Staying at home and relying heavily on the internet to do various activities has become the new norm.
According to Gartner, 88 percent of the organizations worldwide practice work from home after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.
This means you can’t rely on your company’s tech support to fix the issues right there and then. That’s why knowing how to troubleshoot network problems can be highly beneficial.
This article will share ten simple and relatively easy ways to fix any network problems you encounter.
- Restart the Router
When your router has not been turned off for a while, it may cause some connectivity issues. If this happens, restarting the router might resolve the problem. Turn off the switch or unplug the power cord, then wait for one to two minutes before turning it back on.
This method allows your router to gain back its performance by cleaning out its cached memory. Restarting a router can also help it update its connection configurations, including its assigned IP address. This method is considered the easiest one, and we recommend trying this before checking other potential factors.
- Try Another Device or Website
You may need to determine whether the connection issue comes from your destination website. Sometimes the reason why it takes longer to load a website is because the webserver is down. Try to access other websites and see if you get the same results.
Assuming you also fail to access other websites, you may want to check if other devices using this network face the same problem. For example, if your laptop can’t access the internet, check if your smartphone or desktop computer can establish a connection.
If your other devices can connect to the internet just fine, it is safe to assume that your initial gadget is the source of the issue.
- Check Your DNS Server
A DNS server is a server containing the list of IP addresses associated with domain names. When the connection to this server can’t be established, you won’t be able to access the website using the regular URL. Therefore, you may want to check if your device can connect to the DNS server.
If you are using Windows, open the command prompt and type in nslookup to determine whether the server you’re trying to connect to is available. Another method is by directly accessing the IP address of the target website.
For example, if your browser can’t load at www.google.com directly, try to type in 18.104.22.168, one of Google’s IP addresses, to the search bar. If the site can load just fine, the problem might come from the target’s DNS server.
If the issue persists, there might be an error in your local connection. Consider flushing the DNS cache as it may resolve the problem in your network configuration.
- Check Physical Network Connections
One of the potential sources for your connection issues might be the hardware. Make sure all the ethernet cables are plugged correctly and not damaged. You may also want to check the cable’s condition using tools such as a cable tester.
Some WiFi-enabled devices may also have a physical wireless switch; check if it is switched off. Another device to check is your router or access point. Typically routers and access points have indicator lights; make sure they light up properly.
Check the documentation for your device to diagnose what these lights are telling you. If the connection light turns red, your ISP might be facing a network issue.
- Scan for Viruses or Other Malware
Some computer viruses or malware can attack your device by throttling your connection speed. Therefore making sure your antivirus software is running normally and regularly scanning your system so you can maintain network performance.
Windows 10 comes with a built-in antivirus that works well against most viruses and malware. However, there are also numerous other antimalware options to choose from. Antivirus software is highly beneficial not only for your network but also for your system in general.
Keep in mind that antivirus software needs to be updated constantly to give it the latest files needed to combat new viruses and protect your computer.
- Run Windows Network Troubleshooter
Windows operating system users can utilize the built-in tool called Network troubleshooter to help them solve some common network problems. This tool scans your system and runs some tests to determine the possible cause of the issue.
Once it finds an issue, the tool will give you several possible options to fix the problem. Choose an option, then the troubleshooter will ask you if the issue has been resolved. All you have to do is right-click on the network icon in your system tray and choose Troubleshoot problems to access this feature.
- Check the Ping and Test Its Route
Ping is a command in Windows command prompt to test the ability of the source computer to reach a specified destination computer in a network. Your computer will attempt to send and receive data packets to a specified address during the ping process.
First, try to ping a local IP address within your network. If an error appears during the process, the issue might come from your local device or the source computer. However, if the local ping doesn’t show any sign of a problem, proceed to ping a popular website like Google.
To ping an address, open the command prompt application on your start menu and type the command like the example below:
Change the URL or IP address according to what address you want to reach. It is also possible to trace the step-by-step breakdown of the path taken to reach the destination you specify by using the tracert command. This tracing process can show you at which point of the network your issue occurs.
- Confirm Your IP Address
Some of the configurations on your device may also cause connectivity issues. If your router or access point uses the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), make sure that your laptop or smartphone has their DHCP settings enabled.
After that, check if your computer gets a valid IP address from the router or access point by using the ipconfig command in the Windows command prompt. If your IPV4 address starts with 169, that means your computer gets an invalid IP from your router.
This problem can be fixed by typing ipconfig /release and ipconfig /renew on the command prompt. If your computer still gets an invalid address, you might have to do a factory reset to your router or replace it altogether.
- Update Your Firmware
Outdated driver, firmware, and operating system might also cause connection problems on your device. Firmware updates for your modem or router can resolve performance issues, add new features, and increase connection speed.
Another common cause of network issues is an outdated driver for the network adapter. Try to update your ethernet or wireless adapter depending on which connection method you use. Some driver patches are also included in the regular Windows updates. Therefore, it might be worth it to try updating your operating system too.
- Contact Your ISP
After several methods of troubleshooting, you may find that you can’t resolve the issue yourself. At this point, your best option is to contact your internet service provider (ISP) and see if the connection problem comes from their side.
There are various possible causes for your connection issue, such as regular maintenance and power outage, that affect the ISP’s servers. That is why choosing an ISP with excellent and responsive customer service is essential, especially in this scenario.
The customer support personnel can give relevant information regarding the connection issues and some possible workarounds for your connection problems. Your ISP may also offer to send technicians to your place if you can’t resolve the issue yourself.
Knowing how to identify the source of a network issue and the possible solutions can be valuable in various situations, especially if you rely on the internet in your day-to-day life. Even though computer networking can be a complicated matter, there are several simple ways to troubleshoot the potential issues.
In this article, we have discussed ten easy steps to try when identifying a connection problem:
Restart the router
Try another device or website
Check your DNS server
Check the physical network connection
Scan for viruses or other malware
Run Windows network troubleshooter
Check the ping and test its route
Confirm your IP address
Update your firmware
Contact your ISP
Hopefully, this article has helped introduce you to network troubleshooting and gave you additional methods to try for the next time. Follow the steps presented and identifying network problems will become a breeze.