Network Troubleshooting

This document is intended as a guide to tracking down the source of network connectivity problems, such as inability to print or access networked campus services (email, web, Administrative Systems).

The target audiences are departmental computer support staff and ITS Support Center and Network Operations staff, as well as similar client support staff -- individuals familiar with configuring client workstations, but perhaps only somewhat familiar with the campus network structure. There are a few departments at UCSC which administer their own networks: University Extension, UCO/Lick Observatories, and the School of Engineering. Network adminstrators from these units should contact ITS Network Operations staff directly, or be escalated to them by ITS staff.

This document presents a step-by-step flowchart of steps to take to determine the source of a problem with a machine or network. This flowchart should work to resolve most network problems, but in trying to be complete it will not always provide the most efficient route (order of tests) to provide this resolution. We recommend becoming familiar with the options, and selecting the best path to completion depending on error messages and the individual situation.

Where to Start

Verify That There is A Problem

Often "network problems" are the result of a client not understanding how to use an application. Be certain that the client can describe the problem in sufficient detail that it really does sound like a problem exists. For example, if the client is attempting to read email, verify that they are not typing their email address in the location window of their web browser.

If an Administrative System such as FIS or PPS can't be reached, verify that these services are up and reachable from other locations.

A Triage Cycle

Most clients express a network problem as "can't print," "can't get email," and "can't get to a web page."

Isolate the problem to one or more of these three. With a complete failure of the TCP/IP network, all three tests will fail. If these three tests fail, go to IP Network Check. (Some of the steps in Triage are repeated there.)
  1. Try to download mail
    If only email fails, eliminate account status problems and client's configuration
  2. Try to print to a networked printer
    If only printing is failing, go to Printing Problems
  3. Try to load two or more web pages and then off-campus pages
Once a failure of the network connection is likely, the general procedure is to test both ends, and then check the middle.

Click on the links below for step-by-step (text) instructions: