Simple network repairs SMB owners can do on their own
Dealing with a buggy office network—or a network that won’t work at all—can be frustrating. Even infuriating. The loss of productivity is a hassle. Plus, unplanned downtime can end up having a serious effect on your bottom line.
What to do? Call tech support? Have a technician come to the office?
Try fixing it yourself?
There was a popular British sitcom call The IT Crowd about a tech support office located in the basement of a multinational corporation. Roy, the jaded and cynical lead IT support character, always answered the phone with a tired: “Hello, IT. Have you tried turning it off and turning it back on again?”
It’s a quick, obvious solution to try. We’ve all done it.
Sometimes it even works.
But it doesn’t work all of the time. And more often than not, the problems run deeper than that.
The good news is that there are a number of possible solutions to your network woes that you can try yourself before having to call in the cavalry.
Seriously, have you tried turning it off and turning it back on again?
We don’t mean just flipping power switches off and on willy-nilly. There is a methodical way to recycle the power which may yield more positive results and get you back up and running.
First, turn off your computers, then switch off the router and modem. Note that in some cases this is a combined device.
Next, check to make sure all of the cables are properly connected—this includes power cables.
Finally, turn everything back on in the following order: modem, router (or combined device), then computers. As you turn on each device, wait for it to completely power up and for its lights to stabilize.
By doing this, you can rule out most hardware issues. If problems remain, it’s time to dig deeper.
(Note: Most of these solutions are with Windows 10 in mind. But many of these solutions will work just as well in previous versions of Windows, all the way back to 7.)
Restart the Network Adapter
The network adapter is what allows your computer to communicate with the network. Restarting it should be your next step.
- Press Windows key + R at the same time to open the Run dialog box
- Type ncpa.pl in the Run box and click OK
- Right-click on your network adapter and select Disable
- Right-click on your network adapter again, and then choose Enable
Once finished, check to see if the network connection problems have been sorted out.
You could also run Window’s built-in network troubleshooter to get rid of network connection issues.
- In the taskbar search box, type Network troubleshooter and then select Identify and repair network problems
- Follow the steps in the troubleshooter and see if that fixes the network issues
Turn off firewall—temporarily
Sometimes the firewall is the culprit in blocking your network. To check to see if this is indeed the case, take these steps:
- In the search box on the taskbar, type Command prompt and right-click on it, and then select Run as administrator
- At the command prompt, type netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state off and then hit Enter
- Open a web browser and see if you are able to connect to the Internet. If you can, then you have evidence that the firewall is the problem. You will want to research your firewall settings further or contact your IT support staff.
- To turn on your installed firewalls back on, at the command prompt, type netsh advfirewall set allprofiles state on and then press Enter. It’s worth checking, via a web browser, to see if you can connect to the Internet yet.
The above suggestions are all pretty basic approaches to network fixes. If none of those were enough, it’s time to dig a little deeper and try to reset TCP/IP stack, release the IP address, renew the IP address, and finally flush and reset the DNS client resolver cache.
It sounds intimidating, but it’s actually quite simple if you follow the directions below.
- In the taskbar search box, type Command prompt and right-click on it, and then select Run as administrator.
- When the command prompt window opens, type the following commands in order.
- Type netshwinsock reset then hit Enter
- Type netsh int ip reset then hit Enter
- Type ipconfig /release then hit Enter
- Type ipconfig /renew then hit Enter
- Type ipconfig /flushdns& then hit Enter
(Note: Make sure to include a single space between ipconfig and the forward-slash.)
Call in the cavalry
If none of that works, it’s probably time to contact your IT support for further assistance.
Keep a written record of every step you’ve tried. The problems could be more serious than expected, or it could be an undetected issue with the hardware.