Network Downtime – Cause and affect

Network downtime can often feel like the end of the world. Your day-to-day operations can get disrupted and the cost of unplanned downtime only adds more to your worries (In 2016, this was estimated to be $260,000 per hour). The good news is, some network downtime problems can be easily fixed. Others will require assistance from an IT consultant. Some of the most common factors that can cause connection problems in your network include:

  • Improperly cut Ethernet cables
  • Lack of network security
  • Hardware not designed to scale with your needs
  • Improper configuration

Let’s take a look at what these problems entail and what you can do to fix them.

Improperly cut Ethernet cables cause network downtime

Each wireless access point is connected through Ethernet to the network. This link plays an important role in ensuring you get network connectivity. Your internet device will also need wired services such as DNS and DHCP to connect to the internet. A problem in these wired connections will cause your Wireless network to crash. There are several ways of determining this. These include:

  • Running a Wi-Fi connection test using a troubleshooting tool. This will tell you if there is a problem in the WiFi configuration
  • You can also try accessing an external website. This will help you figure out if the issue is limited to internal connectivity, are having issues with your ISP, or both.
  • Finally, you can verify whether your Power over Ethernet (PoE) is functioning correctly.

To resolve a network downtime connectivity problem, you can:

  • If the rest of your network is functioning well, check the wiring. An improperly cut Ethernet cable can have an adverse affect later, and you may be experiencing the systems of it.
  • Reconfigure your DNS or DHCP server. You can also verify whether your Ethernet switch is configured properly. Check your PoE configuration in this case and make sure that it matches the power requirements of your Access Point. If your PoE switch is overloaded and is managing too many devices, then this can cause your network to crash.

If this does not resolve your problem, consider calling an IT consultant for help.

Lack of Security on Access Points

Inadequate security on access points can also cause connection problems. You must make sure that your Wi-Fi devices and Access Points have the necessary security credentials in place. If there is an error in the configuration of these credentials, then you will not be able to establish a connection. If your network crashes or you experience network downtime due to inadequate security configuration, then the following tips can help:

  • Verify the passphrase and credentials in use. This is particularly important when network access is secured through a WPA2-P or WPA-P security system.
  • If your enterprise allows access to devices based on their MAC address, then you must also make sure that each MAC address is present on the approved list.

Once you have identified the source of the problem, you simply need to reconfigure the wireless network, the device that is facing problems, or the authentication server. This should resolve the issue. If you are unable to carry out the reconfiguration process, contact your Wi-Fi service provider for further assistance.

Choice of Hardware

A lot of small businesses rely on old models of devices for internet connectivity, and this can continue to significant network downtime, and/or degraded performance. These devices will typically transfer information at a low data rate. In some cases, the device that you use will be able unable to support a higher data rate and fail to connect to the network altogether.

Many corporate Wi-Fi networks also make use of the 5.0 GHz band for connectivity. This is because the traditional 2.4 GHz band is very congested. It is also used by devices such as baby monitors, old cordless phones, garage door openers, etc. The 5 GHz band is a lot less crowded in comparison. This helps you establish a stable connection and enjoy a higher speed (Up to 1300 Mbps). However, older devices such as legacy 802.11 devices will not be able to connect to the 5 GHz band or they may only be able to connect specific channels on the band.

You must inspect the device in use and determine its capabilities. If your company is indeed using older models of Wi-Fi devices, then you are likely to face recurring problems in network performance. The only solution to this is getting your devices upgraded and using new models that support the latest technology. Make sure you use a reputed Wi-Fi service provider to install the new devices. Otherwise, you may not get your money’s worth.

Inadequate Signal Coverage

This is one of the most common reasons that can result in a network downtime crash. Poor Access Point signal coverage can be attributed to:

  • Loss of signal strength
  • Reflection, refraction, diffraction, scattering, or absorption of signals by an object

Besides the Access Point signal coverage, you must also take the device signal coverage into account. Remember, communication is two-way here. If your device fails to receive the signals sent by the Access Points, then you will not be able to connect to the internet. If the problem is with the signal coverage of your Access Points or devices, then you must contact your Wi-Fi service provider. They will offer one or more of the following solutions:

  • Add more access points
  • Install antennas with better reception
  • Increase the transmit power of Access Points

To Sum It Up

There are several factors that can contribute to network downtime. Some of these involve hardware and wiring issues. In other cases, you may be dealing with malfunctioning or insufficient access points or an error in your network security credentials. You can follow the tips described above to resolve some of these issues. However, in some cases, you may need to replace your Wi-Fi devices altogether to improve network performance. Remember, the cost of unplanned downtime is much higher than partnering with a good Wi-Fi service provider. You can also outsource the management of your network to an IT consultant. They can monitor your network at all times and resolve any issues in real-time.

If you are looking to partner up with a reliable service provider or are searching for a good IT consultant, get in touch with our team at Northwest Remote Offices, LLC. We can help boost your network performance, eliminate network downtime and help you set up a cloud-managed multi-node wireless network.

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