Restoring Internet Connections to Small Business Networks
Step 4: The "X" Factor
The "X" factor is that unknown variable you can't easily identify. When trying to discover the "X" factor you need to ask yourself "what changed on the system before this problem started?" For instance, have you recently installed any new hardware or software? When was the last time you ran a Windows Update? Did it install any new drivers? Were you deleting or uninstalling any applications that might have affected the system? The answers to these types of questions can provide you with important clues for tracking down the source of your problem.
Another "X" factor candidate is a virus or malware infection. In many cases where everything seems to be functioning correctly, yet you still can't get the system online, you may be dealing with a virus. I've seen infections change home pages, prevent certain search engines from loading and even disable Internet Explorer entirely.
As a last resort, using Windows built-in System Restore program to revert the system back to an earlier configuration can sometimes be the simplest and quickest way to restore conductivity.
Step 5: Minimize the Complexity
When it comes to troubleshooting, try to keep things as simple as possible. For instance, if you're having problems establishing a wireless connection, it's always best to disable all of the security encryption while attempting to get online. Encryption only adds another layer of complexity to an already complex problem. Get it working first, and then protect it.
In a home-office environment, if you're having trouble getting a PC online and its connected to a router and/or a switch, always connect the modem directly to the PC and verify that the problem still exists. If it does, then the problem lies with the modem or it's a backend problem with your ISP. If however the PC can now get online, then it's most likely a problem with your router. And if the ISP didn't provide it, they're not going to help resolve it.
In this situation, you might just need to replace the router; things do break from time to time. Or it might need updated firmware, or perhaps a reset back to the factory settings. The point is, knowing where to focus your troubleshooting efforts is the best way to get the situation resolved, and the simpler the configuration, the easier it will be to spot the culprit.Ronald V. Pacchiano is a systems integrator and technology specialist with expertise in Windows server management, desktop support and network administration. He is also an accomplished technology journalist, writing product reviews, monthly columns and feature stories for both print and web-based publications.
|Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!|