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Network Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting TCP/IP - Detailed Steps

Open a Command Prompt Window

You'll be typing at the command prompt, for many of these steps. To open a command prompt window in Windows 2000 or XP, click on Start then click on Run, in Run type cmd in the box, and click on OK. To open a command prompt window in Windows 95, 98, or Windows ME, click Start | Run, type command in the box, and click OK. Type one command per line only, and press Enter after each one to execute it. To close the command prompt window, use the exit command and then press enter.

Determine the TCP/IP Settings

Determine the TCP/IP settings of each computer on the local area network. In Windows XP, open the Network Connections folder, right click the LAN connection, and click Status | Support | Details.

Description of TCP/IP Settings
Here are the TCP/IP settings that are used for network troubleshooting:

  • IP Address - Unique address assigned to a network adapter. A computer with multiple network adapters has an IP (Internet Protocol) address for each one, and each one must be in a different subnet.
  • Subnet Mask - Used in conjunction with the IP address to determine which subnet an adapter belongs to. At the simplest level, communication is only possible between two network adapters when they are in the same subnet.
  • Default Gateway - IP address of a computer or a router, on one of this PCs local area networks (LAN), that knows how to communicate with subnets not present on this computer. For an Internet connection, the default gateway is a router belonging to your ISP, and all access to sites on the Internet goes through it. For an ICS client, the default gateway is the ICS host, if you use a hardware router, then it serves as the default gateway.
  • DHCP Server - If an adapter is configured to obtain an IP (Internet Protocol) address automatically, this is the address of the server that provides it. It could be your Internet Service Provider, an ICS host, or a hardware router.
  • DNS Servers - IP address of one or more Domain Name Server computers. DNS servers translate Websites names (like to their IP addresses for example (


If two computers are supposed to be on the same subnet, but aren't, something is wrong with the network hardware or software configuration. This is most likely to happen when one of them receives an IP address of 169.254.x.x, which indicates that:

  • It is configured to obtain an IP address automatically.
  • It could not find a DHPC server on the network to make the assignment.
  • Windows assigned it in an Automatic Private IP Address.

The ping command is the essential tool for testing TCP/IP connectivity. It sends a special packet (called ICMP Echo) to a particular IP address and then looks for a reply. If everything is working all right, the reply comes back. Else, the ping times out in a few seconds. By default, the ping command repeats the process four times only.

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