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What environmental factors cause switch connectivity to fail?

If the power on your network's switch is fine, but the connectivity is not, ask yourself these questions posed by our switching expert to troubleshoot for environmental issues that may be causing this connection failure.

This is now the third switch at a small business location that has failed. This is their only switch. The first two were Dell, and the last was NetGear. Each time, the power is fine, but then there's no connectivity. Powering on and off does not help. It has been happening about every 2 months, and it always seems to happen at about 4-6 pm. What type of environmental issues might be causing these problems?
You might have to try really hard to get to the bottom of this. There could be various reasons. Ask yourself these questions:
  • Is something going on at the ISP end that's causing your connectivity to fail?
  • Is someone removing any connection at the remote end?
  • Is there any string power source near by which is causing electromagnetic interference?

You can't go for a structured approach.

One of my customers used to have an OSPF breakdown every morning. On investigation we found out that security guards used to switch off the main power in the evening and switch it back on in the morning around 8 am. So the router used to start the OSPF process all over again and that used to bring the network down for a while.

Don't forget to consider even the weirdest ideas.

Best of luck.

This was last published in December 2008

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