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What are the 3 most common network issues to troubleshoot?

Slow network speeds, weak Wi-Fi signals and damaged cabling are perhaps the three most common network problems that IT departments need to troubleshoot.

Networks are complex, and many things can go wrong. Here are three of the most common network issues to troubleshoot:

1. Users complain the network is too slow. There can be many reasons why a network that provided adequate performance in the past is now frustrating its users. For instance, a new application, such as video conferencing or online training videos, may have been added. A failing switch port or link could cause traffic to route around the failure and overload another link.

In other cases, the network could be part of a larger organizational network. As a result, a change in the larger network has resulted in more traffic through the internet connection point, slowing responses to cloud-resident applications.

Another network speed issue could emerge if an employee decides to download high-definition videos while at work, because downloading in the office is faster than using his home internet connection. A network monitor tool will help solve any of these common network issues.

2. Wi-Fi signal strength may be adequate almost everywhere, but it could be weak or nonexistent in other areas. Rearranging an office area can result in a weak signal where signal strength had been adequate before the move. For example, a large metal object, like a file cabinet, can block the Wi-Fi signal.

Devices such as microwave ovens, cordless phones and Bluetooth can interfere with Wi-Fi signals, too. A Wi-Fi test tool can help identify the source of the problem.

3. Network connections suddenly break. Another common problem is when a network cable becomes damaged or knocked loose. Cables might be added or removed from a switch, and one of the other cables might accidentally get disconnected.

Or, a cable was damaged when it was pulled around a sharp edge while work was done on the heating or air conditioning pipes. It should be clear from the segment of the network affected which cable was damaged. But finding the problem along a cable stretching across the ceiling may be time-consuming.

This was last published in January 2019

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What are some of the most common network problems that you routinely troubleshoot?
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