We were wonder if we should write this kind of post. We have faced a lot of problems on the client-consultant line. However thanks to our technical knowledge and experience we were able to solve these problems. We do not want to even image what kind of problems “non technical” customers have to face.

We heard a lot of stories from our friends. They are not IT specialists, but they have basic knowledge about computer usage, i.e. they can install new game or application and even perform some commands dictated by phone for initial analysis. However it is all, because they are not able to troubleshoot themselves. Very common situation is when you call to Help Desk with information that “Internet does not work“, they claims that it is strange and the issue does not exist. However, after couple minutes or hours, the problem disappears. Magic ?! One time I have “trained” my friend before problem reporting. This time the problem was: “Yours DNS server does not work. When I try to ping the hostname then it does not work. However, when I ping the IP address, then I see results. Could you check this?“. After call redirection to IT section, the problem was solved in 10 minutes.

What is the conclusion? At first you should be aware the fact that people hired in Help Desk department are not IT specialists. They will say “Please turn off and on your computer” or “The problem were not reported by others users, so the issue is on your side“. You will be luck if your problem is reported and forwarded to IT guys. Can you do something in order to speedup the solution? You have to learn some self-reliance, because people with IT knowledge are treated more serious. Therefore we have collected some hints which will help you then you will face the issue.

word cloud - lan

The basic diagnostic methodology

The golden rule is that you have to be 100% sure that the issue is not on your side. I know that you are sure that you did not mess anything, but you need arguments. What will you need?

  • LiveCD with operating system (nothing fancy, you will need for example light Linux distro in order to check if Internet connectivity works)
  • Your external IP address (you can check this using e.g. What Is My IP site)
  • MAC address of your computer (you can check this using ipconfig /all command)
  • Default gateway address (router in your network) (ipconfig /all command)
  • Gateway address of your router (you can check this in configuration of your router)
  • MAC address of your router
  • DNS address for you provider
  • IP address type – dynamic or static – if your external IP address is changed after router restart then it is dynamic

When you have this information then you can start your diagnostic. What should you check?

  • Can you open WWW sites when your computer is connected to other network?
  • Can you open WWW sites using other computer from your network?
  • Can you open WWW sites using other browser?
  • Can you open WWW sites using other operating system?
  • Is your firewall configured in the proper way?
  • Is computer reboot helped?
  • Is router reset helped?
  • Are all cables connected in the proper way?
  • Do you have issues with your home WiFi network?

We know that this questions are very basic. However guy from Help Desk will ask you about it. Therefore it is a good practice to check this all points before the call and make sure than the issue is not on your side. The simplest way is to check if you observe the same issue on some Linux Live CD distribution. If yes, then unfortunately the issue is on your side.

Diagnostic of OS and network using built-in tools

There are tools which will allow you to check where is the problem. Most of Help Desk employees think that users are not sufficiently advanced in order to check this. You should already know some of these tools, because we have showed results from them on our blog :)You will need: ping, tracert (traceroute), nslookpu and ipconfig tools. However, the most important are ping, tracert and ipconfig. We will also show you some cases then the issue is on the provider side, not your!

tcp-ip

The gateway of local network does not work

This is very common issue, when the “unplanned” conservation of the provider network happens. Unfortunately it may happens very often. In order to check this, you to run cmd and perform ping command to the gateway. If you do not see replies from the gateway, then you have to reset your router. If this does not help, then you should call Help Desk and report issue with your local (home) router.

DNS in the provider network does not work

This is very interesting issue. At first glance you may think thank Internet does not work, because you can not open any www site. However, you may notice that in the same time your IM communicator or other aplication with use IP addresses works. What does it mean? You can not get replies from DNS server. How to check this? Again start cmd and try to ping some page, e.g. google.in. Now try the same with some IP address, e.g. IP address of google.in is 46.28.246.30. If you see replies then it means that DNS server does not work. Now you can call to Help Desk and report issue with DNS. Of course only if you use your provider DNS.

Signpost with domain names isolated on white background

Of course the provider will need some time in order to solve the issue, so as workaround you can configure on your router or host DNS from Google (8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4).

Of course you can face also other issue with DNS. It may happen than DNS server can not resolve your query, i.e. DNS server does not know the IP address of the host. In order to check this you can use nslookup tool, which is also available in the web version. At first we check how the query will be resolved by our localhost and then we compare the result with e.g. DNS from Google. If results are different then you should wait up to 48h in order to refresh records. If this does not help then you can report the issue.

nslookup_1 nslookup_2

You can not get IP address from DHCP

You can observe very interesting symptom of this issue on Windows operating systems, because you will see that you computer has IP address from 169.254.0.0/16 pool. The second symptom is that your computer does not have any IP address.

Problem on the line router – provider

The all issues described above are observed from your computer point of view. However it can also happen on the provider side and then you can observe these issue from your home router point of view. The good practice is to check the connection status in the router management panel and save it in the safe place. Now you will able to compare the results in case of the breakdown. Also a lot of management panels will allow you to perform ping and even traceroute commands 🙂

ISP - Puzzle on the Place of Missing Pieces.

Of course presented cases do not exhaust the topic, because you could write book about it. However we hope that this will help you to increase your success ratio with your contact with Help Desk 🙂