Computing & Communications Center
Network Operations

Network Troubleshooting

Can't map a drive? Can't get to your favorite web site? Computer hanging? This guide will help you sort out your problem and determine who you should call to get the problem fixed quickly.

Many times here in Network Operations we get calls for problems that are not really network problems. This guide should help you decide if you should call us first or not.

Basic Network Troubleshooting

As a general rule, most connectivity problems are due to software or configuration errors. Before you give us a call, try these simple steps to see if you can fix the problem yourself.

Is it plugged in?

It sounds silly, but sometimes network problems are caused by loose wiring. Check to see that your network cable is plugged in securely and hasn't been knocked out by furniture or roommates. Check to see that you are plugged into the right jack. If your phone stopped working at the same time as your network, you probably have the jacks swapped. If all this checks out, then you may have a problem. Try the following steps.

Is this really a connectivity problem?

Let's say that you can't reach your favorite web site. It is possible that the site you are trying to reach is down, or we may be having problems with our Internet connection. Try going to another site. If that doesn't work, try WPI's own site. If that works, but off campus sites don't then there is a problem with our Internet connection. We will undoubtedly already be working on it. If no web sites work, then go on to the next step.

Does anything work?

Now try SSHing to ccc.wpi.edu or another on-campus host. If that works, then your network connection is working. If that doesn't work, there is one more test you can try below.

Windows 95/98/ME: Winipcfg

If you are using Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows ME, go to the start menu and click on "Run". In the box that pops up type winipcfg. Look at the pull-down box at the top of the window. Select your network card (not the PPP, AOL, or Dial-Up adapter) and look at the information displayed. Press "Release" and the IP address should change to 0.0.0.0. Press "Renew" and in a few seconds the IP address should change. You should have an address that starts with 130.215. If you get a message about "Error renewing adapter" or "DHCP Server Unavailable" there is one more thing you can try before calling for help. Shut down your computer. Turn it off. Wait a few seconds and then turn it back on. Sometimes this fixes a stuck net card. When the computer finishes booting try running winipcfg again. If you can get a 130.215 address, your network is working. If can't get a correct address, then you have a real verified network problem and you should give us a call or send us an e-mail.

Windows NT/2000/XP: ipconfig

If you are using Windows NT, Windows 2000 or Windows XP, go to the start menu and click on "Run". In the box that pops up type cmd. Now, at the command prompt that opens, type ipconfig /all. You should see an entry for your ethernet card (not a PPP, Dial-Up or AOL adapter). Next to IP Address you should see an address that starts with 130.215. If not, type ipconfig /renew. This should cause your computer to request a new IP address from the DHCP server. After a few seconds, the prompt should return, and it should show you the 130.215 IP address that it received from the server. If you get an error, or the IP address you get does not begin with 130.215, there is one more thing you can try before calling for help. Shut down your computer. Turn it off. Wait a few seconds and then turn it back on. Sometimes this fixes a stuck net card. When the computer finishes booting try running ipconfig /all again. If you can get a 130.215 address, your network is working. If can't get a correct address, then you have a real verified network problem and you should give us a call or send us an e-mail.

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Last modified: Aug 22, 2004, 12:04 EDT
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