In any list of the most disruptive issues that can affect your computer and your work, network connectivity issues will always be somewhere around the top. Being disconnected from the internet or from the other computers in your local area network can hinder your work in many ways, from being unable to send emails to not having access to required data. Even transferring files from peer to peer or using the office printer can become unnecessarily complicated when you have network connectivity problems.
In this guide, we will run through a list of steps that will help you identify and fix network problems.
Verify the nature of the problem
Before attempting any of the steps outlined below, you should ensure that the problem is from your computer in the first place. Your internet service provider or the specific website or computer you are trying to access may be down, or inaccessible from your IP address or geographical location. You can use sites like down for everyone or just me or down right now to see if your inability to access a website is specific to just you or a general problem that is affecting everyone.
Check the hardware
If you use ethernet cables to connect to your router, you should check to make sure that they have not been unplugged accidentally or damaged somehow. You can also check the network switch on your computer and the signal indicator on your router to see if it has gone off or if there is a reception error. They may seem rudimentary or too simple to be likely, but you could potentially save hours of stress by doing this one basic step.
Restart your devices
You’d be surprised by how many issues with your computing hardware can be solved with a simple reset. Power cycle your computer and router and check to see if the connectivity issue is resolved. You should leave the router off for 60 seconds before turning it back on in order to clear the cache. If the problem persists after the reboot, you can move on to step 4.
Run a network diagnostics scan
The Microsoft Windows operating system comes with a built-in network troubleshooter that can help automatically diagnose and repair network issues. The results of the diagnosis can range from the tool finding a problem and fixing it, finding a problem but being unable to apply a fix, or not finding any issues at all. Obviously, the best outcome is that the tool finds and repairs the problem, in which case, you should try accessing the network again. If the problem persists after the fix, if the diagnostic tool found no issues or if it found an issue it could not correct, you should proceed to the next step.
A few alternative network diagnostics tools that you can try are Wireshark, Nmap, and Solarwinds Port Scanner. If you are uncertain of your diagnostics skills, companies provide I.T and search engine optimization services which will help you.
Check Your TCP/IP Settings
Outlined here is the procedure for managing your wireless connections on the Windows OS, but the concept is very similar to other operating systems.
- Open the network connections control panel and select your wireless network adapter. If the status is ‘Disabled’, right click and select ‘Enable’ (presumably you have verified that your network switched is turned on from step 2).
- If the Status shows that it is ‘Not Connected’, click ‘Connect ‘and select your SSID from the list of displayed available networks.
- After you connect, you can use the Properties/Internet (TCP/IP) panel to check your client’s IP settings and ensure that it is in your router’s subnet range. If it isn’t, you may need to manually assign an IP address to your computer.
- Make sure that there isn’t an IP address conflict with another client on the network.
Try these Windows network commands
If the last step does not lead to a resolution, you can give these commands a try, by pressing the ‘Start’ button, typing ‘cmd’, right-clicking ‘command prompt’ and selecting “Run as Administrator”. Type in the following commands on the command prompt in the order they are listed.
- Type netsh winsock reset and press Enter
- Type netsh int ip reset and press Enter (Resets the TCP/IP stack)
- Type ipconfig /release and press Enter (Releases the IP address)
- Type ipconfig /renew and press Enter (Renews the IP address)
- Type ipconfig /flushdns and press Enter (Flushes and resets the DNS client resolver cache)
If you’ve successfully followed all of these steps and verified that your hardware is all in order but the issue persists, the problem might be beyond your network. At this point, you will need to make contact with your ISP and wait for them to deploy a fix.