-end performance monitoring to help you assess the health of network and core business applications to quickly identify intermittent network problems within minutes!

Obkio’s software application is designed for monitoring network performance and web applications and identifies the causes of common network problems like VoIP, video, and application slowdown.

Deploy Network performance monitoring Agents at strategic locations in your company’s offices or network destinations to easily identify the source of a system failure so you can quickly apply the corrective measures.

Obkio alerts you as soon as a problem occurs or even if there are signs that a failure is about to happen. Not only does it alert you and pinpoint the source of the issue, but it also allows you to go back in time to complete a diagnosis.

#3) Ping

By using IP ICMP echo request and echo reply messages, the PING tool verifies the reachability to the destination host at the remote end.

It contains two messages, first is, if the data packet is competent to send and receive the messages from the destination IP address and the second is the RTT time for the process (RTT means round trip time and is calculated in milliseconds).

The exclamation shows that ping is successful. If the ping returns saying the destination is unreachable then there are many reasons for this. To find out the cause, we will go for the next tool.

#4) Trace Route

It sends the ICMP echo request messages with a step by step increase in the IP TTL (time to live) values.

The starting value is 1. It sends the data packet in a forward direction and each hop decreases the TTL value by 1 while routing the data and rejects the packet whose TTL value is zero by responding that the message ICMP time has exceeded.

Now again the source host sends the data packet, but this time with a TTL value of 2. In this way, the process will keep going until the packet has arrived at the destination and then the destination host reverts with ICMP echo reply messages.

With the help of traceroute, the router will keep a record of which route is followed by the packets to reach the destination and calculates the latency and other parameters as well.

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