Troubleshooting Network Connectivity (2)

May 31st, 2008

We can roughly classify hardware-related issues into following categories:

  • heat dissipation issues
  • cabling and contact issues
  • equipment hardware failure

People often throw their routers, hubs, switches at the dark corner beneath the desk along with messy cables so that they are hidden from line of sight. If the room is warm, these poor little things have great chances to stop working because of heat dissipation problems: they generate heat and they need proper ventilation!

Cabling issues are quite common and getting worse thanks to the trend of manufacturing cost-down.  Personally I put a question mark on all Ethernet cables unless they passed inspections done by Fluke.  Well, Fluke is an expensive toy for geeks and not for average Joe.  The other way is to find replacement cables and do some cable swapping.  Classic probability tells us that you will have less chance encountering a defective cable if the defect rate of cables is constant and you tried many cables.

The most frustrating issues are contact issues.  Many times we think that we already have things plugged firmly but they actuallly are not.  It takes some extra minutes to double check all plugs but that might save you hours later.

Equipment hardware failures are not rare.  Again, thanks to the magic of cost-down, you simply can’t expect too much for the dirt cheap routers/switches/hubs/cables today.  However, we should rule out all configuration and software issues before running into the always tedious RMA process (if any).

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