There are so many aspects of networking that you need to be aware of, and so many of them sing the same song when something’s broken that it can be one of the most frustrating experiences. In this series of articles, I will walk you through a helpful process for troubleshooting network connection problems and also provides links to related resources and information that you can use to further your understanding.

When troubleshooting network connectivity, start with the obvious and work towards the not-so-obvious. In other words, before you start reinstalling drivers or running out to buy a new network card, check obvious things, such as verifying that the network cable is plugged in and that you have configured the correct network settings.

Network Diagnostics Tools Features Overview – Use the Network Diagnostics tool in Windows XP to save time in gathering information about network problems.

Physical Connections
The physical connection refers to the connection between the computer and the network or network device, such as a hub or router. When troubleshooting network connectivity, verifying this connection is often a good place to start.

Check for lights on the network adapter. If there is a good network connection, there will be visible lights blinking on the network adapter card.

The lights blinking on the network adapter card are not there for looks. They are an indicator of a good network connection. If the computer is connecting to a device such as a hub or switch, verify that it is turned on. A light should also appear on the device for each client connection.

Check the cables. Verify that the network cable is properly plugged in at both ends and working.

If the network cable is not securely in the socket of the network card and the network wall jack or if the network cable is faulty, there will be no network connectivity. Make sure they’re plugged into the computer properly, check the drop to the wall, and check with other users to see if they’re working okay. Now, things that you can do to help you with this: be prepared with at least one known-good network cable. Use it to replace and test the cable from the network card to the wall jack.

Set up a Wired Network – Learn more about how to physically network Windows XP.
Know The Facts About Network Cabling – Learn the facts about cable standards and installation.

[tags]network, xp, windows, diana huggins, troubleshoot, wired[/tags]