One of the primary functions of the network administrator is to be there when something goes wrong. Troubleshooting a network is, by definition, more complex than troubleshooting a single computer, because the problem can be caused by one of several computers or other devices, or by any of the connections that join them together. Troubleshooting skills are a combination of common sense and knowledge about the hardware and software that make up the network. This chapter examines some of the basic aspects of the troubleshooting process and how to proceed from the investigation of a problem to its resolution.
This chapter requires a basic knowledge of networking components, as discussed in Chapter 2, "Network Hardware," and Chapter 3, "Network Connections," as well as an understanding of the fundamental networking concepts covered in Chapter 1, "Networking Basics."