No modern business can hope to function without a reliable network and a dependable internet connection. Unfortunately, despite advances in technology, issues with reliable connectivity continue to plague many organizations. Network problems are a common cause of lost productivity and employee frustration, which, in turn, lead to decreased performance and customer satisfaction.

Here are five common network issues and their solutions:

#1. Slow internet speeds

Numerous factors influence internet speeds, but one of the most common causes of slow internet is network congestion. No matter how fast your connection, some applications will hog all the bandwidth that’s available to them. In other cases, using incompatible technologies or outdated protocols can have an indirect effect on performance and reliability. Other problems may be beyond your control; instead, they are the responsibility of your service providers.

Carrying out a thorough network assessment will help identify performance bottlenecks. You can also manage your bandwidth to ensure that business-critical functions always have enough. Also, you should choose the fastest and most dependable internet service available in your area.

#2. Wireless range issues

It’s always better to connect to the internet via a cable where possible, but there are also many things you can do to resolve wireless range and reliability issues. Wireless networking ranges are never anything near what they’re advertised to be, but there are other factors that affect them, such as interference from other wireless devices or outdated protocols. For example, a network using wireless-G technology won’t be as fast as one using the current wireless-AC standard.

To improve wireless range, reliability, and performance, always make sure your network cards, routers, and range extenders are using the latest wireless connectivity protocol. You can also extend the range using powerline networking and better router positioning.

#3. Incompatible devices

Sometimes, your network seems to be working perfectly until you encounter one device that refuses to connect. If so, then it’s probably not the router that’s to blame. In most cases, these problems are due to incompatible devices or problematic configurations. Some legacy systems, for example, can’t connect to newer routers.

Be sure to eliminate common communication barriers such as faulty network cards and cables, poor wireless signal quality, or outdated device drivers. If all that fails, check if the device is being blocked by your firewall or if there’s a configuration issue with your IP address or DNS server.

#4. IP address problems

Business networks often consist of dozens or even hundreds of terminals and devices sharing the same IP address range. An IP address is a device’s unique identifier on a network, so if the available address range has been exhausted, any additional devices will be unable to connect. Another common IP address-related problem is having duplicate addresses, wherein you see an error message along the lines of “address already in use”.

These issues are often caused either by technology limitations of the network router or switch or by a configuration problem in the device’s firmware. By logging in to your router’s control panel and following the instructions in the manual, you should be able to access the necessary DHCP settings to adjust the size of the available IP address pool.

#5. Security vulnerabilities

An unsecured business network is an open invitation to hackers. This is especially the case with wireless networks that anyone can connect to without a passkey. Furthermore, if the connection is unencrypted, anyone with the right software can intercept traffic between the local router and any device connected to it. These eavesdropping attacks are especially common in public venues that offer unprotected Wi-Fi access.

Always protect your wireless networks with WPA2 authentication, and make sure your router and other network hardware are up to date. This is especially important in light of the recently exposed KRACK security attack, which exploits even networks that have WPA2 protection.

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