Network Troubleshooting Tools

The current state of networks in modern businesses

In recent years, numerous businesses and enterprises have been riding on a mega wave of rapid technological expansion with advanced networks serving as backbones in delivering mission-critical services to end-users worldwide.

The development of small and medium businesses to large enterprises, surging demands and increased market size causes network infrastructures to ever adapt and evolve. In the process, businesses hire more employees, open branch offices, expand into global markets and centralize network management in a Network Operations Center (NOC).

The role of network troubleshooting in the evolution of enterprise network infrastructure

This growth can cause network issues on existing components due to heavy workloads and improper adaptation of new technologies. It could be a faulty or damaged cable, a routing problem due to misconfiguration, an over-utilized link, misconfiguration of IP addresses or subnet masks, etc. End-users also expect enterprises to provide 99.99 percent uptime and a network outage can result in loss of revenue, customers, data and business opportunities, while incurring huge costs on network expansion.

This emphasizes the need for a powerful network management, diagnosis and troubleshooting tool to identify and prevent network disruptions and deliver on Service Level Agreements (SLA).

The need for robust and comprehensive network troubleshooting tools

What are network troubleshooting tools?

Network performance troubleshooting is the process of identifying a network problem, establishing and testing a theory of probable cause, constructing a plan of action and implementing a functional resolution. This process requires adept tools that support a network administrator to troubleshoot network issues effectively. The multiple tools involved in this remediation process are identified as network analysis and troubleshooting tools.

In simple terms, network troubleshooting tools are standalone or integrated solutions that help network administrators identify the root cause of a network issue in order to fix it.

Types of network troubleshooting tools

These network troubleshooting tools range from simple command line based troubleshooting utilities to more comprehensive and robust solutions that allows for a systematic, efficient and proactive approach to network troubleshooting, e.g. ManageEngine OpManager.

Some of the basic network troubleshooting tools are as follows:

  • Ping
  • Tracert/ Trace Route
  • Ipconfig/ ifconfig
  • Netstat
  • Nslookup
  • Pathping/MTR
  • Route
  • PuTTY

Which is the right network analysis and troubleshooting tool for business or enterprise networks?

The right network performance troubleshooting tool is one that offers all the essential functionalities that are required to troubleshoot your network at the earliest possible with the least amount of effort.

If you think you can manage with basic a network troubleshooting monitoring tool or other free tools available in the market, here are some limitations you need to consider:

  • In most cases, these basic network troubleshooting tools, though effective, require manual effort to sift through the outputs to identify the root-cause of a network issue.
  • It is also not proactive as there are no alerts before an outage leaving you to fix an issue after it has affected your network, the consequences of which could be detrimental to your business.
  • Moreover, the time taken to troubleshoot network issues is also painstakingly high whereas faster remediation is essential to deliver on SLAs in the fallout of a network error.

This is where a comprehensive network monitoring troubleshooting tool is effective in your business or enterprise's IT management strategy.

ManageEngine OpManager - a powerful network troubleshooting software with in-built workflow automation

ManageEngine OpManager is a robust network management troubleshooting tool that lets you monitor your routers, switches, servers, VMs, and storage devices in a single console. It provides the functionality of all these basic network troubleshooting tools in a simple user interface (UI) that makes tedious troubleshooting a breeze.

Here are some the network troubleshooting tools available in OpManager:

  1. Ping (ICMP/ SNMP/ Proxy)
  2. Tracert/ Traceroute
  3. Browse
  4. Telnet/ SSH
  5. Remote Desktop
  6. Terminal
  7. IT workflow automation

1. Ping Tools

The ICMP ping tool is a basic network troubleshooting tool that lets you assess if a device is reachable on the network. It reports on errors such as packet loss, round-trip-time, etc.

ICMP Troubleshooting Tool - ManageEngine OpManager

The usual ping requests are based on the ICMP echo request protocol. There are other variations of ping requests such as SNMP ping and proxy ping.

SNMP ping: It is used to check if the simple network management protocol (SNMP) is enabled in a network device. If SNMP is enabled, the device responds with a set of basic information such as DNS name, system name, location, system type, system description, etc.

SNMP Troubleshooting Tool - ManageEngine OpManager

Proxy ping: This is used to ping a destination device behind a proxy. Basically, the pinging device sends an SNMP SET command to the proxy router to send an ICMP echo request to the destination device. The response is collected by the proxy device. This response is fetched using the SNMP GET command. This ping also requires SNMP to be enabled in the proxy device with the write community string enabled.

These ping commands are useful to diagnose IP problems and network connectivity issues that could be due to faulty interfaces, LAN issues, unavailable ports, configuration issues, etc., and are mostly used in combination with the traceroute network troubleshooting utility.

2. Tracert/ Trace Route

Tracert (Windows) or traceroute (Linux) is a network diagnostic and troubleshooting tool to view the route and measure transit delays of data packets in a network. It displays the number of hops between the source and destination devices based on the hop limit concept, modifying the Time To Live (TTL) values.

Traceroute Network Troubleshooting - ManageEngine OpManager

Traceroute is useful to identify response delays (high latency), routing loops and points of failure or packet loss in a network.

3. Browse

Browse allows you to connect to the built-in GUI of most network devices using a 'http/ https' request. This allows you to access the device settings or configuration to troubleshoot network issues with ease.

4. Telnet/ SSH

Telnet or Secure Shell (SSH) utility allows you to troubleshoot network issues by establishing a CLI session with Linux/Unix devices.

Telnet Troubleshooting - ManageEngine OpManager

It is a simple yet effective network troubleshooting tool that enables you to act on any alert by executing CLI commands to remediate L1/L2 network problems.

5. Remote Desktop

The remote desktop utility allows you authenticate and access the desktop environment of any remote Windows devices in the network, from OpManager's user interface (UI). This allows for quick network troubleshooting like in the case of Telnet/ SSH for Linux/Unix based devices.

6. Terminal

The terminal allows you to establish a secure and encrypted connection with the remote device to execute various commands, diagnose and troubleshoot network issues.

Terminal Server Troubleshooting Tool - ManageEngine OpManager

In the terminal, a network administrator can manually execute all supported commands, widely interpreted as basic network troubleshooting tools, such as ping, tracert/ trace route, ipconfig/ ifconfig, netstat, nslookup, pathping/MTR, route, etc., to analyze and troubleshoot network issues.

7. IT workflow automation

IT workflow automation is a powerful and adept network troubleshooting automation tool that executes Level 1 troubleshooting and repetitive maintenance tasks based on predefined workflows. The network administrator can easily drag-and-drop actions into the workflow builder to create a troubleshooting flow. This will initiate step-by-step troubleshooting for network faults on a regular basis based on the scheduled time or when alarms are triggered on associated devices or groups.

Remote Device Maintenance Troubleshooting Tool - ManageEngine OpManager

It helps resolve network issues faster, avoid human errors and reduces the Mean Time To Repair (MTTR), while maintaining detailed execution logs to audit network troubleshooting activities.

In addition to these network troubleshooting tools, OpManager offers loads of features to track and gain complete visibility into your network infrastructure. To learn more about these features and how it can help manage your network better, take a free personalized demo.

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