Common Connectivity Issues & How to Troubleshoot Them
Updated: Jun 22
Internet connectivity has become an increasingly important utility in modern-day life. Consequently, any lapse in connectivity can be a major inconvenience. When you’re at home, connectivity issues can be extremely frustrating. You may lose cell phone service, television streaming, and the ability to surf the web. When you own or manage a business, however, connectivity issues can lead to a reduction in productivity, which eventually can cost you money.
What Are Connectivity Issues?
Connectivity issues are any problems that cause an interruption in your online access. They can include a power outage, a cyber-attack, or a server going down. Even a worn or unplugged wire can cause a connectivity issue. Connectivity issues are also commonly referred to as network problems or issues. The terms are a catchall for a number of related and unrelated difficulties. In the next section, we’ll look at some of the most common reasons for temporary, permanent, or intermittent network slowdowns or shutdowns.
What Are The Common Causes of Internet Connectivity Issues?
The following are some of the most common sources of network interruptions or slowdowns:
Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that a network can transfer in a given amount of time. It’s measured in data units per second. For example, bits per second (Bps), megabits per second (Mbps), and gigabits(Gbps). If you are experiencing slowdowns or stoppages, you may be exceeding your bandwidth. If your network is downloading or uploading large amounts of data, it can substantially decrease your available bandwidth. Streaming video is another common cause of insufficient bandwidth because of the high rate required to stream video. Applications that require a connection to work can also require a great deal of bandwidth. If you have insufficient bandwidth, you may experience delays in network communication (latency) or part or all of your data being lost in the transfer (packet loss).
Excess CPU Use
The central processing unit is the brain of a computer. Depending upon the number of devices in your network, you may have dozens or hundreds of CPUs working simultaneously. If you have extremely high traffic, it can overload the CPUs on your network, resulting in a reduction in speed, which could seem like a connectivity issue. As is the case with insufficient bandwidth, excess CPU usage can result in latency, packet loss, and jitters, making voice communications sound digitized or jittery.
Faulty Hardware Connections
If you’ve ever called the cable company to fix your lack of connectivity, you know that the first thing they do is walk you through a check of all of your wire connections. That’s because cables, ports, and other hardware exist in the physical world, meaning they can come loose or sustain damage. These physical connections may result in either an intermittent issue or a continuous one. It depends on the hardware’s function and the nature of the defect. A damaged cable, for instance, can reduce connectivity without completely cutting it off.
There are times when the connectivity issue is not a connectivity issue at all. In these instances, it’s an endpoint device or some other piece of equipment in your network. Defective or obsolete equipment may cause slowdowns or shutdowns, but it’s also possible that your equipment is just improperly configured. It’s essential to monitor your devices to ensure that they’re operating at peak performance. If not, they may need to be reconfigured, repaired, or replaced.
Domain Name System (DNS) Problems
Your domain name should be connected to your IP address so that the Domain Name System can connect users and other systems to your IP address without having to know your IP address. If you’re unable to connect to an IP address, it may be due to a bad configuration. Likewise, your site may not be available to internal or external parties. Common problems with the DNS are bad configurations, high latency, and higher TTL values.
Anyone who has ever used a cell phone has experienced wireless interference when they walked into a heavily fortified building, like a hospital or government building, or when they’ve been too close to the electromagnetic fields around large electronic devices. Many older buildings were constructed without any thought to wireless communication. In fact, many first responders lose their ability to talk on the radio. This can also adversely affect wifi signals. Oftentimes, the solution includes additional wifi routers or boosters throughout the building.
How to Troubleshoot Connectivity Issues
The first step in fixing a connectivity issue is to determine what’s causing it. Professional IT specialists will, like Flagler Technologies, use network monitoring software to troubleshoot the issue or issues. While we’ve laid out some of the most common problems in the preceding section, actually diagnosing connectivity problems is more nuanced, and there may be more than one cause for your slowdown.
While there are things that you can do to troubleshoot the problem yourself — checking to make certain that you’re using the latest versions of your software, testing connections, replacing older and frayed cables — you’re probably not equipped to run a full diagnostic analysis on your network. A professional Managed Service Provider (MSP), like Flagler Technologies, can test your systems and make recommendations to improve your overall data rate.
Frequently Asked Questions About Internet Connectivity
If you’ve been experiencing issues with your connectivity, contact a professional. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions that the techs at Flagler hear from our small to medium-sized business clients. Contact Flagler Technologies with your specific questions.
If I increase my available bandwidth, will it address my connectivity issues?
As with any solution, this will only work if insufficient bandwidth is the reason you’re experiencing connectivity issues. Without a proper analysis of your system, you may think that the latency or packet loss that you’re experiencing is caused by insufficient bandwidth, invest in increased bandwidth, and then not fix the problem. It’s better to know for sure if your bandwidth is the culprit before investing in any upgrades or changes to your service.
What are some of the most common signs of connectivity issues?
Jitter, latency, and packet loss are three of the most common signs of substandard connectivity. Here are working definitions for each term:
Jitter – Packets of information arrive in a different order than the way they were sent. This can result in garbled audio or video.
Packet Loss – Part or all of the packet of information is lost in transition. This can result in a robotic distortion.
Latency – Also called “delay,” there is a pause in information transfer. It can cause an overlap in communications.
If you’re experiencing any or all of these signs, you may have a connectivity issue.
What should I do if it seems like I have a connectivity issue?
There are a few things you can do to try to fix the problem. Check all of your wired connections. Have your employees run updates on all connected devices, and you update your software if you have outstanding updates waiting. Ask your IT specialist or department to run a diagnostic analysis or contact Flagler Technologies. Our MSP technicians can review your system and determine what’s causing the lag in your systems.