How do you troubleshoot a network problem?

OpManager | October 27, 2023 | 4 min read

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” This is an old adage that can be applied to IT networks everywhere. Organizations and IT admins can perfect their networks to the best of their powers, however, network issues of varying severities can still pop up. These network issues need immediate responses and resolutions. If such issues go unresolved for an unreasonably long time, the damages to both the network and the organization can be costly. This is why IT admins should always have a strategy in place to effectively troubleshoot network problems.

Common network issues  

Before we get down to the best practices of troubleshooting a network problem, let’s first learn from where network problems generally arise.

Network performance issues

Network performance can slow down when there is limited bandwidth available for stakeholders within the network.This is particularly critical for organizations that use bandwidth-intensive applications. A network should be able to consistently meet healthy levels of latency, jitter, and packet loss, ensuring the smooth transfer and integrity of data from end-to-end of the network.

Configuration issues

Network issues are quite commonly caused by faulty configurations. This could be in the form of IP address conflicts, incorrect routing configuration, firewall misconfigurations, configuration backup issue, etc.

Hardware-related issues

Network problems can be caused by faulty or failing hardware, such as routers, switches, cables, and connectors.

Software-related issues

Network problems can also be caused by software bugs or misconfigurations. This includes software that runs on network devices, and software that runs on user devices, such as computers and smartphones.

Security-related issues

Network problems can also be caused by security threats, including malware and denial-of-service attacks.

How do network admins troubleshoot network problems?  

IT admins troubleshoot network problems by following a systematic approach that involves the following steps:

  1. Identify the problem: This includes gathering information about the symptoms of the problem, such as whether it is affecting all users or just a subset, what types of errors users are seeing, and when the problem started.

  1. Gather information: This includes checking the status of network devices, like routers and switches, and reviewing network logs. IT admins also need to collect information from users, such as what applications they are using and what steps they have already taken to try to resolve the problem.

  1. Isolate the problem: IT admins can begin to isolate the issue after building a good understanding of the problem. This may involve disabling or disconnecting certain devices or services to see if that resolves the issue.

  1. Identify the root cause: Once the problem has been isolated, IT admins can begin to identify the root cause. This involves using network monitoring tools or analyzing log files.

  1. Implement a solution: IT admins can implement a solution after identifying the root cause of the problem. This may involve restarting a device, updating firmware, or applying a security patch.

  1. Test the solution: Once a solution has been implemented, IT admins need tests to make sure that it has resolved the problem. They also need to monitor the network for a period of time to make sure that the problem does not recur.

IT admins also use a variety of tools and techniques to troubleshoot network problems. Some common tools include:

  • Ping: Ping is a utility that can be used to test the connectivity between two devices on a network.

  • Traceroute: Traceroute is a utility that can be used to trace the route that packets take from a source device to a destination device.

  • Network monitoring tools: Network monitoring tools can be used to monitor the status of network devices and traffic.

  • Log analysis tools: Log analysis tools can be used to review network logs for errors and other information that can help to identify the root cause of a problem.

Diagnose and troubleshoot network issues faster than before with OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager is a comprehensive network monitoring and troubleshooting software. It can help you identify and troubleshoot network problems such as slow network speed, poor WAN and VoIP performance, slow application response time, high CPU utilization, and Wi-Fi issues.

Here are some common causes of network problems and how OpManager can fix them:

Slow internal network speeds: This can be caused by jammed requests, multimedia streaming, outdated hardware, or switching loops. OpManager lets you monitor pertinent metrics closely, get to the root cause of the issue, and troubleshoot it.

Poor WAN and VoIP performance: Latency, jitter, and packet loss issues can cause poor WAN and VoIP performance.  OpManager enables setting thresholds in the event of a longer round-trip time, jitter, packet loss, and low mean opinion score (MOS) and provides real-time alerts. This gives you ample time to respond quickly and troubleshoot any issues.

Slow application or server response time: This can be caused by increased server load, services that are not running, or server processes that are consuming too much CPU or RAM. OpManager can help you identify the root cause of the problem and troubleshoot it.

High CPU utilization: Managing high CPU usage is key to network availability. Demanding applications can cause CPU spikes, resulting in increased network traffic, server overload, and UI disruptions. Frequent occurrences harm CPU performance, causing slower processing and dropped requests. Elevated CPU usage is primarily due to intensified network traffic. With OpManager you can monitor CPU utilization and get alerted when it reaches abnormal CPU usage or processor time thresholds. The alerts can be set to reach you through multiple channels including SMS, email, Slack and web alarms.

Wi-Fi issues: Wi-Fi issues are caused by interference in signals from other wireless devices, creating sub-par Wi-Fi experience for the users. The impact will be in the form of low signal strength, slow internet connection, slow file transfers, intermittent Wi-Fi disconnection, etc. OpManager comes with Wi-Fi monitor capabilities that can help you track key performance metrics including signal strength, resource utilization, network traffic, availability, client count, etc. This helps you identify the root cause of the problem and troubleshoot efficiently before it can disrupt your network.

Troubleshoot quickly with OpManager’s built-in troubleshooting tool kit

OpManager also comes packed with a number of built-in troubleshooting tools that can help you troubleshoot network problems more efficiently. These tools include ping, traceroute, SNMP Ping, DNS Resolver, DHCP Scope Monitor, WMI Query Tool, CLI Query Tool, SNMP Tool, and Cisco Tools.

Learn more about OpManager’s troubleshooting capabilities and much more by exploring our extensive set of pages.

OpManager is a part of ManageEngine’s ITOM suite of solutions. Apart from network monitoring, this suite also offers solutions for streamlining server monitoring, application monitoring, bandwidth monitoring, configuration management, firewall security and compliance, and IP address and switch port management. This is why ManageEngine’s ITOM solutions are the ideal choice for over one million IT admins worldwide.