How to Fix Network Problems in Older Systems

How to fix network problemsWhen an old network is in need of serious repair, the headaches can quickly begin to pile up despite what might seem like an easy fix at first. This short list highlights some of the more common problems and provides suggestions on how to deal with them quickly and with less hassle.

General Guidelines

Troubleshooting an older network is not much different than diagnosing the problems in a more up to date system: isolate the problem, consider common solutions, and then work your way down the list of potential causes.

The Common Culprits

Following the below steps won’t handle every situation with complicated technologies, but they can serve as a shortened checklist on how to fix network problems that can cut out unnecessary time and energy spent on investigating less likely causes.

1. Check the wiring configuration

Even on an older network, sometimes the physical configuration will change unexpectedly. A cable may come out while IT personnel is installing a new line or non-IT staff is working around the router, and then they end up plugging the cable into the wrong slot accidentally. Some cable testers come with the ability to trigger blinking in the status light of the router, easily highlighting exactly where the cable is plugged into it. And of course, make sure the power is connected for all devices

2. Examine the router, making sure its DHCP is properly configured and its firmware is up to date.

IP address assignment mistakes are common with older routers interacting with a multitude of devices, especially when you begin to add in newer models or wireless. Check on the DHCP settings and examine the addresses of all devices on the network.

3. Test the cables themselves for connectivity.

If everything is plugged in correctly and the router is functioning properly, then the next problem to check is the cables. With older systems, the cables have been laying in their pathways for years, and even the hidden wires may have fallen victim to pests or happenstance.

Having an advanced cable tester like the Net Prowler can make this step infinitely easier. Just attach one of its remotes to one end of the cable and the device itself to the other. It should be able to tell you the cable length, the throughput, and whether it is working properly or has a short, open, or another type of fault. Throughput testing is especially useful for older networks experiencing sluggish performance.

4. Look for software or malware on specific devices

When you’ve determined that the cables are plugged in, properly configured, and turned on, then the problem is most likely coming from a particular device or collection of devices interrupting each other. Given the immense amount of possible problems here, the simplest way to test this is to use a tester to check the link speed and then compare it to the actual speed seen by the device.

The Net Prowler – An Essential Tool

For both old and new networks, having a cable tester on hand allows you to more efficiently perform several diagnostic tests, translating almost directly into increased productivity and income. With the Net Prowler, you’ll have access to even more capabilities than the other models on the market: remote sensors, Power over Ethernet tools, port testing, and more, all on an easy to read full-color display.