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Basics of Network Troubleshooting

Written on May 1, 2020 by Chad Warmenhoven
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Why you need this article

Connection problems can be due to a variety of reasons: problems with the website, your device, the Wi-Fi router, modem, or your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you can’t get email, browse the web, or stream music, chances are you’re not connected to your network and can’t get onto the internet. You may also have problems accessing shared drives or experiencing slow speeds so this article will guide you through verifying your hardware is fully operational and hopefully point to the potential culprit.

Before you begin

When you’re starting the troubleshooting process, check all your hardware to make sure it’s connected properly, turned on, and working. If a cord has come loose or somebody has switched off an important device, this could be the problem behind your networking issues. There’s no point in going through the process of troubleshooting network issues if all you need to do is plug a cord in. Make sure all switches are in the correct positions and haven’t been bumped accidentally.

Next, turn the hardware off and back on again. This is the mainstay of IT troubleshooting, and while it might sound simplistic, often it really does solve the problem! Power cycling your modem, router, and PC can solve simple issues, just be sure to leave each device off for at least 60 seconds before you turn it back on.

Where to start

Windows Network Diagnostic

The Windows Troubleshooting process assists users in diagnosing and, when possible, resolving network connectivity issues.

1. Right click the Start button then select Settings>Network & Internet>Status

2. Under the Change your network settings heading, select "Network troubleshooter"

3. Follow the steps in the troubleshooter, and see if that fixes the problem

Network Settings

There are a number of different network settings that could be causing these issues. We suggest performing the following steps to verify your Network Settings:

Check your WiFi SSID and password

  • Make sure that the network you are connecting to is the one you want and try connecting from another device (computer/phone) to verify the password is what you think
  • Now see if a Wi-Fi network you recognize and trust appears in the list of networks. If it does, select the Wi-Fi network, and then try to connect to it. If it says Connected underneath the network name, select Disconnect, wait a moment, and then select Connect again
  • Try connecting to a network on a different frequency band. Many consumer Wi-Fi routers broadcast at two different network frequency bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. These will appear as separate networks in the list of available Wi-Fi networks. If your list of available Wi-Fi networks includes both a 2.4 GHz network and a 5 GHz network, try connecting to the other network

Check your DHCP settings

This one is a little more involved but equally important.

1. Select the Start button and type "Network Connections" - Select the first result

2. Double click your active network connection and in the new window select “Properties”

3. Click on the "Internet Protocol Version 4" option and click the "Properties" button

Likely you want DHCP enabled (unless your ISP/router requests otherwise) so make sure "Obtain an IP address automatically" is selected, as well as "Obtain DNS server address automatically"

Verify Anti-Virus(AV) and Anti-Malware tools

Launch whichever AV/Anti-Malware software you use and double check to make sure it is running correctly. Verify they haven’t flagged anything that could be affecting part of your network or stopping it from functioning altogether. You may need to obtain advice from your AV manufacturer for this step.

Physical Button

If you are using a Puget laptop, we include a physical button. Make sure the physical Wi‑Fi switch on your laptop is turned on. (An indicator light usually shows when it's on)

Commands to run

If none of the above solves your problem and if the WiFi/Wired icon appears on the right side of the taskbar with a "Connected" status, visit a different website. If the website opens, there might be a problem with the specific website. If you can't connect to another website there are some commands we can run to check if there is a problem with the connection to your router.

1. Right click the Start button then select “Windows PowerShell”

2. In the new window type:

ipconfig /all

3. Look for the name of the network you are troubleshooting and then find the IP address listed next to Default gateway for that network connection. The Default Gateway is your router’s IP. Your computer’s IP address is the number next to “IP Address.” If your computer’s IP address starts with 169, the computer is not receiving a valid IP address. If it starts with anything other than 169, your computer is being allocated a valid IP address from your router. Write down the Default Gateway address if you need to. For example: 192.168.1.1

4. In the same window type:

ping 192.168.1.1

Resetting the local network connection can frequently solve connection issues. To do this type each command then hit enter in the still open PowerShell window:

ipconfig /release

Hit Enter

ipconfig /renew

Hit Enter

This will clear your current IP and request a new one from the router. If you still aren’t getting a valid IP or stable network connection it may be something outside of the Puget computer causing the problem. Try plugging your computer directly into the modem using an Ethernet cable. If it works, the problem lies with the router and likely needs to be repaired or replaced.

If your router is working fine, and you have an IP address starting with something other than 169, the problem’s most likely located between your router and the internet. At this point, it’s time to use the ping tool. Try sending a ping to a well-known, large server, such as Google, to see if it can connect with your router.

You can ping Google DNS servers in the same PowerShell window by typing:

ping 8.8.8.8

If the pings fail to send, Windows PowerShell will return basic information about the issue.

You can use the tracert command to do the same thing by typing:

tracert 8.8.8.8

SafeMode

Reboot the system in "Safe Mode with Networking" and try replicating the issue. Safe mode disables all background software and services. With these software/service items disabled, diagnosing can more effectively be narrowed down to hardware.

Updating network drivers

This will guide you through performing an update of your network drivers using Device Manager.

1. Right click on the Start Button

2. Select "Device Manager"

3. Click the "Network Adapters" caret

4. Right click the adapter you would like to work on and select "Update"

5. Select "Search automatically for updated driver software" then let it do what it does

Conclusion

All of these network troubleshooting tips are designed to guide you through verifying settings are correct and hardware is operating as expected. If all of the above turn up no problems, try contacting your internet service provider to see if they’re having issues. You can also look up outage maps and related information on a smartphone to see if others in your area are having the same problem.

DownDetector.com is a great site for checking if there is an outage in your area or directly related to your provider.

The Support department occasionally utilizes a tool called CintRep that automates a lot of the above. It is not the most straightforward tool so feel free to reach out with your order number and our support team can help guide you through.

Need help with your Puget Systems PC?

If something is wrong with your Puget Systems PC. We are readily accessible, and our support team comes from a wide range of technological backgrounds to better assist you!

Contact Puget Systems Support

Looking for more support guides?

If you are looking for a solution to a problem you are having with your PC, we also have a number of other support guides that may be able to assist you with other issues.

Puget Systems Online Help Guides