It’s Not The Network!!!

If you are responsible for any network of any size, you are going to share some of the sentiments of this semi-rant…
Now is there a day that goes by without having the Desktop, Server, Applications or Database teams blaming the network for one blip or the other? Even end users have some guts to tell you it’s the network who have no idea or ever hear of the OSI model and layered troubleshooting.

I get a phone call and the following convo ensues;
User: We have a network issue!!! The Web app is not loading, it keeps giving some error.
Me: Ok tell me, is your email working?
User: Uhmm…yes
Me: Is your Instant Messaging client working?
Me:Is the ATM machine in your branch working?
Me: Dude get off my phone!!(Not really…hehehe 🙂 …But you get the vibe)


But at this point you realize that “The Network” very likely has become the unfortunate victim of another unfounded finger-pointing galore.
Give us a break please!! It is fast becoming an easy way out for many tech support guys, and a lazy approach to the way one works….”It’s the network” seems to have become the ready explanantion for any incident when sufficient troubleshooting has not been done to identify the root cause of some service interruption…Except when it is obvious that the network is hard down and that is obviously indisputable. What happened to good old 1st level troubleshooting before escalating to 2nd or 3rd level specialist teams?

One of my former managers, who happened to be my first Cisco tutor always advocated that EVERYONE, whether you were into Software Development, Database Administration or whatever professional IT field you choose to venture in should get CCNA certified at he minimum.
This is because “The Network” will always be the fabric for the deployment of the services administered by those working in these other teams. A fundamental understanding of the nuances of the network, which can be compared to the circulatory system of the human body, helps one to troubleshoot right from the onset.
This should be done before the fire alarms are set off screaming while the network wizards are called in to wave their magic wands.

Some basics that everyone, who sits behind a “Windows” computer should know are outlined below. Same principles apply to the Linux guys. Only difference will be in the commands to execute them.
How to ping and do traceroutes and interpret the responses…Request Timed out, Destination host unreachable or TTL Expired? Is your GATEWAY reachable?

How to do a netstat -a -n and to interpret the output to see if services/servers/applications are connecting or being accessed on the right ports as they shoud.Enter the TCP 3-Way handshake. Know what ESTABLISHED vs TIME_WAIT means anyone?

How to do an ipconfig with all it’s flavour of /release, /renew and /all

Guys, save us the the headaches and let’s run our organizations with efficiency and in the spirit of teamwork

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1 Response to It’s Not The Network!!!

  1. Kofiseshie says:

    Very Very True Ananse!! In the name of so called “i am a computer literate” inefficiencies are always blamed on IT/The Network, even when a locally installed app is not responding. I suggest minimum qualification for computer literacy should be Microsoft’s MTA OS Fundamentals Certification.


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