• Network Diagnostics and Troubleshooting

The Best Network Troubleshooting & Diagnostics Tools

Best Network Diagnostics & Troubleshooting Tools

Network troubleshooting and diagnostic tools help network administrators and technicians identify and resolve issues.

These tools are designed to analyze network performance, identify problems, and provide insights into the functioning of the network.

Network analysis can show you the leading causes of network problems such as; slow speeds, network connection problems, packet loss on overloaded network devices or missing information in your routing table and other system databases.

Here’s our list of the best network diagnostic tools and troubleshooting software:

  • Datadog Network Performance Monitoring EDITOR’S CHOICE A cloud-based network monitoring and management service that includes autodiscovery, topology mapping, performance alerts, and troubleshooting tools Start a 15-day free trial .
  • SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager (FREE TRIAL) An essential system security and administration tool that automatically checks on device settings. The NCM will gather all device configurations, allow the creation of standard settings, and ensure that any unauthorized changes are immediately rolled back. Start a 30-day free trial .
  • N-able N-sight (FREE TRIAL) A remote monitoring and management tool that enables central IT departments to manage networks on several remote sites. Get access to a 30-day free trial .
  • ManageEngine OpManager Plus (FREE TRIAL) This bundle of seven ManageEngine tools provides full network monitoring and analysis capabilities. Installs on Windows Server and Linux. Start a 30-day free trial .
  • Site24x7 Network Monitoring (FREE TRIAL) A cloud-based service that monitors network devices, tracks traffic patterns, provides capacity planning support, and offers troubleshooting tools. Start a 30-day free trial .
  • Paessler Network Troubleshooting with PRTG Infrastructure management system that includes port monitoring.
  • Ping Simple command-line utility that checks on the speed of connections.
  • Tracert Free command-line utility that lists the probable hops to a network or internet destination address.
  • Ipconfig This command-line tool reports the IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, subnets, and default gateways for all network adapters on a PC.
  • Netstat This tool displays active connections on your computer.
  • Nslookup Available for Windows, Unix, Linux, and Mac OS, this tool gives you DNS server diagnostics.
  • Uptrends Uptime Monitor A free online tool that will make repeated checks on the availability of a website.
  • Sysinternals Set of Microsoft tools for Windows that help troubleshoot and configure Active Directory.
  • Wireshark Free packet sniffer that will help you analyze traffic flows.
  • Nmap Network security and monitoring tool that needs a companion utility, Zenmap, as a user interface.

The best network diagnostics tools & troubleshooting software

When curating this list, we considered the reliability of the tool in use in diverse situations, ease of setting up and use, documentation and support, and how up to date the diagnostic software is kept.

Our methodology for selecting a network diagnostic tool

We reviewed the market for network diagnostic tools and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:

  • A package of several useful tools accessible through a single interface
  • Methods to reconcile addressing issues with DHCP and DNS servers
  • Connection testing systems
  • A system of alerts that allow technicians to get on with other tasks if not notified of problems
  • Automated system sweeps or useful tests that can be launched on a schedule
  • A free tool or a trial period for risk-free assessment
  • Value for money from paid tools and worthwhile functions from free tools

Five of the tools in our list ( ping , tracert , ipconfig , netstat , & nslookup ) can be executed directly from a Windows command prompt (cmd.exe) without installing any additional programs for advanced troubleshooting. The rest of the network analysis tools can be used alone or in combination for network discovery.

1. Datadog Network Performance Monitoring (FREE TRIAL)

Datadog Network Monitor - Network view

Datadog is a cloud-based monitoring system for IT resources that is available as a menu of modules. The base package of the service is an Infrastructure module that covers network monitoring. However, this service can be enhanced by adding on the Network Performance Monitoring module.

Key Features:

  • Network Traffic Monitor: Measures throughput per link
  • Connection Testing: On the network and across the Internet
  • Live Traffic Flow: Visualizes speed per link
  • Bottleneck Identification: Spots traffic chokepoints
  • Protocol Analysis: Identifies the top talkers

Why do we recommend it?

Datadog Network Performance Monitoring is a SaaS package that provides device discovery, network mapping, and traffic analysis. This tool can be slotted together with a Network Device Monitoring service to get full, automated network monitoring. Infrastructure and application monitoring tools on the platform provide the opportunity to create a full-stack monitoring system.

The Network Performance Monitoring module of Datadog adds on analytical functions to the Infrastructure package and includes capacity planning and troubleshooting utilities. While the Infrastructure module looks at device statuses, the Network Performance Monitoring service examines traffic flows .

The Datadog system uses agent software on-site, but all processing and data storage is implemented on the Datadog server. Systems administrators access the Network Performance Monitoring console through any browser in order to see live statistics on current traffic flows on the network. Given that the service is based in the cloud, it can easily monitor remote networks, just as long as that network has the agent module installed on it.

DataDog Network Performance Monitor

The service doesn’t just display live network traffic data. It also stores that information for analysis . Administrators can trace the journey of a packet, view conversations between endpoints, segment traffic statistics per application or per origin or source, and identify the major bandwidth hogs on the network. The service can unify both onsite, cloud-based, and remote networks to give a complete picture of all network traffic generated by the business. The tool includes live network maps with traffic flows shown on them and it is also possible to see overloaded links or bottlenecks.

Who is it recommended for?

Datadog Network Monitoring is reasonably priced and so accessible to any business. The service is charged for by subscription and there is no setup fee. Charges are levied per host, so even the smallest business will be able to afford this package.

  • Network-Wide Performance Tracking: Live throughput volumes
  • Equipment Assessments: Examine load balancer and firewall performance
  • Services Tracking: Assess DNS accuracy and availability
  • Time-Series Traffic Throughput Graphs: Identify the causes of traffic surges
  • Automated Monitoring: Alerts for delivery delays
  • Doesn’t Include Discovery: Requires a subscription to Datadog Infrastructure

Datadog has a single plan level for its Network Performance Monitoring module. Charges are levied per host per month with a discount for paying annually in advance. The service is available for a 15-day free trial .


Datadog Network Performance Monitoring is our top pick for a network diagnostic and troubleshooting tool because it includes a lot of automated activity tracking that takes care of performance analysis for you. The system maps all devices and shows live statuses in the topology layout so you can instantly see where problems are arising. A system of alerts also draws your attention to problematic devices and cuts down the time it would otherwise take you to work out why the network is not operating at peak performance.

Download: Get 15-day FREE Trial

Official Site: www.datadoghq.com/free-datadog-trial/

OS: Cloud-based

2. SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager (FREE TRIAL)

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager

The SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager offers the opportunity to automate system troubleshooting and problem resolution. Busy systems managers often overlook the settings of network devices. The network could be performing badly because you don’t have all of the settings of your devices coordinated. The Network Configuration Manager saves you time by seeking out all devices, the network device health, importing their settings into a central manager, and allowing you to create a standard configuration for each device type and make .

  • Network Discovery: Access network devices
  • Device Protection: Extracts configuration image
  • Archiving: Stores configurations
  • Device Security Monitoring: Checks for unauthorized configuration changes

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager scans a network and identifies all devices. It then enables the network manager to create a standard setup for each type of device and then roll that out. Those authorized configurations are stored by the Network Configuration Manager and then the tool performs constant checks on devices. If any changes occur to settings, the system automatically restores the standard configuration by applying the stored image.

The configuration manager rolls out the standard configurations that you write into the central dashboard. This standardization should fix a lot of the problems that you experience on your network because it will wipe out inappropriate settings for network devices, such as routers and switches that might be slowing down data transfers. Once the standard configurations have been stored, they can only be changed through the password-protected dashboard of the Network Configuration Manager.

This system configuration troubleshooter is an important security tool. Unauthorized intruders can be traced or blocked through the network devices of the network , so altering settings is a common intrusion strategy. The Network Configuration Manager constantly monitors the configurations of all network devices and automatically restores the authorized settings, stored as images, should any change be detected.

Solarwinds Network Configuration Manager

SolarWinds produces a range of IT whole infrastructure monitoring and network management tools, and many of these are created on a common platform, called Orion. This makes it possible for the independent tools to interact, and the Network Configuration Manager is one of these Orion-based utilities. The central network monitoring tool in the suite is the Network Performance Monitor and this is usually the lead utility in any monitoring system, which is complemented by the Network Configuration Manager. However, SolarWinds NCM can also be used as a standalone tool.

This is an on-premises package for Windows Server. There isn’t a scaled down version for small businesses. So, the Network Configuration Manager would be suitable for larger businesses.

  • Blocks Hackers: A security service to block network device tampering
  • Switch Management: Allows all configurations to be standardized
  • Physical Intrusion Detection: Scans for all devices, spotting rogue equipment
  • Uptime Monitoring: Continuous network device availability tests
  • Runs on Windows Server: No Linux version

The Network Configuration Manager is a paid tool. However, SolarWinds makes it available on a 30-day free trial .

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager Start 30-day FREE Trial

The Network Configuration Manager is also part of a super-bundle offered by SolarWinds, called the Network Automation Manager . It includes all of the provider’s network monitoring and management tools. The other modules in the bundle are Network Performance Monitor, Netflow Traffic Analyzer, User Device Tracker, VoIP & Network Quality Manager, IP Address Manager, and SolarWinds High Availability. All of these systems appear in a single console that runs on Windows Server . SolarWinds provides a 30-day free trial of this package.

SolarWinds Network Administration Manager Start a 30-day FREE Trial

3. N-able N-sight (FREE TRIAL)

N-able N-sight

N-able N-sight is a cloud-based remote monitoring and management software package. As this system monitors the network, it also stores metrics for analysis. Having access to all aspects of a system, including endpoints and servers, N-able has many channels of data for diagnostics and troubleshooting.

  • An RMM Package: Monitoring and system management features
  • Automated Network Monitoring: Reduces technician wage bill
  • Full Stack Observability: Networks, servers, and software
  • Unattended Monitoring: Alerts for performance problems

N-able N-sight is a cloud-based service that provides remote monitoring systems for networks, servers, and applications. This service includes a troubleshooting guide that identifies security problems and other issues with networks, endpoints, and software.

Among the benefits offered by N-able N-sight is a service called LOGICcards . This is a data source for a wide range of diagnostic projects. The main value of these feeds lies in security. However, they also give insights into how to improve efficiency and avoid system management mistakes.

LOGICcards gathers data from 5,000,000 endpoints on 4,000,000 networks. Comparing the data extracted from these studies, the LOGICcard system analyzes a network and is able to point out factors and settings that are missing from that system, compared to the organization of the majority of other networks.

Another LOGICcard service is a feed of warnings to look out for, such as patches that cause problems and should be held off or new internet-based scams. A guidance aspect to this service also identifies errors to avoid in network configuration and tips on how to optimize bandwidth usage. Furthermore, the topics covered by a LOGICcard feed adapt according to your responses to past advice.

The dashboard for N-able N-sight is resident on the cloud. It doesn’t require any special equipment to use the service – any standard web browser will do and there is also a N-able N-sight mobile app available.

N-able N-Sight Network Troubleshooting

The N-able brand produces tools for managed service providers (MSPs). The company has two remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools and N-able is one of those. N-able is marketed as a suitable package for small and mid-sized MSPs.

  • SNMP-Based System: Network device discovery and constant performance monitoring
  • Multi-Tenanted Architecture: Designed for use by managed service providers
  • Technician Efficiency Optimization: Task automation scripts
  • Support Request Management: Includes a Help Desk ticketing system
  • Device Management Shortfall: No network configuration management

N-able N-sight is a subscription service. This is a great attraction for startups because there are no upfront costs for getting set up. There are no setup fees and there is no need to fork out for a software package Instead, the subscribing company pays a little each month. Interested potential customers can access a 30-day free trial of N-able N-sight.

N-able N-sight Start 30-day FREE Trial

4. ManageEngine OpManager Plus (FREE TRIAL)

ManageEngine OpManager Plus Business View

ManageEngine OpManager Plus gives you all the tools you need to monitor networks and servers. These tasks are complex and could involve tracking the statuses of containers, virtualization, file storage servers, firewalls, and IP address-related issues. OpManager Plus takes care of all of those tasks and also adds on an application performance monitor to provide the full stack of IT services.

  • Self Setup: Network discovery
  • SNMP-Based System: Device monitoring
  • Flow Protocols: Traffic analysis

ManageEngine OpManager Plus combines automated monitoring for networks and servers. The tool is also a good choice for its VM monitoring capabilities. Troubleshooting tools in the software include troubleshooting tools, such as NetFlow and other packet data extraction protocols.

The OpManager Plus system gives you the tools to scrutinize and manage network devices. The system automatically detects all devices connected to the network, logs them, and then maps the network . The system then provides constant performance monitoring through SNMP .

You also get a bandwidth analyzer with this bundle. You can see live throughput statistics per link and get the system to assess utilization of full capacity. Performance thresholds will generate alerts if tripped. You can channel these through email, SMS, or a service desk ticketing system. The package lets you run tests to ensure constant system availability.

Device management services include an IP address manager that integrates a DHCP and DNS server. You also get a switch port mapper so that you can see exactly how many ports are occupied on each device. A configuration manager lets you standardize the settings of all of your devices, restoring stored configurations automatically in the case of unauthorized tampering.

ManageEngine OpManager Plus Network Troubleshooting

There are five editions for OpManager Plus and these include a Free edition. This monitors networks with only three devices, which could only be for the very smallest businesses. Large organizations and multi-site businesses would benefit from the OpManager Plus system. There is also an edition built for MSPs.

  • System Information Management: Log collection and analysis
  • Network Device Protection: Includes network configuration management
  • Network Address Management: IP address management and port scanning
  • Very Large System: Includes many non-network management systems, such as application monitoring

The software for ManageEngine OpManager Plus installs on Windows Server or Linux . The bundle offers a lot of services and so you will spend a lot of time learning all of its functions. You can perform that investigation for free with a 30-day free trial .

ManageEngine OpManager Plus Start a 30-day FREE Trial

See also: Network Configuration & Backup Tools

5. Site24x7 Network Monitoring (FREE TRIAL)


Site24x7 Network Monitoring discovers all of the devices on a network, creates a hardware inventory, and draws up a network topology map. The package implements continuous device performance monitoring and also records traffic patterns to guard against system overloads.

  • SNMP-Based System: Network discovery
  • Automated System Documentation: Inventory and mapping
  • Netflow Protocols: Traffic analysis

Site24x7 Network Monitoring uses the Simple Network Management Protocol to identify all devices and create a map. The inventory and map help with troubleshooting but the package goes further, offering alerts when problems are detected, allowing time to fix problems and identifying where the issue lies. The bundle also provides Ping and Traceroute utilities to test connections.

The device agents scan each switch and router and raise alarms when faults are discovered. These alarms get translated into alerts in the Site24x7 dashboard. A traffic monitoring unit in the Site24x7 package will also generate alerts if traffic volumes rise close to the full capacity of a switch interface. The Site24x7 system can be set up to forward alerts as notifications to technicians by SMS, voice call, email, or Slack message.

site24x7 Network Monitor

The alerts of the Site24x7 Network Monitoring service provide immediate root cause analysis if network problems arise, so many times, there won’t be any need for troubleshooting. However, the package also includes Ping and Traceroute utilities.

Site24x7 offers SaaS packages and all of them include the network monitoring system. You can’t subscribe to just the Network Monitoring unit by itself. Other utilities in the plans include server and application monitoring systems and also network configuration management and log management.

The Site24x7 platform is accessible for any size of business. Plans are offered in a base package with capacity expansions available. The based package is sized and priced to be suitable for small businesses but the expansion upgrades make it suitable for larger companies as well.

  • Automated Status Tracking: Constant SNMP-based device monitoring
  • Bandwidth Analysis: Traffic  flow protocols
  • Device Protection: Network configuration management
  • Deceptively Low Prices: Base packages are suitable for small businesses and larger companies have to pay for capacity expansions

The Site24x7 plans offer different capacities of each module but all editions include all of the modules on the platform. There is even a plan for use by managed service providers. You can experience Site24x7 with a 30-day free trial .

Site24x7 Network Monitoring Start a 30-day FREE Trial

6. Paessler Network Troubleshooting with PRTG

Paessler Network Troubleshooting with PRTG

Paessler’s PRTG is a complete monitoring system. It can help you with troubleshooting because it can diagnose network issues right down the protocol stack and identify the root of the problem. Port monitoring is one of the network diagnostics techniques that you can use with this tool.

  • Flexible Package: Buyer decides which services to activate
  • SNMP-Based Monitoring: Automated device status detection
  • Traffic Flow Protocols: Bandwidth monitoring

Paessler PRTG is a very large package of monitors that include network, server, and application monitors and has sensors for network troubleshooting including Ping implementations and a TraceRoute facility.

The PRTG system includes two port monitoring sensors . One homes in on a specified port on a particular device, the other will check a range of port numbers. This tool only monitors TCP ports. The port range sensor has one extra feature that the single port sensor does not have. You can set it to check the port with TLS protection. Both sensors report on the response time of the port and whether it is open or closed.

Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

PRTG includes network traffic analysis tools to help you troubleshoot delivery speeds. The tool includes a range of traffic monitoring techniques including route tracing to a destination with Traceroute and a Ping sweep , which will give you the response times to each node on your network. A packet-sniffing utility can tell you which applications and endpoints are producing excessive traffic and you can query the health of the network devices to see which are congested to the point of queuing.

Paessler built a tool that covers servers and applications as well as network statuses, port response times, and services to monitor all conditions that can cause software performance issues. If you’ve got VMs on your network, PRTG can sort through their underlying connections, services, servers, and operating software. That monitoring is constant, so you will be able to trace back through events to spot the source of any performance issues.

PRTG is a flexible package. All customers get the same software bundle containing thousands of monitoring tools, which are called “sensors.” Each buyer decides how many sensors to turn on and the price for the package is levied as an allowance of sensors. This is a good package for large businesses and small companies can use the system for free if they only turn on 100 sensors.

  • Free for Small Businesses: No charge for 100 sensors
  • System Documentation: Network discovery inventory creation, and mapping
  • Uptime Monitoring: Device availability checks
  • Device Protection Shortfall: No network configuration management

Paessler delivers PRTG as a cloud service or you can install the diagnostic software on your premises. The tool installs on Windows Server environments. You can use the system for free for up to 100 sensors.

Ping is the ideal command to use when you need to confirm network connectivity, at the IP level, between two hosts, or to confirm the TCP/IP stack is working on your local machine. A successful ping confirms network connectivity between the two hosts and it also gives reports on packet loss.

  • Availability Monitoring: Connectivity test
  • Connection Quality: Jitter indicators
  • Connection Speed: Roundtrip time

Ping is built into every operating system and it is the basis of many of the network monitoring and troubleshooting systems on this list. The utility can tell you the time a packet takes to get to a specific destination across a network or across the internet. It will also give you information on jitter and packet loss.

Using Ping with Examples

Below is an example of a successful run of the ping command to the “google.com” remote host.

In addition to confirming IP connectivity to “google.com”, these results confirm that we are able to properly resolve domain names (i.e. DNS is working on the local machine).

That Loss figure that you see in the last line of the ping output is the number of lost packets followed by the packet loss rate in brackets.

A few pro-tips for working with the ping command for advanced troubleshooting:

  • Use ping –t to ping a host continuously. For example:

would continue to ping google.com until the ping was interrupted. Press control-c (the “CTRL” and “C” keys) to end a continuous ping.

  • If you cannot ping domain names like google.com, but you can ping IP addresses on the Internet like (Google’s DNS servers), you may have a DNS-related problem.
  • If you cannot ping IP addresses on the Internet like, but you can ping hosts on your Local Area Network (LAN), you may have a problem with your default gateway.
  • You can use “ping localhost”, “ping::1”, or “ping” to test the TCP/IP stack on your local machine. “localhost” is a name that resolves to one of the loopback addresses of a local machine, “::1” is an IPv6 loopback address, and “” is an IPv4 loopback address.

Ping is a part of every network engineer’s toolkit. It is free to use and provides quick answers.

  • Familiar to Many: Commonly-used network tester
  • Cost Saver: Free to use
  • Variants Available:  Provide repeated tests or range tests
  • Basic Display: A command line tool without graphics

Tracert is similar to ping, except it leverages Time To Live (TTL) values to show how many “hops” there are between two hosts. This makes it a helpful tool in determining where a network connectivity breakdown is occurring. Basically, tracert helps you understand if the router or network that is down between your computer and a remote host is one you control or not.

  • Traceroute: Implemented as the tracert command
  • Path Tests: Exploits the Border Gateway Protocol
  • Local and Global Tests: Network or internet testing

Tracert is the Command Prompt implementation of TraceRoute and it provides a list of nodes across the internet to a given destination. While this can’t tell you the exact path that previous transmissions have taken, it follows the path that routing algorithms currently use to reach a destination and shows the transmission times to each node.

Using tracert with examples

Again using google.com as an example, we can see there were 10 hops between our PC and google.com.

TraceRoute is available on all operating systems. While it is implemented by the tracert command on Windows, it is called traceroute on Linux, macOS, and Unix. The tool is free to use and accessible to all network managers.

  • End-to-End Testing: Checks a path to a given destination
  • Connection Speed: Shows transmission time to each node
  • Spots Rerouting: Identifies problematic devices
  • Doesn’t Repeat History: Can’t guarantee to exactly trace a previously used path

9. Ipconfig

Determining the IP settings on your computer is an essential part of network troubleshooting. The ipconfig command helps you do just that. Entering ipconfig at a command prompt will return IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, subnets, and default gateways for all network adapters on a PC. This can help determine if your computer has the right IP configuration. Additionally, ipconfig can be used to change or update selected IP settings.

  • Quick Command: Show interface settings
  • Network Addressing: DHCP controls
  • Service Tests: DNS management

Ipconfig is another widely-used free command line utility for troubleshooting networks. The tool shows the addressing information for each network interface on the computer. It will also show the gateway address and the address for the network’s DHCP and DNS servers.

Pro-tips for working with ipconfig:

  • If ipconfig returns an IP address that starts with 169.254 (e.g., your PC is likely configured for DHCP but was unable to receive an IP address from a DHCP server.
  • Use ipconfig /all to get the full TCP/IP configuration information for all network adapters and interfaces.
  • Use ipconfig /release to release the current DHCP assigned network parameters.
  • Use ipconfig /renew to renew the current DHCP assigned network parameters.
  • Use ipconfig /flushdns to clear the DNS cache when troubleshooting name resolution issues.

Ipconfig is free to use and already installed on your computer. On Linux, macOS, and Unix, it is called ifconfig.

  • No Cost: A free utility to show and update IP addresses
  • Basic Controls: Can reset address allocations
  • Service Verification: Checks on DNS records
  • Basic Display: No graphical interface

10. Netstat

Netstat allows you to display active connections on your local machine. This can be helpful when determining why users are unable to connect to a given application on a server or to determine what connections are made to remote hosts from a computer. Entering netstat at the command prompt will display all active TCP connections. Adding parameters to the netstat command will extend or alter the functionality.

  • Transmission Control: Port statuses
  • Path Analysis: IP routing table
  • Dual Stack: IPv4 and IPv6

Netstat lists all the connections that are currently live on the computer on which the command is run. The output show every TCP and UDP port that is currently active, even though the connection might be in a closed state.

netstat commands & example

Here are a few helpful netstat commands and what they do:

  • netstat –a displays all active TCP connections and the TCP and UDP ports a computer is listening on.
  • netstat –n displays all active TCP connections just like the netstat command, but it does not attempt to translate addresses or port numbers to names and just displays the numerical values.
  • netstat –o displays all active TCP connections and includes the process ID (PID) for the process using each connection.

You can combine different parameters to extend the functionality of netstat. For example,

would display all active TCP connections and the TCP and UDP ports a computer is listening on, use numerical values, and report the PID associated with the connections.

Every network administrator will probably use this tool at some point in time. The tool is free to use and it is built into the operating system for Windows, Linux, macOS, and Unix.

  • No Cost: Free utility
  • Command Line Options: Filterable results
  • Constant Monitoring: Can run continuously
  • Command Line Tool: No graphical interface

11. Nslookup

nslookup is a useful command-line utility that enables DNS troubleshooting and diagnostics. Nslookup is available on Windows and *nix operating systems. There are a variety of use cases for this flexible utility and it can be run in interactive mode or by entering commands directly at the command prompt.

To help you get started, we’ll review some nslookup commands that are helpful in three of the most common use cases: finding an IP address based on a domain name, finding a domain name based on an IP address, and looking up email servers for a domain.

  • Service Testing: Queries DNS records
  • Basic Display: Command line tool
  • No Cost: Free to use

Nslookup is a command for DNS checks – the name is short for “name server lookup.” With this tool, you can identify the mapping between hostnames and IP addresses on a local network. By entering a remote IP address or Web domain, you can see details from the global DNS service.

Below are examples of how to do each from a Windows command prompt.

Finding an IP address based on a domain name with nslookup:

The output above shows us that the DNS server used on our local machine was ns2.dns.mydns.net and since ns2.dns.mydns.net is not an authoritative name server on Google’s domain, we get a “Non-authoritative answer”. If we wanted to specify a different DNS server in our query, we simply add the DNS server’s domain name or IP address after the command, like this (using the DNS server from CloudFlare ).

Finding a domain name based on an IP address with nslookup

Finding a domain name based on an IP address is similar to the previous process, you simply use an IP address instead of the domain name after the “nslookup” command. For example to find out what the fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) for the IP address is we would use the command below:

Based on the output, we can see that the FQDN associated with is “google-public-dns-a.google.com” which makes sense given is one of the two popular public DNS servers available from Google .

Looking up email servers for a domain with nslookup

Sometimes you may need to determine what email servers are available on a domain. To do that, we simply need to specify that we are looking for MX records using the –ty switch. In the example below, we’ll check what mail servers are returned for gmail.com:

Here, five mail servers were returned along with an MX preference value. The lower the MX preference value, the higher the priority of that server (i.e. those servers should be used first).

Network managers would use nslookup to ensure that the local DNS server is working and also to test for DNS entry errors for Wen properties. The free tool is built into the operating system for Windows, Linux, macOS, and Unix.

  • Domain Name Resolution: Shows the domain name for an IP address
  • Run for Research: Interactive mode
  • Network and Internet: Local or Web domains
  • Limited Functionality: Not a full system monitoring package

12. Uptrends Uptime Monitor

speed up down trends

Uptrends offers a menu of website monitoring and testing services from its cloud platform. The Uptrends Uptime Monitor is a free service that can be accessed at the Uptrends website.

The free Uptime Monitor offers a choice of locations from which your site can be tested. It is possible to opt for tests to be run from all of the locations that Uptrends offers.

  • Great for Small Businesses: Free on-demand website test
  • Multiple Launch Sites: Tests from 40 locations
  • Extensive Service: 233 servers around the globe

Uptrends Uptime Monitor is a testing service for internet connections. It specifically takes a Web domain as input, so its checks also extend to DNS testing. You can use this tool for free for on-demand availability tests, which can be launched from a long list of locations. You can get the tests to run recursively every minute if you sign up for a paid account.

Uptrends Uptime Monitor website monitoring troubleshooting

The free tool is an on-demand testing system and will give you the status of your site from many locations at that moment. It is possible to remind yourself to rerun the test and keep hitting the button. However, it is more practical to get the Uptrends service to repeat its tests automatically.

Uptrends provides automated testing that will launch every minute. The automated service is not free. You can leave that tool to make constant checks on your site’s availability – it will send you an alert if it encounters problems.

If you run a website, you will need to know if it is available, so it is worth going for the paid account. This will notify you if the site goes offline. The tests launch from different locations around the globe, which is a necessary service for websites that use caching servers for delivery speed optimization or content delivery networks.

  • Quick Uptime Check: Free single launch test
  • Long-Term Uptime Monitoring: Paid repetitive availability tests
  • Automated Reporting: Alerts for failed tests
  • Reporting Limits: Doesn’t provide page load speeds

The paid packages of Uptrends include internal server monitoring as well as uptime tests. You also get real user monitoring that tracks the responses of your site and its services to visitors. The system is offered in five plans: Starter , Premium , Professiona l, Business , and Enterprise . Each higher plan has more features. You can try all of the features of Uptrends on a 30-day free trial .

13. Sysinternals

The Sysinternals networking utilities suite from Microsoft offers advanced network diagnostic and troubleshooting tools to Windows administrators that require advanced network diagnostic and troubleshooting tools. The Sysinternals utilities include tools that can help troubleshoot and configure Active Directory (AD), like AD Explorer and AD Insight .

  • Handy Tools: A suite of utilities
  • Connectivity Tests: PowerShell Ping
  • Web Research: Whois lookup

Sysinternals is a large package of useful system management utilities for Windows. This is a useful free bundle of tools that are versions of systems that you can get elsewhere, such as Ping and Whois. However, it’s nice to have a package that has all of these tools in one place.

Other tools can help measure network performance ( PsPing ), scan file shares ( ShareEnum ), list or run processes remotely ( PsTools ), and more. If you only require one or a few of the Sysinternals utilities, you can install them separately as opposed to downloading the entire Sysinternals Suite.

Systems administrators will like this package, not just network managers because the bundle includes some nice utilities for managing Active Directory as well as tools to troubleshoot networks.

  • No Cost: A free package of system administration tools
  • Access Rights Management: Utilities for Active Directory queries
  • System Performance: Process examiner
  • Not a Full Network Monitoring Package: Only one network troubleshooting tool

14. Wireshark

Wireshark is a protocol analyzer and one of the go-to networking tools for organizations of all sizes when network issues need to be troubleshot with a high level of granularity.

The benefit of using Wireshark to analyze network traffic is that you will be able to view the raw network packets, and this will often allow you to identify the root cause of an issue. This can be especially helpful in situations where it is unclear which application is not doing what it is supposed to or when you try to reverse engineer the functionality of a poorly-documented program.

  • Traffic Analysis: Packet capture
  • Data Selection: Filtering and query language
  • Easy to Read: Color-coded packet display

Wireshark is an iconic packet sniffer and analyzer. Any network engineering course includes a section on the use of Wireshark. This system includes its own filter language that can be applied to packet collection to reduce the large volume of data that it extracts. The same filter language can be applied to search through packet data.

The tradeoff here is that you will have a lot of data to parse through, so some technical knowledge may be required to drill down and identify the important information.

You can download Wireshark for free here .

Wireshark dashboard

On Windows operating systems, link-layer packet captures with WireShark are often made possible using Winpcap (either Winpcap or Npcap is required). In addition to enabling WireShark on Windows, Winpcap can enable the powerful Windump command line utility which is Windows answer to the popular tcpdump program found on many *nix operating systems. For a deeper dive on Winpcap, Windump, and tcpdump, check out our recent article on packet sniffers and network analyzers and download the tcpdump cheat sheet .

Wireshark is an excellent tool for processing packet data. However, it’s analytical features are limited. There are a number of other tools that work well with Wireshark to create an even better data analysis system. The data search system Elasticsearch is free to use and it comes with complementary modules for logfile management and data display. Together this suite is called the Elastic Stack .

The illustration below shows how the Elastic Stack can be used with Wireshark to create an improved data analysis system from components that cost nothing.

Wireshark Setup

Although this setup looks complicated, all of the tools shown in this diagram are designed to work together and the Elasticsearch website includes guides on how to put this system together.

Any network manager that doesn’t already know about Wireshark should download it and learn it because this is an essential tool and experience in using it is career-enhancing. The tool is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Unix.

  • Multiple OSs: Available for Windows, macOS, and Linux
  • Two-Way Tracing: Can trace a conversation
  • Use with Caution: Can generate very large files


Nmap is a popular security auditing and network exploration tool released under a custom open source license based on GPLv2. While the most popular use cases for nmap are security scans and penetration testing, it can prove quite helpful as a network troubleshooting tool as well.

  • Research Tool: Network discovery
  • Identification: Endpoint fingerprinting
  • Security Monitor: Port scanning

Nmap is another classic that has a long history and so has a lot of fans. It is known to be used by hackers as well as network managers to explore a network and discover all devices. The tool is a command line utility and is a little difficult to use. Get the GUI Zenmap add-on to see a graphical network map.

For example, if you are dealing with an unfamiliar app and want to find out what services are running and which ports are open, nmap can help. Nmap itself uses a command-line interface (CLI), but that doesn’t mean you are out of luck if you prefer a graphical user interface (GUI). Zenmap is the official nmap GUI and is a good way for beginners to start working with nmap.

nmap zenmap network troubleshooting

Nmap doesn’t just map a network, it also performs monitoring. It can be a good tool for checking on all devices, spotting rogue devices, and identifying those that are offline. The tool is free to use. However, getting the free PRTG gives you a much better discovery and mapping service than Zenmap and Nmap offer.

  • Network Management Service: Useful for security auditing
  • Issue Investigations: Network probing and troubleshooting
  • Service Verification: DNS searching
  • Command Line Tool: Needs Zenmap for a graphical display

For more on Zenmap and a deeper dive on nmap, check out our Best Free Port Checkers article.

Choosing a network diagnostics & troubleshooting tool

The tools we discussed here are great to have in your network troubleshooting toolbox and we recommend giving some of them a try the next time you find yourself dealing with a head-scratching network troubleshooting scenario. Did you try out our Editor’s choice – SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager ? Did we leave any of your favorite network troubleshooting tools out, or do you have questions about the tools we mentioned here? Let us know in the comments section below.

Related post: PingPlotter Alternatives

Network Diagnostics & Troubleshooting FAQs

What are the six steps of the troubleshooting process.

Follow a formalized routine when troubleshooting networks:

  • Identify the problem.
  • Make an educated guess of the possible cause of the problem.
  • Explore the system to check whether your idea is valid.
  • Identify system elements in error; plan and implement remediation steps.
  • Check that the solution worked and change procedures to prevent the problem from happening again.
  • Document the problem, the solution, and recommendations for procedural change.

Steps 2 and 3 might need to be carried out recursively until you hit the problem. The documentation step is ongoing throughout the troubleshooting process with note-taking to contribute to an accurate record once the entire process is complete.

What causes intermittent network connection issues?

There are many possible causes for intermittent network connection issues:

  • Unreliable power source
  • Environmental interference
  • Queueing on a network device
  • A network device overloaded
  • A faulty network device
  • IP address renewal
  • IP address duplication
  • DNS server errors
  • Firewall software hanging
  • Network software jamming
  • Hacker attack
  • Automatic update of firmware taking a device offline
  • Interruption of external networks, e.g., the internet
  • Loose cable plug in an endpoint or network device
  • Damaged network cable
  • Loose wiring
  • Multiple domain server clashes
  • Lack of storage space on devices for traffic processing or logging
  • Security software blocking activity

Which utility or LAN command do you feel was the most useful for network troubleshooting?

Ping and Traceroute are the two LAN commands most often used for network troubleshooting. Ping shows whether an endpoint is contactable. Traceroute shows the most likely path to that endpoint. These two commonly used network utilities are usually integrated into most network monitors.

What are the most common issues that affect network performance and reliability?

The most common issues that affect network performance are:

  • Power source problems
  • Network device faults
  • Network cable faults
  • Defective cable connectors
  • System overloading
  • QoS prioritization
  • Incompatible network settings on different devices
  • Addressing issues
  • Security software
  • Hacker or intruder activity

2 Comments Leave a comment

I know this was written a few months ago, but what do you think of PingPlotter Pro? Why did it not make the list of best network troubleshooting software?

Just curious . . .

Hi Ben, Thanks for the reply. The simple answer is: I’ve never used PingPlotter Pro. Topically, it looks like a useful monitoring tool that can also have some troubleshooting benefits. What use cases do you think it is best for?

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12 Best Network Troubleshooting Tools for 2024

Explore the top network troubleshooting tools that empower IT professionals to diagnose and resolve network issues effectively. This blog reviews the best tools for 2024, ensuring smooth network operations and optimal performance.


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Navigating the complexities of modern networks requires a robust set of skills and tools, especially as we move into 2024. Network troubleshooting tools have become indispensable assets for IT professionals, ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of network infrastructure. As businesses increasingly rely on uninterrupted network service, understanding and utilizing these tools is not just beneficial; it's imperative. 

The landscape of network troubleshooting tools is continuously evolving, with each year bringing more advanced and user-friendly solutions. For network administrators and IT personnel, staying updated with these tools is crucial for quick and effective problem-solving. This blog will explore the essential network troubleshooting tools that every professional should be aware of in 2024. By understanding their functions and benefits, you'll be better equipped to handle the challenges of modern network management and ensure your organization's network is robust and reliable.

Table of Contents

1) Essential Network Troubleshooting Tools for 2024

     a) Nslookup

     b) Ping

     c) Traceroute / Tracert

     d) Ipconfig / Ifconfig

     e) Speed Test

     f) IP Scanner

     g) Whois

     h) Netstat

     i) Browse

     j) Telnet/SSH

     k) Subnet and IP Calculator

     l) PuTTY/Tera Term

     m) Netstat

2) Conclusion

Essential Network Troubleshooting Tools for 2024

Network troubleshooting tools are vital in diagnosing and resolving the myriad of issues that can plague 2024's complex network infrastructures. These tools are not just about fixing immediate problems; they are about ensuring reliability, efficiency, and security in an increasingly interconnected world. From simple utilities like ping and traceroute to more advanced software offering comprehensive analytics, each tool serves a crucial role in a network technician's arsenal. Understanding these tools is essential for anyone responsible for maintaining the health and integrity of a network, making them indispensable in the modern IT landscape.

1) Nslookup

Nslookup is a command-line tool used for querying Domain Name System (DNS) servers to obtain domain name or IP address mapping information.

a) Key features & 2024 updates: Recent updates have focused on improving response time and accuracy.

b) Use cases: Essential for diagnosing DNS issues and ensuring proper domain resolution.

c) Pros and cons: Quick and easy to use but limited to DNS queries.

d) Additional notes: Works on most operating systems.

Ping measures the round-trip time for messages sent from the originating host to a destination computer.

a) Key features & 2024 updates: Modern versions provide more detailed network quality metrics.

b) Use cases: Commonly used to check the availability of a host on an IP network.

c) Pros and cons: Simple and effective, though it doesn't diagnose the nature of network problems.

c) Additional notes: Nearly universal in its availability and use.

3) Traceroute / Tracert

Traceroute/tracert helps trace the path taken by packets across an IP network.

a) Key features & 2024 updates: Enhanced to provide more detailed route information.

b) Use cases: Useful for identifying where delays or losses occur in the network.

c) Pros and cons: Offers a detailed route path but can be slow and doesn't work well with all types of networks.

d)  Additional notes: Different versions exist for Windows (tracert) and Unix/Linux (traceroute).

4) Ipconfig / Ifconfig

Ipconfig (Windows) and ifconfig (Unix/Linux) display network configuration details.

a) Key features & 2024 updates: Recent versions offer improved diagnostics and support for newer protocols.

b) Use cases: Used for viewing and setting IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway.

c) Pros and cons: Provides quick snapshot of current network configuration but limited in scope.

d) Additional notes: Fundamental command-line tool for network troubleshooting.  

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5) Speed Test

Speed test tools measure internet connection speed and quality.

a) Key features & 2024 updates: Modern tools now offer more detailed latency and jitter analysis.

b) Use cases: Critical for diagnosing internet performance issues.

c) Pros and cons: Easy to use and understand but can vary based on numerous external factors.

d) Additional notes: Numerous online tools are available for this purpose.

6) IP Scanner

IP scanners detect all network devices and their IP addresses.

Key features of IP Scanner

a) Key features & 2024 updates: Enhanced scanning speed and device recognition capabilities.

b) Use cases: Ideal for network inventory and security auditing.

c) Pros and cons: Provides comprehensive network device information but can be complex for beginners.

d) Additional notes: Several free and paid versions are available with varying features.

Whois is used to query databases that store registered users or assignees of an internet resource.

a) Key features & 2024 updates: Updated to provide more comprehensive domain and IP ownership details.

b) Use cases: Essential for identifying domain ownership and resolving IP conflicts.

c) Pros and cons: Rich in information but can be overwhelming for new users.

d) Additional notes: Available as a command-line tool and through various online services.

Netstat displays network connections, routing tables, and a number of network interface statistics.

a) Key features & 2024 updates: Recent updates offer enhanced filtering and output options.

b) Use cases: Used to monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic.

c) Pros and cons: Provides detailed information but can be complex to interpret.

d) Additional notes: Commonly available in most operating systems.

The "Browse" tool allows users to explore websites and resources on the internet.

Pros and cons of Browse

a) Key features & 2024 updates: Continuously updated to support the latest web technologies.

b) Use cases: Essential for verifying web content and diagnosing internet connectivity issues.

c) Pros and cons: User-friendly but doesn't provide deep network diagnostics.

d) Additional notes: Included in most web browsers.

10) Telnet/SSH

Telnet and SSH are network protocols used for remote access to servers and network devices.

a) Key features & 2024 updates: Enhanced security features and support for modern encryption standards.

b) Use cases: Vital for remote administration and configuration of network equipment.

c) Pros and cons: Powerful remote access tools but require proper security measures.

d) Additional notes: Telnet is less secure compared to SSH.

11) Subnet and IP Calculator

Subnet and IP calculators assist in subnetting and IP address calculations.

a) Key features & 2024 updates: Improved user interfaces and support for IPv6.

b) Use cases: Crucial for network design and addressing scheme planning.

c) Pros and cons: Simplifies complex calculations but may not be needed for basic network tasks.

d) Additional notes: Various online and offline calculators are available.

12) PuTTY/Tera Term

PuTTY and Tera Term are popular SSH and Telnet clients for remote server access.

a) Key features & 2024 updates: Frequent updates ensure compatibility with modern systems.

b) Use cases: Widely used for managing servers and network devices remotely.

c) Pros and cons: Lightweight and versatile, but may require some configuration.

d) Additional notes: PuTTY is a Windows-based tool, while Tera Term is open-source.

In conclusion, network troubleshooting tools are indispensable resources for maintaining the integrity and efficiency of modern networks. As we enter 2024, these tools continue to evolve, offering enhanced capabilities and features. Embracing and mastering these tools is crucial for IT professionals to ensure seamless network operations and rapid issue resolution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Network troubleshooting tools are software utilities and protocols designed to diagnose and resolve issues within computer networks. They assist in identifying network problems, optimizing performance, and ensuring reliable connectivity.

Network administrators and IT professionals use a variety of tools, including ping, traceroute, ipconfig/ifconfig, Nslookup, Speed Test, IP scanners, and more, depending on the nature of the issue.

Network troubleshooting tools are essential for maintaining network health. They help detect and address issues promptly, reducing downtime, enhancing security, and ensuring optimal network performance.

Network troubleshooting involves a systematic approach. Start by identifying the issue, using relevant tools to diagnose the problem, and implementing solutions. Detailed guides for each tool can help streamline the process.

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On sprawling enterprise networks, it becomes increasingly difficult for network administrators and developers to identify and correct every issue that arises. In reality, even if these professionals had the time to correct all network problems, their energy and expertise could be better spent on more strategic and complex initiatives for the network. 

Network troubleshooting and diagnostic tools work to support these professionals with automated detection and basic problem-solving for network performance. Read on to better understand what network troubleshooting and network diagnostic tools do and what some top vendors offer their customers.

Table of Contents

What Are Network Troubleshooting Tools?

Network troubleshooting tools are tools that, in addition to offering other basic network monitoring features, identify and correct problems across the network and its various endpoints. Network troubleshooting tools look for network disruptions and anomalies and work to follow service level agreements (SLAs) so that the network runs quickly, efficiently, securely, and compliantly.

More on compliance: Five Tips for Managing Compliance on Enterprise Networks

How Do Network Diagnostics Tools Work?

Network diagnostic tools offer a variety of support features to network administrators, but how do they work? Most diagnostic tools follow these steps to make sure network performance is optimized and disrupted as minimally as possible:

  • Probes are installed for network visibility and tracking. Probes can either be software plug-ins native to your selected diagnostic tool or they can be installed on the specific network endpoints you’re wanting to manage.
  • The diagnostic tool begins packet analysis and an initial scan in different networking components where a probe is present.
  • Network administrators can now review the metrics the diagnostic tool offers after scans are complete. Revealed metrics frequently include network availability, response times, data volume, traffic quantity, and traffic anomalies.

Learn about assessing network performance at the application level: The Importance of Application Performance Management (APM) for Cloud-based Networks

How to Choose a Network Diagnostic Tool

Some network troubleshooting and diagnostic tools are open source, command-line tools that are flexible enough to work on a variety of platforms, but many of these tools don’t offer the same in-depth insights and automations on their own until they’re integrated with a bigger platform. More holistic network troubleshooting and diagnostic tools, on the other hand, will offer a variety of analytics and support features , and they will also improve the user experience with network traffic and behavior maps that help to identify network bottlenecks visually.

Regardless of the type of tool or collection of tools that you think you want, consider these common network diagnostic tool features, and more importantly, make sure you know which ones are most important to your business and if they’re available in your preferred tools:

  • Open- vs. closed-source format
  • Administrative dashboards
  • Data visualizations with real-time performance updates
  • Reporting with user-friendly designs and templates
  • Packet sniffing
  • Granular notification settings and automations
  • Historical data storage and tracking
  • Network performance monitoring
  • Support for network security and compliance standards
  • Mobile application access for administrators
  • Device management and detection
  • Support for third-party integrations

Best Network Troubleshooting & Diagnostics Tools

Paessler network troubleshooting with prtg.

Paessler PRTG Screenshot.

Paessler Network Troubleshooting with PRTG offers a comprehensive approach to network diagnostics with several strengths in the areas of third-party integrations and interoperability. Their expertise in sensors helps enterprise network teams to quickly narrow troubleshooting to granular areas of the network. The platform is also compatible with more sensor types than its competitors, including Cisco sensors.

PRTG is a top solution for companies that need extensive support in the setup phase; their auto-discovery and device templates simplify the deployment process for many users. Although some users think the data visualization and user interface could be improved on this tool, there’s no shortage of reports, templates, and tutorials to ensure that users have a good experience with PRTG.

  • SNMP Traffic and NetFlow v5 sensor
  • Packet Sniffer sensor
  • SNMP CPU Load and WMI Memory sensors
  • Traffic data filtered by IP address, protocol, and application
  • 250+ preconfigured sensors for hardware, cloud services, and other quality assurance needs

Pro: This tool is considered easy to deploy and comes with several free and/or low-cost support services.

Con: Some users have expressed that the user interface is outdated; the data visualizations in particular could use some updates.

Pricing: A freeware version of PRTG is available for up to 100 sensors. Depending on the number and types of sensors you need, contact the Paessler sales team for more information.

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager

Solarwinds network configuration manager screenshot

SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager (NCM) is one of many top network management solutions offered by SolarWinds. The feature of NCM that is most helpful for network troubleshooting goals is the VLAN Configuration feature. The tool makes VLAN configuration highly customizable, with device-agnostic, reusable configuration templates that can be used for a variety of endpoints. 

Once templates, parameters, and directives are selected and in operation, the NCM automates change commands that match these specific requirements. Especially for enterprises that are frequently getting started with new or updated services, NCM’s deployment strategy will save your team considerable time.

  • Granular and customizable alert scripts for backup commands, historic network configuration changes, and anomalous event tracking
  • Machine learning (ML) applied for real-time VLAN configuration detection and follow-up messaging
  • Network Assessment feature for streamlined network auditing and device inventory management
  • Configuration change monitoring, automated alerts, and compliance-focused auditing
  • Network device firmware management, scanning, and automatically deployed updates

Pro: NCM offers some of the most detailed alerts and event logs to its customers, with device-level metrics in a digestible format.

Con: Although SolarWinds NCM is compatible with a variety of other SolarWinds tools, customers have concerns about the limited third-party integrations available.

Pricing: SolarWinds offers both subscription and perpetual licensing to its customers. For more information on licenses and pricing, contact the SolarWinds sales team.

Microsoft Network Diagnostic Tool

Microsoft Network Diagnostic Tool screenshot.

Microsoft Network Diagnostic Tool is a simple network troubleshooting and diagnostic tool for Microsoft products and services. Although it does not offer the most holistic diagnostic suite and is only compatible with Microsoft and Windows, this tool offers administrators considerable data and automation, particularly for a free tool that can easily be installed on network devices. Considering how many enterprises use Microsoft products in their business operations, this tool is frequently deployed to simplify network management and increase endpoint visibility.

  • Speed and ping tests
  • Connection monitoring with port and external port scanning
  • Compatible with Windows Firewall Management and Network Management
  • LAN chatting feature available
  • CLI access for administrative users

Pro: For Microsoft users, this diagnostic tool offers a simple interface for a variety of data sources, including files, peripheral devices, apps, and programs.

Con: The functions of this tool are limited strictly to Microsoft products and the Windows OS.

Pricing: This is a free network diagnostic solution offered by Microsoft.

Auvik Screenshot

Auvik is one of the simpler tools on this list with a strong focus on logging and root cause analysis.  It is a cloud-based network diagnostics solution that is highly praised for its speed and accuracy, as well as its easy-to-understand data visualizations. Visualizations in particular are a top feature for Auvik, as customers have the ability to manipulate their network maps and models to exactly what they need; it is a strong option for teams that have less experience building out and interpreting network data on an enterprise scale.

  • Root cause analysis offered through real-time device logs
  • AES-256 network data encryption
  • Auto-discovery for a variety of network assets and endpoints
  • Pre-configured monitoring, alerts, and notifications
  • Focused anomaly detection and alerts with traffic analysis tools

Pro: Auvik offers strong and holistic network visibility, particularly through its robust network mapping features.

Con: Some users have commented on the limitations of Auvik’s reporting features.

Pricing: Auvik offers Essentials and Performance pricing packages to its customers. Learn more about pricing here .

ManageEngine OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager Screenshot.

ManageEngine OpManager offers a variety of other solutions and use cases beyond network diagnostics, but its support for diagnostics and troubleshooting is a strong feature for finding network problems in switches, routers, servers, and storage devices. Particularly at the server level, OpManager is helpful because it allows administrators to set performance thresholds from initial deployment, which makes notifications about potential network problems more accurate and timely.

The user interface for OpManager is also friendlier than most tools in the diagnostics market. With simple and customizable data visualizations and a clear administrative dashboard, this tool works for a full spectrum of network management experience levels.

  • LAN troubleshooting for 10 to 10,000 network devices
  • Prebuilt reports and UX-driven dashboards
  • Troubleshooting and problem alerts sent via email, SMS, Slack, and ticketing
  • Natively includes troubleshooting tools like Ping, SNMP Ping, Proxy Ping, Traceroute, WMI Query Tool, and CLI Query Tool
  • Monitoring metrics include response time, hardware specifications, and packet loss

Pro: OpManager not only focuses on network diagnostics but also offers several tools and features for follow-up network optimization needs.

Con: OpManager has frequent point releases to update its features, but these new features often come with bugs that aren’t resolved immediately.

Pricing: Pricing information is available upon request from the ManageEngine sales team.

NetSpot Screenshot.

NetSpot is a diagnostics and troubleshooting solution that focuses on creating wireless site surveys, primarily for local area networks (LANs). Although this is a great tool for understanding how an existing network is functioning and where problems lie, this is actually a top solution for creating an optimized plan before launching a new network. The Wi-Fi site survey that NetSpot offers can help networking professionals determine where cables, antennas, and other important networking equipment should go for the best service. These site surveys and the data visualizations they produce will continue to be useful as the network grows and new service bottlenecks need to be corrected.

  • Compatible with Mac OS X and Windows
  • Wireless site surveys to determine channel interference and dead zones in a network
  • Surveys produce data visualizations and Wi-Fi maps for network planning
  • Troubleshooting visualizations include connectivity and wireless interference, noise locations, and Wi-FI configuration problems
  • Ability to check security settings on various endpoints, including those for Open, WEP, and WPA/WPA2 Personal/Enterprise

Pro: NetSpot supports a variety of Wi-Fi security goals, including rogue access point identification, unauthorized workstation and user detection, and elimination of false-positive alerts.

Con: The free version of this solution offers only limited data on network metrics like dead zones.

Pricing: NetSpot comes in four different pricing package options: NetSpot FREE Edition, Home, PRO, and Enterprise. Learn more about pricing here .

Wireshark Screenshot.

Wireshark is an open source network diagnostic and management solution. Consistent network traffic capture and filtering capabilities make it easier for networking teams to not only identify problems but to quickly determine which problems are most urgent. The open source format of Wireshark means that it receives frequent updates, which can be a pro or a con depending on the user. The pro is that new features are constantly added and documented for the tool, while the con is that the tool’s performance can get bogged down in new features with occasional bugs. Teams that keep up with updates and changing documentation will experience the most success with this tool.

  • Real-time, frequently updated inspections for 100+ protocols
  • Live capture and offline analysis
  • Active open source user community and documentation
  • Decryption support for IPsec, ISAKMP, Kerberos, SNMPv3, SSL/TLS, WEP, and WPA/WPA2
  • Support for dozens of capture file formats

Pro: The open source format of Wireshark leads to very clear documentation and frequent user-driven updates for the tool.

Con: Wireshark’s functions are very reliant on the OS you choose to use it with; if your operating system is outdated or limited, Wireshark will not work very well.

Pricing: Wireshark is free, open source (FOSS) software under the GNU General Public License version 2.

Other Network Troubleshooting and Diagnostic Tools to Consider

The previously mentioned network diagnostic tools offer a variety of troubleshooting strategies and features to customers, but often with a greater learning curve and additional administrative expense. For organizations that need a quick and affordable way to troubleshoot their networks, simple diagnostic operations can be performed by free, command-line tools. These are some of the most commonly used network diagnostic and troubleshooting tools, many of which are built into vendor-specific offerings: 

Other open source networking solutions to consider: Best Open Source Network Monitoring Tools

Benefits of Using Network Troubleshooting and Diagnostic Tools

Network troubleshooting and diagnostic tools support network administrators in a variety of network management areas, including more efficient operations, increased analytical insights, and heightened visibility for security and compliance issues. These are some of the main benefits that enterprises discover when they invest in a diagnostic toolset for their network:

Proactive network performance management

In most traditional networks, problem-solving and troubleshooting begin once a major error is discovered by a networking or security professional. With troubleshooting and diagnostic solutions, network errors are discovered at an earlier stage and automatically alert these professionals to the rising issue. The earlier identification of network issues gives the team precursive knowledge to resolve any connectivity, latency, or security issues before they bring parts of the network down.

User-level security knowledge

Especially on larger enterprise networks, the exponential number of endpoints can make it difficult to determine where anomalous traffic is entering the network. Diagnostic and troubleshooting tools are used to find and alert network administrators to the what and where of unusual network behaviors and unauthorized users, thus increasing endpoint-, device-, and user-level insights for security needs.

Administrative network visibility

Administrative network visibility provides other benefits beyond security. Seeing how users and devices interact with the network helps network professionals to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies that negatively impact the user experience. Some diagnostic tools even offer the data visualizations and reports necessary to understand which parts of the network need to grow to meet new business needs and which parts can be scaled back.

Time saved and new efficiencies in network management

Almost immediately after their deployment, network diagnostic tools help networking teams find new ways to save time in network management. Troubleshooting and diagnostic tools are designed to target individual network components, which streamlines network management data and makes it easier for professionals to visualize and correct problems in a focused area.

With their automated workflows, machine-learning powered resolutions, and detailed reports and visualizations, diagnostic tools also take over the most tedious parts of network troubleshooting for the networking professionals who used to perform this work manually. With their time freed up from previous troubleshooting tasks, network and security professionals now can focus on higher-value needs for the network and business.

Read next: Best Network Management Software and Tools

Shelby Hiter

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The Best Network Troubleshooting Tools & Software (FREE)

By James Cox / Last Updated: November 28, 2023

Best Network Troubleshooting Tools and Software

Everyone who works in IT has their own personal preferences when it comes to using network troubleshooting tools, but there are some fundamental ones that should be in everybody’s toolbox.

These include some of the classic executables such as ping and tracert that would sometimes ship with your favorite operating system.

You might have a third-party application that will do similar things to the applications in our list, and that’s fine.

Here's our list of the top network troubleshooting tools:

  • OpUtils by ManageEngine – EDITOR’S CHOICE This bundle of services for monitoring and checking network address issues is available in free and paid versions. You get a free trial of the full version and that converts to the Free edition if you decide not to buy. Installs on Windows Server, Linux, and AWS. Get a 30-day free trial of the Professional Edition.
  • Datadog Network Performance Monitor – FREE TRIAL A cloud-based network monitoring service that identifies traffic flows by application, source, and destination to enable bandwidth utilization management. Start a 14-day free trial .
  • Ping A free command-line tool that tests the roundtrip time to a given node and also indicates jitter and lost packets.
  • ManageEngine OpManager – FREE TRIAL A network and server monitoring package that includes traffic troubleshooting and device testing functions. Available for Windows Server and Linux. Start a 30-day free trial .
  • Tracert/traceroute A report on the number of nodes that need to be passed through on a path to a given destination that also indicates the time each hop takes.
  • Ipconfig/ifconfig A free command-line utility that details the addresses and statuses of each network adapter on a device.
  • Nslookup A free command-line utility that reports on DNS entries.
  • Netstat A free command-line utility that lists all of the active connections on the current device.
  • SolarPuTTY – FREE TOOL A free remote terminal service that allows the user to connect to devices running Windows, Linux, macOS, and Linux. Runs on Windows.
  • Subnet and IP Calculator A free utility that assists in the planning of IP address allocations. Runs on Windows.
  • Speedtest.net A free online service that reports on the speed of a connection to one of a list of test servers around the globe.

There is nothing wrong with having your own personal preference for applications.

Our hope is that you will see something on our list of handy utilities and then try it for yourself, giving you a new application to try out for yourself.

Note: These Tools listed below are used for basic troubleshooting tasks – There are more advanced tools that can help with troubleshooting more complex issues including Packet Sniffers , Advanced Traceroute Alternatives,   Response Time Analyzers , and IPAM software .

The Best Free Network Troubleshooting Tools and Software of 2024

Below you'll find a list of commonly used Network Troubleshooting Tools that will help you diagnose a multitude of issues within your networks. Issues ranging from IP Connectivity issues, Bandwidth and Network

What should you look for in a network troubleshooting tool? 

We reviewed the market for free network troubleshooting utilities and analyzed options based on the following criteria:

  • A fast report of network conditions and connectivity
  • Network device availability tests
  • Alerts for network device problems
  • Network path analysis
  • Internet connection checks for routes that go from within the network to an external destination.
  • A free tool or a free trial of a paid tool
  • A good free tool that provides useful troubleshooting reports and can track performance

With these selection criteria in mind, we looked for a range of systems from ongoing performance checkers to on-demand network system testers.

1. OpUtils by ManageEngine – FREE TRIAL

networking problem solving tools

OpUtilis provides a comprehensive set of networking tools which includes Ping, Trace Route, System Details Update, DNS Resolver, and MIB Browser. Being an advanced and reliable replacement for native commands that work with syntax and are of limited capacity, OpUtils' network tools sport a code-free intuitive UI that can scan and troubleshoot your network within seconds.

Key Features:

  • Comprehensive networking tools set
  • Code-free intuitive UI
  • Supports IPv4, IPv6, various protocols
  • Windows and Linux compatible

Unique Feature

Supports your infrastructure with its troubleshooting and real-time monitoring capabilities.

Why do we recommend it?

Makes it easy to diagnose and troubleshoot network-related issues. It can even check connectivity issues.

Supporting IPv4 and IPv6 addressing, various network protocols and standards, OpUtils' network tool set can be your one-stop fix for any network-related issues. Available for both Windows and Linux users, it seamlessly integrates within your existing network infrastructure allowing you to track, log, and resolve your network issues efficiently.

Who is it recommended for?

Ideal for network engineers of medium to large organizations who want to better manage their switches and IP address space.

  • Supports IP management and physical switch port monitoring
  • Offers built-in troubleshooting tools to help
  • Supports CISCO and SNMP tools to help configure, administer and diagnose issues
  • Better suited for sysadmin
  • Offers many advanced features and options, not suited for small home networks

You can troubleshoot all your network issues right from a single console, with the network tools loaded in the free edition of OpUtils. Download the free edition below!

OpUtils' standard and enterprise editions offer you full-fledged IP address monitoring and switch port mapping along with 30+ networking tools.


ManageEngine OpUtils is our top pick for a network troubleshooting tool because it keeps a constant check on network addressing issues and also offers on-demand system sweeps. You can get to use the full Professional Edition for free for 30 days. If you decide not to buy at the end of the trial period, your package switches over to the Free Edition. With the free version of OpUtils, you can run a range of tests on network addresses and device availability and you also get a number of free system tools, such as a MAC address resolver and an SNMP MIB viewer.

Download: Get a 30-day free trial of OpUtils Professional Edition

Official Site: https://www.manageengine.com/products/oputils/download.html

OS: Windows Server, Linux, and AWS

2. Datadog Network Performance Monitor – FREE TRIAL

Datadog Network Monitoring

Datadog Network Performance Monitor is a traffic analyzer that gives live reports on network activity and also supports the analysis of historical traffic data. This is a cloud-based service, so all of the processing capacity needed to run the software is provided by Datadog with the price of the system. The system requires an agent program to be installed on the monitored network.

  • Live network activity reporting
  • Cloud-based traffic analysis
  • Network discovery and topology mapping
  • Real-time network changes reflection

Pinpoints unexpected problems in latency, so you can fix them right away.

Offers complete visibility into network traffic and even optimizes multi-cloud and cross-regional communication.

In network monitoring conventions, the title “Network Performance Monitor” is usually assigned to a service that polls network devices for status reports. Datadog is a little different because that function is fulfilled by the Datadog Network Device Monitor. The Network Performance Monitor focuses on network traffic. However, the two Datadog network monitoring services complement each other. It is possible to use the Network Performance Monitor as a standalone tool or in conjunction with the Network Device Monitor.

The Network Performance Monitor explores the supervised network and discovers all connected devices, creating a network inventory and a network topology map. This service is continuous, so it spots any changes made to the network. The network topology map can be used as a menu that gives access to detailed metrics on traffic at that node. Screens of statistics also show overall traffic data that can be drilled through to get link-by-link information.

A good choice for large organizations that use multiple cloud providers or have operations spread across a wide geographical region.

  • Offers numerous real user monitors via templates and widgets
  • Can monitor both internally and externally giving network admins a holistic view of network performance and accessibility
  • Changes made to the network are reflected in near real-time
  • Allows businesses to scale their monitoring efforts reliably through flexible pricing options
  • Would like to see a longer trial period for testing

Datadog Network Performance Monitor, like all Datadog utilities, is available for a 14-day free trial .

Datadog Network Performance Monitor Start a 14-day free trial

ping command

Ping is arguably one of the most well-known and most used commands that system admins have at their disposal. It is a connectivity application that lets computer operators test if they have a network connection to a remote system, and whether or not it is responding.

  • Tests network connection and responsiveness
  • Uses ICMP packets for communication
  • Handy for troubleshooting network issues
  • Native to most operating systems

Enables you to test and verify if a specific destination IP address can accept requests. Its simplicity and singular focus are reasons for its popularity.

It uses ICMP packets to communicate and receives the same packets back in response. It is this response that alerts the user to whether or not the remote system is responding. This is a very handy troubleshooting tool because you can ping any device that uses an IP address or hostname.

Works well for individual users and network engineers who prefer a command-line interface for troubleshooting.

  • Completely free
  • Extremely lightweight and simple
  • Native to Windows environments
  • Well documented
  • No data visualization features
  • Not the best for continuous monitoring

The utility comes with almost all operating systems and can be used to ping any other device that uses TCP/IP.

4. ManageEngine OpManager – FREE TRIAL


ManageEngine OpManager is a network and server monitoring package that includes live monitoring and troubleshooting utilities. The network monitoring service of OpManager starts by sweeping the network and registering all connected devices. This creates a network inventory, which gives you a menu of devices to look through when identifying the root cause of problems.

  • Network and server monitoring
  • Network device auto-discovery
  • SNMP and ping protocol support
  • Automatic network topology mapping

Offers deep visibility into the health and performance of all your routers, switches, firewalls, and load balancers.

A comprehensive tool for efficiently managing your network, and for diagnosing and troubleshooting issues quickly.

The OpManager dashboard has a higher level of troubleshooting support in its network topology maps. These are generated on demand from the network inventory. The OpManager system regularly updates the inventory so the network topology map always shows the current state of the networ4k.

The OpManager system polls device agents following the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). This system allows device agents to send an urgent override message if it detects problems on the monitored device. This message becomes an alert in the OpManager dashboard so you can instantly see which device is causing problems on the network.

Best-suited for large organizations and data centers that want complete control and visibility into their network traffic and operations.

  • Utilizes autodiscovery to detect new devices for performance monitoring and inventory management
  • Leverages both ping and SNMP protocol to detect uptime and performance issues
  • Build an automatic network topology map based on devices it probes, good for detecting new devices and rogue access points
  • Has log collection capabilities, allowing it to provide much more detailed information than other simple ping monitors
  • OpManager is a tool designed for IT professionals, it is not designed for non-technical users

OpManager is a software package that can be installed on Windows Server and Linux. ManageEngine offers the monitoring system on a 30-day free trial .

ManageEngine OpManager Start a 30-day free trial

5. Tracert/traceroute

traceroute command for network troubelshooting

Tracert is a utility that is similar toping but shows much more detailed information about the route that your data takes on its journey to the target that you are testing. The internet was designed with redundancy in mind, which means that TCP/IP packets will take the shortest route possible.

  • Reveals data route to target
  • Built into Windows command prompt
  • Displays gateways and bottlenecks
  • Useful for identifying points of failure

Displays the time it takes for a packet to travel from source to destination. Like ping, the highlight of this tool is its simplicity.

If you have network problems like failed connections or high latency, then tracert will give you detailed information about each router that it passes through on its way.

A good choice for individuals and small businesses.

  • Built directly into Windows command prompt
  • Easy to use, simple syntax
  • Displays gateways that your traffic passes through
  • Can see if where a bottleneck occurs during the route
  • Does not provide any root cause analysis or features to aid technicians
  • No visualization features
  • Not a proactive form of monitoring
  • Limited output options for reporting

This will let you know which locations are making your connection fail or perform poorly, so you can identify where the issue is.

This is an excellent tool for finding points of failure on our network as well, especially if your traffic has to pass through more than one router on its journey to the destination IP address or website.

6. Ipconfig/ifconfig

ipconfig and ifconfig commands

If you use a Windows computer, then you can use ipconfig as a way to look at your network adapter’s current configuration.

  • Views network adapter configuration
  • Shows basic network settings
  • Useful for troubleshooting and setup
  • Native to Windows (ipconfig) and Unix/Linux (ifconfig)

Helps to configure network interface and view details about the interface.

You can use ipconfig /all to show you all of the details of your current IP address setup or you can just run ipconfig and you will receive a simpler output of your local settings.

Works well on Mac, Linux, and Unix systems. Hence, well-suited for individuals and small businesses that use these devices.

  • Shows basic network configuration such as gateway, DNS servers, and subnets
  • Can be used with other syntax to perform functions like flushing DNS or renewing an IP address
  • Can take a while for new users to learn all of the different ways ipconfig can be used to troubleshoot
  • Can only apply fixes to one machine at a time

If you are using a Linux or Unix Operating system then you can use ifconfig instead, although it has different parameters to achieve the same goal.

This is a quick alternative to digging around in your operating system’s GUI settings to find your network configuration, and can make the process of checking your IP address a much more simple task by simply typing this command.

Above is the result from typing ipconfig at the command prompt in Windows 10.

7. Nslookup

nslookup command for nameserver lookups

If you want to find out about DNS issues on the network, then nslookup will help you to find out what is going on further down the line on your network. DNS takes an IP address and resolves it against a website name, making it easy for people to navigate the internet as they do not need to remember any IP addresses.

  • Diagnoses DNS issues
  • Resolves IP addresses to website names
  • Useful for connection-specific issues
  • Helps in diagnosing nslookup problems

If the system stops working then when you enter website into your internet browser then it will not resolve to the IP address and you will not connect to the website.

This tool helps to identify issues related to your IP addresses, especially IP-DNS mismatch, multiple IP address mapping, etc. Also, it's a simple tool with a clean interface.

Individuals and network engineers who want to know the IP address or a DNS record of a specific domain name.

  • Great for quickly diagnosing DNS issues when combined with ipconfig
  • Can resolve DNS issues through the CLI without using the GUI, good for remote troubleshooting
  • Can see which DNS server have authority and prioritization
  • Cannot easily change or modify DNS settings for multiple machines
  • Not easy to change DNS within CLI for new users

Nslookup is the tool that will help you to check if this relationship is currently working properly and is a good way to diagnose any issues.

If you can’t resolve the address, then you are probably looking at an nslookup issue.

You can also query a DNS server to check if you have any connection specific issues with your computer, making this an especially useful tool.

netstat command

Netstat helps you to figure out the current state of your network connection. More importantly, it also tells you what is happening with the current state of connections that have been made with the computer.

  • Monitors current state of network connections
  • Reveals active ports and service interactions
  • Identifies suspicious activities
  • Useful for diagnosing program-related network issues

Helps to identify and troubleshoot network traffic issues and to measure performance. Also, displays the network status and protocol statistics.

It shows all of the currently active ports that are listening to your session, which can alert you to any suspicious activities.

Well-suited for individuals and network engineers of small organizations.

  • Can quickly show which connections are actively established on a machine
  • Can find suspicious connections quickly if you know how to interpret netstat information
  • Can filter by TCP connections to limit your scope on noisier networks
  • Doesn’t provide geolocation mapping for connections found
  • Requires training to understand how to properly use netstat in a meaningful way

It will also show you how the different services interact with the open ports on the system, so if you have a program or application that is not working properly then you can take a look and find out exactly what is causing the issue.


solarwinds putty

SolarPuTTY ( and all of these alternatives to putty ) is a multipurpose application that lets you connect to various devices such as routers, switches and serial controllers.

  • Multipurpose connection and terminal tool
  • Integrates with SCP, SFTP for enhanced functionality
  • Secure credential storage
  • Supports multiple simultaneous connections

An advanced version of PuTTY, as it comes with support for multiple sessions and credential management.

It also has TCP/IP capabilities and allows you to log onto Linux and Unix devices, making this a must-have tool for anyone who needs to connect to various devices at different times throughout the course of their working day.

It is like a multi-tool that allows you to perform multiple functions at any time when you really need to connect to a device that you otherwise could not. It is an excellent replacement for hyper terminal which is no longer included in Windows operating systems.

Ideal for both individuals and enterprises of all sizes.

  • Completely free to use
  • Integrates with SCP and SFTP giving it more functionality than PuTTY
  • Offers secure credential storage for fast and frequent access
  • Can color-code multiple sessions to help organize simultaneous connections
  • Can automatically reconnect if the connection is interrupted
  • Like PuTTY, this tool is designed for technical professionals and requires basic networking knowledge before use

SolarPuTTY has added benefits that the Original Putty doesn't have, including multi-session tabbed windows, Saving sessions, RDP and other protocol support and much more!

SolarPuTTY Get this FREE Tool

10. Subnet and IP Calculator

networking problem solving tools

Most information technology and networking professionals only ever use subnet calculations for exams and larger Sub-networking projects. If you are a planner for a network rollout then you might need to use such a program quite often, and to do this you could rely on your own mathematical skills, sure.

  • Assists in subnetting and network planning
  • Online subnet calculator included
  • Converts IPv4 to IPv6
  • Suited for home labs and small networks

Helps to find the number of subnets in any network address block. It can also get the host range and broadcast address for any subnet.

However, it is much more simple to use a program that works all of these things out for you instead.

The most popular apps that do this for you are:

Solarwinds Advanced Subnet Calculator

Works well for individuals and network engineers working across small and medium organizations.

  • Includes an online subnet calculator
  • Can help you convert from IPv4 to IPv6
  • Better suited for home labs and small networks
  • Lack features larger networks would look for such as address conversion

If you want to download this Free app then you can find the link to the download page of each of these below.

Subnet and IP Calculator Get this FREE Tool

11. Speedtest.net

speedtest internet

How fast is your internet? If you are not sure then you probably want to work that out to ensure that however much you are paying for your connection you are getting your money’s worth. Websites such as speedtest.net . These are applications that establish a connection and then measure how long a file takes to download and upload.

  • Measures internet speed and latency
  • Global server options for connection testing
  • Includes speed metrics
  • Shows external IP address

A reliable tool to test the speed and performance of your Internet connection. Offers metrics and performs video testing.

It also measures the network latency of the connection , which shows how long it takes for the connection to be established between your computer and the speedtest application on the website that you are connecting to.

There are standalone applications that offer similar functionality but speetest.net is the easiest way to give your internet connection a proper test.

Network engineers of all sized organizations.

  • Completely free service
  • Can use servers from all around the world to test connections
  • Not ideal for troubleshooting devices that are offline

Speedtest.net also shows you what your external IP address is, which is handy if you need to remotely connect to your computer from another location and you need to find out what your current IP address is externally

Two bonus command-line tools



Pathping/mtr is a combination of ping and tracert , making it much easier for network professionals to run simultaneous tests to that they can establish the condition of a connection.

This can really help save time if you need to perform simultaneous operations from the command line.

Pathping also has additional functions that you wont find with standard versions of ping so this is definitely an application that will save you time if you are running it from the command line.

route print command

Route is used as an effective and simple tool that provides the current state of networking routing for your connection and shows what is available on your connection.

It is yet another valuable tool that you can use as a troubleshooting and diagnostic tool and it can give you valuable insights into the current routing information that your computer has stored.

It lists all of your current network adapters and will show you which ones are active.

Troubleshooting network problems can be a real challenge if you do not have the right tools to help you find out what is going on within your environment.

If this guide has shown anything then it is that you can get by with a lot of free help from these tools as they either ship with the operating system or they are free to download and use.

We hope that this information has been useful and that you can apply some of these techniques and use some of these tools whenever you need to find out exactly what is going on within the network.

Network Troubleshooting Tools FAQs

What are some popular network troubleshooting tools and software.

Some popular network troubleshooting tools and software include:

  • Wireshark, a free and open-source network protocol analyzer.
  • PingPlotter, a network troubleshooting and diagnostic tool that uses traceroute and ping to identify network issues.
  • SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor, a comprehensive network monitoring and management tool.
  • PRTG Network Monitor, a network monitoring and management tool that includes advanced sensors and alerting capabilities.
  • Nagios XI, a network monitoring and management tool that provides real-time visibility into network performance and availability.

How do network troubleshooting tools and software work?

Network troubleshooting tools and software work by analyzing network data to identify issues such as slow performance, connectivity problems, and security threats. They can also monitor network activity to detect changes in network traffic or behavior, alerting IT teams to potential issues before they become major problems.

How do I choose the right network troubleshooting tool or software for my organization?

When choosing a network troubleshooting tool or software, consider the specific needs and requirements of your organization, such as the size and complexity of your network, the types of devices and applications you use, and the level of support and resources required.

networking problem solving tools

James Cox is the Editor at ITT Systems and has a Long History in the IT and Network Engineering Field. He Boasts a long list of Credentials ranging from CompTIA Certifications up to Cisco and VMWare points on his Resume.

networking problem solving tools

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Basic Network Troubleshooting: A Complete Guide

Kevin Woods

The basics of network troubleshooting have not changed much over the years. When you’re network troubleshooting, a lot can be required to solve the problem. You could be solving many different issues across several different systems on your complex, hybrid network infrastructure. A network observability solution can help speed up and simplify the process.

The Network is the Key

“The network is down!” — I’m sure you heard that before.

Despite your best efforts as a network engineer, network failures happen, and you have to fix them. Hopefully, you’ve implemented a network observability platform in advance, so you should be collecting a wealth of information about your network, making troubleshooting easier.

But what happens when it’s time to activate troubleshooting mode?

In this post, I’m going to talk about the steps to troubleshoot your network. And then I’ll provide some best practices, as well as provide examples of troubleshooting with Kentik’s network observability solutions.

What is Network Troubleshooting?

Network troubleshooting is the process of solving problems that are occurring on your network, using a methodical approach. A simple definition for what can often be a hard task!

When users complain, whether they’re internal or external to your organization — or ideally, before they do — you need to figure out what the cause of their problem is. The goal is to troubleshoot and fix whatever issue underlies the problems.

Troubleshooting requires taking a methodical approach to resolving the issue as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for you, the user doesn’t care what your service-level objective for fixing the problem is. In today’s “gotta have it fast” culture, more often than not, you need to fix it now — or revenue is affected.

Let’s get into some ways you can troubleshoot your network and reduce your mean time to repair (MTTR).

networking problem solving tools

Basic Network Troubleshooting Processes

Identify the problem.

When you’re troubleshooting network issues , complexity and interdependency make it complex to track down the problem. You could be solving many different issues across several different networks and planes (underlay and overlay) in a complex, hybrid network infrastructure.

The first thing you want to do is identify the problem you’re dealing with. Here are some typical network-related problems:

  • A configuration change broke something . On a network, configuration settings are constantly changing. Unfortunately, configuration change accidents can happen that bring down parts of the network.
  • Interface dropping packets . Interface issues caused by misconfigurations, errors, or queue limits lead to network traffic failing to reach its destination. Packets simply get dropped.
  • Physics limitations on connectivity . Sometimes, your connections don’t have enough bandwidth. Or the latency is too much between source and destination. These lead to network congestion, slowness, or timeouts.
  • Problems in the cloud . Intra- or inter-cloud connectivity problems can have their own unique set of causes and challenges. Often driven by someone else’s congestion, oversubscription, or software failures.

networking problem solving tools

Find Your Network Troubleshooting Tools

Fixing these kinds of troubleshooting problems needs more than identification. To paraphrase French biologist Louis Pasteur — where observation is concerned, chance favors only the prepared mind.

No network engineer can troubleshoot without being prepared with their tools and telemetry. So once you’ve identified that there is a problem, it’s time to use your network troubleshooting tools.

Ideally, you have tools and telemetry in advance, so your network observability toolchain is using AI to automatically identify problems and linking you to a jumping off point so you can drive down both MTTK (Mean Time to Know) and either MTTR (Mean Time to Repair) or MTTI (Mean Time to Innocence).

Here are a few examples of basic network troubleshooting tools:

  • Tracert/ Trace Route
  • Ipconfig/ ifconfig
  • Pathping/MTR

The First Step — Ping Affected Systems

When your network is down, slow, or suffers from some other problem, your first job is to send packets across the network to validate the complaint. Send these pings using the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) or TCP to one or any of the network devices you believe to be involved.

The ping tool is a utility that’s available on practically every system, be it a desktop, server, router, or switch.

There’s a sports analogy that says “the most important ability is availability” for systems. If you can’t reach it, it’s not available to your users.

Sending some ICMP packets across the network, especially from your users’ side, will help answer that question, if your platform isn’t presenting the path to you automatically. In some cases if ICMP is filtered, you can usually switch to TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and use tcping, telnet, or another TCP-based method to check for reachability.

Get the Path with Traceroute

If you’re not getting any ping responses, you need to find out where the ping is stopping. You can use another ICMP-based tool to help, and that’s traceroute.

Your ping could be getting stopped because ICMP isn’t allowed on your network or by a specific device. If that’s the case, you should consider TCP Traceroute on Linux, which switches to TCP packets.

From traceroute, since you will see the path of IP-enabled devices your packets take, you will also see where the packets stop and get dropped. Once you have that, you can further investigate why this packet loss is happening. Could it be a misconfiguration issue such as a misconfiguration of IP addresses or subnet mask? A misapplied access list?

Test Your Network with Synthetic Monitoring

Tool such as Kentik Synthetic Monitoring enable you to continuously test network performance (via ICMP, TCP, HTTP, and other tests) so you can uncover and solve network issues before they impact customer experience. Ping and traceroute tests performed continuously with public and/or private agents generate key metrics (latency, jitter, and loss) that are evaluated for network health and performance.

To get ahead of the game, Kentik also allows you to set up autonomous tests, so there’s already test history to your top services and destinations. You can also run these continuously (every second, like the ping command default) for high resolution.

Network Troubleshooting: traceroute path view

Device Commands and Database Logs

Now that you’ve identified the network device or group of devices that could be the culprit, log into those devices and take a look. Run commands based on your device’s network operating system to see some of the configuration.

Take a look at the running configuration to see what interfaces are configured to get to the destination. You can take a look at system logs that the device has kept for any routing or forwarding errors. You can also look at antivirus logs on the destination systems that could be blocking access.

At this point, you may find yourself unable to get enough detail about the problem. Command line tools are telling you how things should work. What if everything’s working the way it should? What now? Or you might be getting overwhelmed by the amount of log data.

Device Configuration Changes

Many network outages relate to changes that humans made! Another key step on the troubleshooting path is to see if anything changed at about the same time as issues started.

This information can be found in logs of AAA (Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting) events from your devices. Ideally stored centrally, but often also visible by examining the on-device event log history.

Packets and Flows

The old saying about packet captures is that packets don’t lie! That’s also true for flow data, which summarizes packets.

Both packets and flows provide information about the source and destination IP addresses, ports, and protocols.

When getting flow data, you’re not as in the weeds as during a packet capture, but it’s good enough for most operational troubleshooting. Whether it’s with NetFlow, sFlow, or IPFIX , you’ll be able to see who’s talking to whom and how with flow data going to a flow collector for analysis.

Capturing packet data is truly getting into the weeds of troubleshooting your network. If it’s unclear from flow, and often if it’s a router or other system bug, you may need to go to the packets.

Unless you have expensive collection infrastructure, it’s also often more time consuming for you than any of the other tools above. Whether it’s tcpdump, Wireshark, or SPAN port, you’ll be able to get needle-in-the-haystack data with packet captures.

One great middle ground is augmented flow data, which captures many of the elements of packets. This can be great if you can get performance data, but not all network devices can watch performance and embed in flow — in fact, the higher speed the device, the less likely it is to support this kind of enhancement.

Collecting and analyzing packets and flows is where you start to venture into the next step. You’re using a mix of utility tools (tcpdump) and software (Wireshark, flow collector). If you’re expecting to keep a low MTTR, you need to move up the stack to software systems.

Up the Stack

If you can’t find issues using these tools and techniques at the network level, you may need to peek up the stack because it could be an application, compute, or storage issue. We’ll cover more on this cross-stack debugging in a future troubleshooting overview.

Kentik Network Observability

Of course, network performance monitoring (NPM) and network observability solutions such as Kentik can greatly help avoid network downtime, detect network performance issues before they critically impact end-users, and track down the root cause of network problems

In today’s complex and rapidly changing network environments, it’s essential to go beyond reactive troubleshooting and embrace a proactive approach to maintaining your network. Network monitoring and proactive troubleshooting can help identify potential issues early on and prevent them from escalating into more severe problems that impact end users or cause downtime.

Kentik’s Network Observability solutions, including the Network Explorer and Data Explorer, can be invaluable tools in implementing proactive troubleshooting strategies. By providing real-time and historical network telemetry data and easy-to-use visualization and analysis tools, Kentik enables you to stay ahead of potential network issues and maintain high-performing, reliable, and secure network infrastructure.

Network Explorer Solution

Kentik Network Explorer provides an overview of the network with organized, pre-built views of activity and utilization, a Network Map, and other ways to browse your network, including the devices, peers, and interesting patterns that Kentik finds in the traffic.

To make NetOps teams more efficient, Kentik provides troubleshooting and capacity management workflows. These are some of the most basic tasks required to operate today’s complex networks, which span data center, WAN, LAN, hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures.

The Network Explorer combines flow, routing, performance, and device metrics to build the map and let you easily navigate. And everything is linked to Data Explorer if you need to really turn the query knobs to zoom way in.

Network Troubleshooting with Kentik's Network Explorer view

Data Explorer Solution

If you can’t find the obvious issue with something unreachable or down, it’s key to look beyond the high level and into the details of your network.

Kentik Data Explorer provides a fast, network-centric, easy-to-use interface to query real-time and historic network telemetry data. Select from dozens of dimensions or metrics, 13 different visualizations and any data sources. Set time ranges and search 45 days or more of retained data. Query results within seconds for most searches.

This lets you see traffic, routing, performance, and device metrics in total, by device, region, customer, application, or any combination of dimensions and filters that you need to zoom in and find underlying issues.

Kentik’s Data Explorer provides graphs or table views of network telemetry useful for all types of troubleshooting tasks.

Network Trouleshooting: Data Explorer view

Software Tools Help Facilitate Network Troubleshooting

Marc Andreessen of Netscape fame once said that, “software is eating the world.” But software has made things a lot easier when it comes to network troubleshooting. It has taken over from the manual tools run from a terminal or network device.

There are software tools that ping not just to one device but multiple devices simultaneously for availability and path. Many are flow and packet data stores with software agents sending network data. All this is done and put on a nice dashboard for you. Network troubleshooting is still hard, but software makes it easier.

However, in this cloud-native and multi-cloud infrastructure era, some software makes it easier than others. For that, you need to move beyond traditional monitoring software because it’s not enough anymore. You need to move to observability software.

With software tools like products from Kentik, you can use the devices to send data to observe the state of your network instead of pulling it from the network.

Network Troubleshooting Best Practices

Whether you’re using network observability tools, or have a network small enough where the other tools are sufficient, here are some best practices you should consider.

Develop a Checklist

You should develop a checklist of steps like what I’ve outlined above when troubleshooting.

In his book The Checklist Manifesto , Dr. Atul Gawande discusses how checklists are used by surgeons, pilots, and other high-stress professionals to help them avoid mistakes. Having a checklist to ensure that you go through your troubleshooting steps promptly and correctly can save your users big headaches. And save you some aggravation.

Over time, this checklist will likely become second nature, and having and following it ensures you’re always on top of your game.

Ready Your Software Tools

You want to have already picked the network troubleshooting tools you need to troubleshoot a network problem before you get an emergency call. That isn’t the time to research the best software tool to use. By then, it’s too late.

If you run into a network troubleshooting problem that took longer than you hoped with one tool, research other tools for the next time. But do this before the next big problem comes along.

networking problem solving tools

Get Documentation

It’s tough to jump on a network troubleshooting call and not know much about the network you’re going to, well, troubleshoot. IT organizations are notorious for not having enough documentation. At times, you know it’s because there aren’t enough of you to go around.

But you have to do what you can. Over time, you should compile what you learn about the network. Document it yourself if you have to, but have some information. Identify who owns what and what is where. Otherwise, you could spend lots of troubleshooting time asking basic questions.

Prepare Your Telemetry

In addition to having the software to move with speed, you’ll need to be already sending, saving, and ideally detecting anomalies over your network telemetry. For more details on network telemetry, see our blog posts “The Network Also Needs to be Observable” and “Part 2: Network Telemetry Sources” .

Follow the OSI

If you closely follow the toolset above, you may have noticed that I’m moving up the stack with each tool.

In some ways, I’m following the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) stack. When troubleshooting, you want to start at the physical layer and work your way up. If you start by looking at the application, you’ll be masking potential physical connection problems such as interface errors or routing issues happening at layer 3. Or any forwarding problems at layer 2.

So follow the stack, and it won’t steer you wrong.

Preparedness and Network Troubleshooting

And there it is. When the network is down, troubleshooting can be a daunting task, especially in today’s hybrid infrastructure environments .

But if you follow the steps I’ve outlined, you can make things easier on yourself. Create your network troubleshooting checklist, decide on your toolset, and get ready. If it’s not down now, the network will likely be down later today.

Now that you know this about network troubleshooting, you’ll be ready when the network issues affect traffic in the middle of the night. You won’t like it; nobody likes those 1:00 A.M. calls. But you’ll be prepared.

Explore more from Kentik

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  • Universal Data Explorer
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  • Kentik Data Engine
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  • Network Performance Monitoring
  • Deliver Exceptional Digital Experiences
  • Detect and Mitigate DDoS
  • Harden Zero-Trust Cloud Network Policy
  • Investigate Security Incidents
  • Visualize All Cloud and Network Traffic
  • Troubleshoot Any Network
  • Understand Internet Performance
  • Consolidate Legacy Tools
  • Optimize Peering and Transit
  • Plan Network Capacity
  • Google Cloud

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The Beginner's Guide to Solving Network Problems

If a bad connection is between you and the online content you want, this guide helps diagnose your problem and work toward a solution.

Keep reading to learn how to use PingPlotter to find the source of network problems!

Let PingPlotter do the tedious work

PingPlotter Sidekick automates setup and guides you through troubleshooting.

Network Problems Suck

It's never fun when your connection's on the fritz, but you can do more than reboot your router . Follow this step-by-step guide and we'll show you how to find the source of your problem and start working toward a solution.

This Beginner's Guide to Solving Network Problems is effective whether or not you control the failing part of the network. If your local network is the problem, we'll show you how to diagnose the issue and fix it. If a network outside your control, like an internet provider, is the problem, we'll show you how to build a case and persuade the provider to help fix the problem.

What is a Network Problem?

Lag, buffering, bad call quality, and no internet connection are examples of network problem symptoms. If you're unable to enjoy the online content you want, there's a good chance your network is to blame. Network problems impact things like online games, websites, streaming media, and video calling. The internet doesn't even have to be involved. Any time a bad connection prevents you from accessing something outside your computer you're dealing with a network problem.

Network problems happen when something disrupts the connection between your computer and the content you're trying to access.

How are Network Problems Solved?

The first step to solving a network problem is finding the source. Network problems are caused by a part of the network you control or a part of the network outside your control. We're assuming you control your local network and don't control anything beyond that. If that's not the case, just think of local as in your control and outside as in someone else's control .

Your devices, including your internet modem and wireless router, are usually in your direct control.

External services, like the servers for online games, media, and more, are out of your direct control.

The way you solve the problem depends on whether or not you control the failing part of the network. You can solve local network problems by yourself because you control the network. Outside network problems require help from whoever runs that network. Either way, this guide has the steps you need to move toward a solution.

Why Follow this Guide?

We've been helping people solve network problems for almost twenty years. Our "secret sauce" is a software tool called PingPlotter . It tests your network and makes it easier to find the source of problems. With PingPlotter and this guide by your side, you're well equipped to tackle problems of all shapes and sizes.

PingPlotter makes finding the source of problems easier by graphing network performance. Green is good. Red is bad.

How Does PingPlotter Work?

PingPlotter tests your network with the same tools technicians have been using for years. Those tools are Ping and Traceroute. The difference is PingPlotter visualizes the information in a way that makes finding the source of network problems easier.

To find the source of a problem, look for places on the network where performance goes from good to bad.

What Happens After I Find the Source of the Problem?

Once you have an idea of what's going on, we'll show you how to check your diagnosis and work toward a solution based on the results. If you have a local network problem, we'll provide instructions on how to fix it. If your problem is outside you local network, we'll show you how to effectively connect with the people running the network and persuade them to help you.

So what do you say? Ready to try it out?

  • Test the Network
  • Diagnose the Problem
  • Local Network Problems
  • Outside Network Problems

Let PingPlotter help you troubleshoot.

Our funding comes from our readers, and we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through the links on our website.

Best FREE Network Troubleshooting Tools & Software for Your IT Infrastructure & Help Desk Engineers!

best free network troubleshooting tools and software

Marc Wilson UPDATED: August 29, 2023

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See Full Bio & All Articles from this Author.

At some point in time, we all have faced the same “No Internet” error message.

Some people decide to play the dinosaur video game, and others do nothing, then there are the ones that love to dig down into the nature of the problem.

no internet screen

In this post, we’ll share the Top 10 F ree Network Troubleshooting Tools and Software that will help the problem-solving ones to get back on their feet, dig deep, and solve any problem that their network might be suffering.

  • Ipconfig / ifconfig – EDITOR’S CHOICE   A command line tool available in Windows, macOS, Linux, and Unix, this system shows you the configurations on your network for TCP/IP, including IP address allocations.
  • Ping A widely-used command line tool available on Windows, Linux, Unix, and macOS that gives details on the connection to a given domain or IP address.
  • Tracert / Traceroute This tool is implemented on the Windows command line with the command tracert and on Linux, macOS, and Unix with the command traceroute. It gives a record of the nodes on the path to a given destination.
  • NSLookup This command gives details about the domain name system (DNS) operating on the network to which the querying computer is connected. Available for Windows, Linux, Unix, and macOS.
  • Netstat This command line tool gives details of all of the network connections that are currently live for the hosting computer. Available on Windows, Linux, macOS, and Unix.
  • Route Implemented as route print on the Windows OS command line and still part of netstat in Linux, Unix, and macOS, this tool shows all live routes for the connections the host computer is managing.
  • SolarWinds Advanced Subnet Calculator This tool for Windows lets you make IP address-related calculations.
  • SpeedTest this online tool gives you the average speed for both upload and download on connections across the internet to a given destination.
  • Wireshark A free network analyzer that uses Pcap to capture packets that are then displayed on the screen and stored to file for later analysis. Available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Unix.
  • Nmap A network monitoring tool that creates performance graphs from packet header information. Use Zenmap for a more sophisticated graphical user interface. Runs on Windows, Linux, Unix, and macOS.

Why are Troubleshooting Tools Important?

Systems fail all the time.

If your home Internet fails, you could probably call the provider or go somewhere else where there is a WiFi connection.

But that is a different story when it happens to the network connection of a Large Business.

The employees can’t do what they need to do until they get back on the internet or their Cloud Services. Business comes to a halt (or shuts down temporarily) and is probably losing money at this point.

You think it could take a couple of hours, but it ends up taking three days.

Getting to know the problem and finding ways to fix it quickly, takes solid troubleshooting skills.

Network admins and engineers can solve problems with the help of a few specific tools that are FREE and come with almost every operating system.

They have the skills, so they choose tools that are quick and fundamental. The network troubleshooting software described in the following list are the favorites among any experienced IT specialist.

Best Network Troubleshooting Tools & Software (FREE)

Our methodology for selecting free network troubleshooting tools.

We reviewed the market for free network troubleshooting systems and analyzed options based on the following criteria:

  • Services that can be run on Windows, macOS, and Linux
  • A range that includes quick testing tools and also extensive data gathering systems
  • Systems that can collect data for analysis with other tools
  • Commandline tools that can be invoked from scripts
  • Tools to check on link availability
  • Systems that are permanently free, not free trials
  • Tools that have a long service record, providing reliability

With these selection criteria in mind, we identified a number of useful command line utilities and packet visualization systems that can help you work out what is wrong with your network.

All the tools and commands work in many Operating Systems, including Windows and Major Linux variations. Although they have the same fundamentals, they have differences in their implementation. Most of the tools require you to open the Command Prompt “cmd” in Windows, the “terminal” in MacOS, or the “shell” in Linux. Others are web-based, and others require you to download an executable file.

1. Ipconfig/Ifconfig

Gathering information is the most important step when troubleshooting.

The ipconfig command stands for IP configuration and is used in Windows OS.

The ifconfig stands for interface configuration and is used in Linux and MacOS. Both display all current TCP/IP configuration for all currently connected networks.

Key Features:

  • Fast results
  • Available in every operating system
  • Network addressing information
  • Options that resolve problems
  • Includes non-operational adapters

If your network is using a DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) Server to assign IPs to all hosts, then ipconfig is mandatory when troubleshooting. It also comes in handy when the IPs are statically assigned because there might not be proper documentation, or the IP address changed.

The ipconfig gives out all the network adapter’s information (when used without arguments), such as:

  • IPv4/IPv6 Address
  • Subnet Mask
  • Default Gateway

  Aside from showing information, the Ipconfig command can also release IP addresses, renew DHCP configuration, flush DNS cache, register DNS, and more.

ipconfig command

From the information shown in the results above, you can see that I am connected to two different networks, one Ethernet (wired) and the other, a Wireless. But there are other variations for the command (for Windows), for example:

To find out more about this command type “ ipconfig  -help ” in Windows or “ ifconfig ” in Mac and Linux.

  • Built directly into Windows command prompt
  • Easy to use, simple syntax
  • Shows basic network configuration such as gateway, DNS servers, and subnets
  • Can be used with other syntax to perform functions like flushing DNS or renewing an IP address
  • Can take a while for new users to learn all of the different ways ipconfig can be used to troubleshoot
  • Can only apply fixes to one machine at a time


Ipconfig and ifconfig are our top picks for free network troubleshooting tools because it is already built into the operating system for Windows, Linux, Unix, and macOS, so you already have it. Use ipconfig on Windows and ifconfig on Linux, Unix, and macOS. If you get to the command line and try out this utility, you will discover a quick way to find out the network configuration for your computer. This is a fast and efficient tool.

OS: Windows, Linux, Unix, and macOS

A good Ping represents a healthy network connection, a bad ping means a delay or packet loss , and an unresponsive ping represents no connection.

  • Very widely used
  • Roundtrip time in milliseconds
  • Packet loss
  • Jitter measurement

In networking, ping is a method that sends an ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) echo request to a destination and waits for the response (echo reply). While the source of the ping is waiting, a delay timer is counting the time it takes for the packet to go and come back.

  • Can quickly identify if there is a problem with a device
  • Allows you to easily see if there are any network drops, latency issues, or jitter over the connection
  • Does not work if ICMP is turned off on your target device
  • No visualization features
  • Not a proactive form of monitoring
  • Limited output options for reporting

With Ping you can perform a basic connectivity test between source and destination . If the target does not respond to the request, the connection is unavailable. You can also get statistics such as RTT and % of packet loss.

How to use Ping?

In the following ping test, we tested connectivity between our host and the gateway (

ping command

The results show 0% of packet loss and 1ms average in RTT (Round-Trip-Time). You can, of course, get creative and test different approaches. For example,

To access the help manual of the tool, type “ping -help” in Windows and “ping” in MacOS and Linux.

3. Tracert / Traceroute

In networking, a route towards a destination is made out of hops. Each hop is a device capable of routing and forwarding packets.

  • Path analysis
  • Link transfer times
  • Available in all operating systems

The traceroute tool gives out information on each hop that leads to a destination, something that can never be done with traditional ping.

  • Displays gateways that your traffic passes through
  • Can see if where a bottleneck occurs during the route
  • Does not provide any root cause analysis or features to aid technicians

You can use traceroute when you think that a problem extends beyond the local network and you want to find information about the path, which includes all the devices that forward your packet to the destination. The traceroute will give out IPs, hostnames, and response time of each hop.

SolarWinds has developed a great new Traceroute NG Tool that gives you a lot of features that we really like and have been using since it came out:

  • Finds Path changes
  • Gives you the Ability for Continuous Probing
  • Options for both TCP & ICMP Network Path Analysis
  • Automatically puts all information and traces into a txt logfile
  • Supports both IPv4 and IPv6


Traceroute NG Download 100% FREE Tool!

How does Traceroute Work?

Just like Ping, Traceroute also uses ICMP requests and replies. The difference is that it performs it, using a concept known as, hop limit. To get information from each device, it limits the next hop by modifying the TTL, for example, it sends an ICMP Echo request TTL=1, then the hop drops the package and returns a TIME EXCEEDED. The source of the traceroute interprets this as the first hop, records the IP/hostname information and sends the second packet by increasing the TTL to 2, and so on.

Some devices along the path, such as firewalls or DPIs are capable of detecting these requests and might not give information back; they only forward the packet to the next hop.

Let’s say we want to find out what is out there between my computer and google.com. Type in “tracert google.com” in Windows.

traceroute command

What can we see from the results?

  • We know that it takes fourteen hops to reach my destination (Google’s server:
  • Each hop adds up delay time in ms, especially those hops with longer geographical distances.
  • We got information about some forwarding devices between me and my destination. Those Telefonica servers sent back their IP and hostname.

To find information about traceroute type “tracert -help” in Windows or “traceroute” in Mac or Linux.

Or you can Download the Free SolarWinds Traceroute NG tool 100% Free as well below:

4. Nslookup

Anyone using the Internet will indirectly use DNS. If you type google.com from your browser, the DNS will convert the name “google.com” to a machine-readable IP, so that your packet can be forwarded correctly.

How does your computer find its way to google.com?

  • First, your computer checks its DNS cache, which is a memory of recent DNS lookups.
  • If it does not find the name on the cache, it will send the request to the DNS Server.

If you are in a SOHO (Small Office Home Office) network, you might not have to deal with a DNS Server, and leave those problems to your ISP. But enterprise networks usually use a DNS server to convert all their internal server IPs to names.

  • Great for quickly diagnosing DNS issues when combined with ipconfig
  • Can resolve DNS issues through the CLI without using the GUI, good for remote troubleshooting
  • Can see which DNS server have authority and prioritization
  • Cannot easily change or modify DNS settings for multiple machines
  • Not easy to change DNS within CLI for new users

Why is NSLookup Important?

The command nslookup (Name Server Look Up) is a way to find out if the DNS Server (not the cache) is resolving names. If it can’t translate a name, then there is likely a DNS issue.

Although ping and traceroute can resolve a domain name to an IP, they work based on NetBIOS information. The nslookup will consult the configured DNS server directly.

 nslookup command

In the example above, we sent an nslookup query to the DNS for the name “amazon.com.”

What can you see from the results?

  • The server returned three IPs that Amazon is currently using for that particular name.
  • A non-authoritative answer means that our DNS obtained the reply from another “authoritative” DNS, usually a server on a higher level of the DNS hierarchy.

If you are connected to the Internet, there are probably some applications taking advantage of your connection. Not only your web browser is creating a link to a remote server, but also online video games, downloading software, and probably some background processes that you might be unaware of, such as backdoors or Malware. 

Netstat stands for Network Statistics. It gives detailed information about the state of all the current network connections on the computer.

  • Port scanner
  • A list of current connections
  • Transport layer protocol details

Netstat is a fantastic tool for troubleshooting because It can let you see what ports are open and listening on your device and the remote servers that are creating a connection to your computer with the ports that they are using.

  • Can quickly show which connections are actively established on a machine
  • Can find suspicious connections quickly if you know how to interpret netstat information
  • Can filter by TCP connections to limit your scope on noisier networks
  • Doesn’t provide geolocation mapping for connections found
  • Requires training to understand how to properly use netstat in a meaningful way

Running NETSTAT without any argument gives you:

  • TCP/UDP information.
  • Local IPv4/IPv6 and port number.
  • Foreign IPv4/IPv6 and port number.
  • The hostnames.
  • The current state of the network connection (Established, Time-Wait, or Close-Wait)

The command uses the same format in Windows, Linux, or MacOS, but the results are displayed slightly differently, and the arguments change. To use netstat in a MacOS or Windows, type in “netstat” in the terminal or command, like seen below:


Netstat will create a report with a massive list of network connections, probably with over 1000 lines.

To troubleshoot network connections with netstat, you need to be able to filter this report. You can clean the output to your preferences using specific arguments.

For example, in a MacOS (note that these commands vary in Windows):

With some tools listed before, such as “traceroute,” you learned how to analyze routes on a hop-by-hop basis. You are troubleshooting a “No Internet” issue, and you can quickly figure out the path that the packet is taking is not going through your Internet Gateway.

  • Displays the network route table
  • Available for Windows
  • Lists the adapters on the computer

All your traffic is being re-routed somewhere else, and you don’t know why.

The “route print” command shows all configured routes on your machine. Route Print is a Windows command and is the equivalent for “Netstat -nr” in MacOS and Linux, showed before.

With the route print, you can keep track of the routes by:

  • Destination
  • Network Mask

From the following “route print” output, you can see that there is one important route that is forwarding most of the traffic. The local machine forwards most of the packets going to a “least-significant” IP address destination, in this case, is to the gateway (

The other local routes displayed here, are for management, localhost, multicasting, and broadcasting purposes.

route print command

You can also use “Route” for adding or removing routes to the local machine.

  • Shows the configured route of your traffic – great for troubleshooting complex issues
  • Can track gateway, destination, network mask, and other packet attributes
  • Simple syntax to remember
  • Isn’t applicable in most troubleshooting situations

The “route” command might only be useful in situations where there is more than one IP address configured on the machine. For example, if you have two networks at home, one could be dedicated to media or storage and the other for accessing the Internet.

You can also use this command to add a new default route to your machine (or remove).

7. Subnet Calculator

Unless you do it every single day, subnetting is a skill that takes time to master. Some network professionals can create subnets without a pen, paper, and calculator. They have been doing it for a while, that their minds can create subnets quickly.

But those that don’t have the skills need speed and error-less subnetting.

  • Completely free
  • Calculates IP subnets, masks, and subnet addresses
  • Can use a range of addresses or CIDR notations
  • Available offline as a download
  • Not ideal if you like doing the math yourself

A subnet calculator will let you divide your network into subnets. It will help you define IP subnets, masks, and subnet addresses. Give it a range of IP addresses or CIDR notations, and it will create a list of subnets for you.

When you use a calculator, you can customize the output of the list of subnets. For example, you can vary the number and the size of subnets available in your network.

A favorite subnet calculator among network admins and engineers is SolarWinds Advanced Subnet Calculator . It is free, easy-to-use, lightweight, and fully compatible with Windows OS.

subnet calculator

Among its key features are:

  • Calculates IPs
  • Creates Subnets
  • Calculates CIDR
  • Creates a list of subnets.
  • Resolves DNS.

SolarWinds Advanced Subnet Calculator 100% FREE Online Tool!

8. SpeedTest

Network admins use online speed tests to check the real bandwidth or throughput of an Internet connection . These tests are capable of measuring the time it takes to download or upload from the Internet to a specific host.

  • Online tool with no need for installation
  • Option to create a free account to store and compare results
  • Choice of remote test destinations

The results of these tests are great for testing newly deployed connections, making sure that the Internet Service Provider “ISP” is giving the offered bandwidth, or making sure that an SLA (Service-Level-Agreement) is met.

Online speed tests run right from your web browser using HTML-5 or Java. These tools depend entirely on TCP Port 80 (or 8080) and are real HTML throughput measurements between a server and a client.

  • Calculates upload and download speed quickly
  • Displays ping times
  • Gives you a quick understanding if your speed is average or not
  • Lacks in-depth performance metrics and continuous testing

Speedtest by Ookla is one of the most common. It is free and can display download, upload speed, and latency information.


Recommendations when Troubleshooting with an Online speed test:

  • The given results are Throughput , not bandwidth or Internet Speed. Bandwidth is the “total” amount of information transferred from source to destination in a given time, while the throughput is the “actual” amount of information transferred, considering additional factors.
  • To get the most out of these tools, test at different times of the day and from multiple devices. Traffic loads vary during the time of day, and each device has different processing capabilities.

9. Wireshark

Wireshark is the defacto standard for network analyzers.

The IT industry has taken Wireshark as the most important software for network troubleshooting, optimization, and security. The tool alone is downloaded over 500,000 times a month and is used anywhere, from home networks, SMBs, to large enterprises.

  • Captures, displays, and stores packets
  • Capture filters
  • Color-coding for packet header values

Wireshark is a free and open source multiplatform network analyzer. It is the perfect tool for anyone that wants to monitor the security and performance of the network. It allows you to go deep into a TCP/IP network connection.

  • A massive open-source community keeps the software updated and new features added periodically
  • Built by network professionals, for network professionals
  • Can save captured packet data for further analysis or archival purposes
  • Integrates well with numerous other data collection platforms
  • Pulls all data over the network unless intentionally filtered out

With Wireshark, you can analyze every packet exchange with a specific source and destination, and find faults in the communication process.

A List of Some of the Features of Wireshark:

  • Save and analyze network logs when there is unexpected behavior.
  • View live or saved data from file captures.
  • View statistics from end-points, layer protocols, and conversions.
  • It supports decryption.
  • It can capture network data from various interfaces.
  • Read and write different capture information, such as Snoop or Sniffer.
  • Filter logs and messages.
  • It includes a Macro system.
  • Export results to CVS, XML, PostScript or plain-text.


Troubleshooting security vulnerabilities?

NMap “Network Mapper ”, is a free and open source network scanner, inventorying, and security auditing tool.

  • Identifies all devices connected to a network
  • Provides device information

It is multi-platform, so it runs on various operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, Linux, FreeBSD, etc.

  • Doubles as a security tool, allowing administrators to discover open ports, and applications communicating over ports that are suspicious
  • A massive open-source community, Nmap is a very popular networking tool
  • Offers a GUI version, Zenmap, which lowers the barrier to entry for new users
  • Syntax is straightforward and not difficult to learn for most users
  • Might be overkill for simpler troubleshooting tasks
  • Better suited as a security/auditing tool

NMap is one of the best network troubleshooting utilities because it cannot only discover a network but also enumerate any information, which can be useful for security penetration testing .

Use NMap to Do any of the Following:

  • Discover Live hosts.
  • Identify open ports on a host.
  • Extract their services/process information.
  • Expose their OS, hardware information, and even software version.
  • Find vulnerabilities and Exploits.

When troubleshooting, NMap can help you test from your client computer to see if you have connectivity to open a TCP on a remote server. Nmap allows you to test and monitor a single host or multiple subnetworks at the same time.

To gather information, Nmap scans the ports in the network by sending raw packets. The tool waits and listens for responses and determines whether a port is open, closed or filtered by a firewall. To perform network scanning, Nmap uses several techniques, such as ICMP requests , TCP Connect (), TCP Reverse scanning, FTP bounce, etc.

Most of the tools listed above are within anyone’s reach. They are either quickly available through the native command line interface or terminal of the OS, through the web browser, or in downloadable freeware.

When you learn to use some or all of these tools effectively, you can reduce troubleshooting time exponentially, which means less wasted money and higher employee productivity.

Tools, such as ping, traceroute, ipconfig, netstat, nslookup, and Speedtest are easy to learn and extremely useful for any troubleshooting case. “Route” is also easy to implement but can be left for occasional uses, such as when there are multiple IPs and subnets.

Subnet calculators might not be the right fit for critical troubleshooting phases, but can be useful for finding IP conflicts, overlapping subnets, or just for capacity planning.

The last two tools, Wireshark and Nmap, are usually the favorite ones for experienced network professionals. They are not available in the OS, or online; you have to download them. Both of these tools take some time to master, but once you do, you’ll become the ninja network troubleshooter. No problem will stand in your way.

Free network troubleshooting tools FAQs

What tools are needed in troubleshooting network.

There are a handful of free, readily available network troubleshooting tools that you should know about:

  • Ipconfig/Ifconfig
  • Tracert/Traceroute

These are available at the command line of any operating system and are already installed.

What do you think is the single most valuable tool for network troubleshooting?

Ping is probably the single most useful network troubleshooting tool you can use. Many paid network monitoring systems are based on Ping and there are a number of dressed-up GUI versions of the tool available for free as well. The commandline utility has a number of options and if you master these, you can gain real insights into the condition of your network and also the availability and response times of remote servers.

What are the common network issues?

The most common causes of network problems include:

  • Overloaded switches
  • IP address clashes
  • A router or switch offline
  • A misconfigured switch

SolarWinds Top 5 Essential IT Tools

SolarWinds Top 5 Essential IT Tools

Manage and monitor your network in one simple bundle.

SolarWinds Top 5 Essential IT Tools

  • Help desk ticketing and asset management software
  • Remote support and systems management solution
  • Network configuration and automation software
  • Safe file transfer management solution
  • Network management and troubleshooting software


Fully functional for 14 days

Dominick Fair

Chief Technology Officer

15 Common Network Problems & How To Solve Them

common network problems

So, your network crashed. It’s a great day.

You just lost an entire morning’s work because your network quit on you- and this is not some college research paper, this is your business .

Life is crazy and busy enough already! You don’t need more network and IT stressors added to it.

The only thing you need is a business network that makes your job and your life fluid.

It doesn’t matter if you live in Frederick, Bethesda , Rockville, McLean or Alexandria- you live in the future tech-hub of the world. Amazon is moving in, and Google has already caught on. You need protected, reliable and progressive IT.

If your business network breaks down, we have you covered.

We know about the uncommon network problems on the backend. But, did you know there are common network problems that can sometimes be prevented with the services of a managed service provider?

Here’s some information that may help you take a positive step towards never having to deal with annoying network issues again:

1. Networking Issues

IT management companies can always help businesses with their networking issues. But not all IT companies which help you with network issues are created equal. 

Some aren’t worth the time to call them. Some have great network solutions for issues but cost too much. What if we were to tell you about a company that can handle your networking issues at an affordable price? 

Maybe you’re skeptical at this point, so we’ll go over 15 of the most common network problems. Then we will tell you why we’re the best IT company in your area.

Here are a few common network problems:

  • Your network is too slow. You have rebooted your computer. You have deleted files and folders that take up a lot of memory. But you still have a slow network speed. 
  • The Wi-Fi signal is strong in some areas and weak in other areas of the office. It makes no sense. It continues, no matter how you rearrange the furniture.
  • The IP addresses have snafus. Sometimes there may be duplicate IP addresses. Sometimes there can be IP address exhaustion. 
  • Network path cannot be found. This is also knowns as a DNS problem. If there is a network error message that drives most people to distraction, it is that one. 
  • Unable to connect to a printer or file on a network share program. That can put a group meeting in an indefinite hold pattern if not fixed as soon as possible.

We know how aggravating and stressful these network issues can be. As an IT management company with clients from Virginia to DC and Maryland, we also know how important our network solutions are.

They are the reasons our solutions need to work the first time, every time.

2. Network Problems

We are presenting you with common network issues and problems that affect all businesses from time to time. We also have solutions for these problems.

Here’s a small cheat sheet of brief solutions you may try for a couple of these ongoing network problems.

Here are more everyday common network problems;

  • Cyber Security or hacking your network . Only about 14 percent of small businesses can mitigate cyber risks and their network’s vulnerability. Of the 14%, 60 percent of them go out of business within six months. 
  • Data Back-ups . You have a lot of data that needs to be backed up at the end of each workday. But sometimes that doesn’t happen right, or it doesn’t happen at all. It’s a nightmare to figure out what happened.
  • The Cloud and those who don’t understand it, misuse it, keep incorrect data on it or cannot figure it out so they get rid of it on their computer. 
  • No IT plan at all? This is when we have our work cut out for us and we love every minute. Because it allows us to help a business develop an IT plan that grows and develops with them.
  • Account Privilege Abuse. That’s when someone who shouldn’t be using company networks does. It can be a nightmare because  60% of all security breaches on your network are done from the inside. That means it is someone who works with or for you.

There are solutions to these network problems we work with every day. But the longer the problems go on, the more difficult it is to fix at every level. We get it done, but it is time-intensive. 

3. Common Network Problems

The last five common network problems are some of our unique network problems. But that being said, they are still common enough to include on our the list. They are:

  • Misconfigurations cause as much as 80% of all network problems. Setting parameters manually may be something you can do. But when it is done wrong, it can cause untold IT headaches.
  • VLAN issues happen when a VLAN is not configured to the correct port, which supports its services. 
  • Wireless connections don’t work. There is nothing worse than going to use the wireless connection with your boatload of work only to realize that you cannot get access to the connection.
  • Unable to establish a VPN connection. Many people may not know what or how the VPN connects so this can be a real stress-inducer IT problem.
  • Ongoing network processes are using up all the memory. This one can be a puzzler without an IT management group which can help you walk through what is going on.

The value of an IT management company cannot be overstated. We say the heartbeat of your business is your network.  There is no substitute you can put in the place of a network that crashed. Because it doesn’t exist.

Reliable networks are a necessity for businesses everywhere. If your network problems cause you to lose business, for a day or even an hour- it is going to make a huge difference in office flow and client relations on your end.

Managed IT can prevent these problems before they happen.

Common Network Problems & Solutions

Some answers to a few of the common network problems we mentioned above you may find surprising. Some will seem too easy to be true but sometimes it works out that way.

But there are other network problems that can take the average IT knowledgeable person, more days than they want to figure it all out. This is often because of all the moving parts in network systems and servers.

The good news is that there isn’t a single network problem or issue we haven’t seen already. When it comes to complicated and in-depth network problems, we know what to do and how to do it almost as soon as we make it.

Here are some short answers to what can be difficult network problems.

  • When your network is too slow , it can be the router’s positioning causing wireless interference. We test in all positions when we need to.
  • The WiFi signal is strong and weak throughout the building may be because of your network’s administrator interface. It needs to be set to optimum performance.
  • Data Back-up issues can be caused by hardware and software problems so all need to be checked out. You can back up directly to an outside server or another outside source as a temporary measure.
  • VLAN issues require you to check the cabling and the interface first before doing anything else.
  • Continuous loss of memory because your network has a memory hog somewhere. Damaged hardware or a capacity bottleneck can cause this. Either can be fixed in a straight-forward manner.

Network Issues 

There is no network issue you have which does not have a solution or answer. That’s what we will as truth in our industry. We give you the IT management services and answers to meet your network needs.

View pricing on our management plans that vary and are based on your particular needs. We have starter package plans for new businesses. We also have our obsidian package plan for established, larger businesses.

All of our packages can handle any of your current or potential network issues and provide your business with the answers and solutions to get you back on track. Our mission is to create fluidity in the workspace so that you and your business can get back to what it does best in its day-to-day operations.

All technology today evolves at the speed of a week-to-week and sometimes day to day basis. Problems in networking, cloud computing, and remote access are what we fix for our customers every day.

Your business should be able to hop online with the touch of a button and click of a mouse. Many of our calls come when people have tried to fix their network issues themselves but think they may have made things worse. We can fix those network issues too. 

Our IT Service Management Plans

Our IT service management plans allow us to be there for you so you never have to worry about having network problems or issues. 

We offer timely network solutions that give you peace of mind. Also, they get your business back up to speed as quickly as possible.  

Wouldn’t it be great to know that your network protection is just around the corner with 24/7 support?

SADOS offers more than solutions to your network problems. We offer specialized architecture and deployment. SADOS does maintenance and LAN/WAN network monitoring in our managed service packages.

We’re only one call away . Reach out to us before you need us in a network emergency. 

Try our FREE AI-powered  help desk. No login required.

networking problem solving tools

Need a quick fix?

Try our free ai-powered tech support.

Describe the problem you are facing. Be friendly, descriptive. Remember that AI can make mistakes. If you’re having an IT emergency, please contact us .

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MindManager Blog

Nine essential problem solving tools: The ultimate guide to finding a solution

October 26, 2023 by MindManager Blog

Problem solving may unfold differently depending on the industry, or even the department you work in. However, most agree that before you can fix any issue, you need to be clear on what it is, why it’s happening, and what your ideal long-term solution will achieve.

Understanding both the nature and the cause of a problem is the only way to figure out which actions will help you resolve it.

Given that most problem-solving processes are part inspiration and part perspiration, you’ll be more successful if you can reach for a problem solving tool that facilitates collaboration, encourages creative thinking, and makes it easier to implement the fix you devise.

The problem solving tools include three unique categories: problem solving diagrams, problem solving mind maps, and problem solving software solutions.

They include:

  • Fishbone diagrams
  • Strategy maps
  • Mental maps
  • Concept maps
  • Layered process audit software
  • Charting software
  • MindManager

In this article, we’ve put together a roundup of versatile problem solving tools and software to help you and your team map out and repair workplace issues as efficiently as possible.

Let’s get started!

Problem solving diagrams

Mapping your way out of a problem is the simplest way to see where you are, and where you need to end up.

Not only do visual problem maps let you plot the most efficient route from Point A (dysfunctional situation) to Point B (flawless process), problem mapping diagrams make it easier to see:

  • The root cause of a dilemma.
  • The steps, resources, and personnel associated with each possible solution.
  • The least time-consuming, most cost-effective options.

A visual problem solving process help to solidify understanding. Furthermore, it’s a great way for you and your team to transform abstract ideas into a practical, reconstructive plan.

Here are three examples of common problem mapping diagrams you can try with your team:

1. Fishbone diagrams

Fishbone diagrams are a common problem solving tool so-named because, once complete, they resemble the skeleton of a fish.

With the possible root causes of an issue (the ribs) branching off from either side of a spine line attached to the head (the problem), dynamic fishbone diagrams let you:

  • Lay out a related set of possible reasons for an existing problem
  • Investigate each possibility by breaking it out into sub-causes
  • See how contributing factors relate to one another

MindManager Fishbone Diagram 1

Fishbone diagrams are also known as cause and effect or Ishikawa diagrams.

2. Flowcharts

A flowchart is an easy-to-understand diagram with a variety of applications. But you can use it to outline and examine how the steps of a flawed process connect.

Flowchart | MindManager

Made up of a few simple symbols linked with arrows indicating workflow direction, flowcharts clearly illustrate what happens at each stage of a process – and how each event impacts other events and decisions.

3. Strategy maps

Frequently used as a strategic planning tool, strategy maps also work well as problem mapping diagrams. Based on a hierarchal system, thoughts and ideas can be arranged on a single page to flesh out a potential resolution.

Strategy Toolkit MindManager 2018

Once you’ve got a few tactics you feel are worth exploring as possible ways to overcome a challenge, a strategy map will help you establish the best route to your problem-solving goal.

Problem solving mind maps

Problem solving mind maps are especially valuable in visualization. Because they facilitate the brainstorming process that plays a key role in both root cause analysis and the identification of potential solutions, they help make problems more solvable.

Mind maps are diagrams that represent your thinking. Since many people struggle taking or working with hand-written or typed notes, mind maps were designed to let you lay out and structure your thoughts visually so you can play with ideas, concepts, and solutions the same way your brain does.

By starting with a single notion that branches out into greater detail, problem solving mind maps make it easy to:

  • Explain unfamiliar problems or processes in less time
  • Share and elaborate on novel ideas
  • Achieve better group comprehension that can lead to more effective solutions

Mind maps are a valuable problem solving tool because they’re geared toward bringing out the flexible thinking that creative solutions require. Here are three types of problem solving mind maps you can use to facilitate the brainstorming process.

4. Mental maps

A mental map helps you get your thoughts about what might be causing a workplace issue out of your head and onto a shared digital space.

Mental Map | MindManager Blog

Because mental maps mirror the way our brains take in and analyze new information, using them to describe your theories visually will help you and your team work through and test those thought models.

5. Idea maps

Mental Map | MindManager Blog

Idea maps let you take advantage of a wide assortment of colors and images to lay down and organize your scattered thought process. Idea maps are ideal brainstorming tools because they allow you to present and explore ideas about the best way to solve a problem collaboratively, and with a shared sense of enthusiasm for outside-the-box thinking.

6. Concept maps

Concept maps are one of the best ways to shape your thoughts around a potential solution because they let you create interlinked, visual representations of intricate concepts.

Concept Map | MindManager Blog

By laying out your suggested problem-solving process digitally – and using lines to form and define relationship connections – your group will be able to see how each piece of the solution puzzle connects with another.

Problem solving software solutions

Problem solving software is the best way to take advantage of multiple problem solving tools in one platform. While some software programs are geared toward specific industries or processes – like manufacturing or customer relationship management, for example – others, like MindManager , are purpose-built to work across multiple trades, departments, and teams.

Here are three problem-solving software examples.

7. Layered process audit software

Layered process audits (LPAs) help companies oversee production processes and keep an eye on the cost and quality of the goods they create. Dedicated LPA software makes problem solving easier for manufacturers because it helps them see where costly leaks are occurring and allows all levels of management to get involved in repairing those leaks.

8. Charting software

Charting software comes in all shapes and sizes to fit a variety of business sectors. Pareto charts, for example, combine bar charts with line graphs so companies can compare different problems or contributing factors to determine their frequency, cost, and significance. Charting software is often used in marketing, where a variety of bar charts and X-Y axis diagrams make it possible to display and examine competitor profiles, customer segmentation, and sales trends.

9. MindManager

No matter where you work, or what your problem-solving role looks like, MindManager is a problem solving software that will make your team more productive in figuring out why a process, plan, or project isn’t working the way it should.

Once you know why an obstruction, shortfall, or difficulty exists, you can use MindManager’s wide range of brainstorming and problem mapping diagrams to:

  • Find the most promising way to correct the situation
  • Activate your chosen solution, and
  • Conduct regular checks to make sure your repair work is sustainable

MindManager is the ultimate problem solving software.

Not only is it versatile enough to use as your go-to system for puzzling out all types of workplace problems, MindManager’s built-in forecasting tools, timeline charts, and warning indicators let you plan, implement, and monitor your solutions.

By allowing your group to work together more effectively to break down problems, uncover solutions, and rebuild processes and workflows, MindManager’s versatile collection of problem solving tools will help make everyone on your team a more efficient problem solver.

Download a free trial today to get started!

Ready to take the next step?

MindManager helps boost collaboration and productivity among remote and hybrid teams to achieve better results, faster.

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Why choose MindManager?

MindManager® helps individuals, teams, and enterprises bring greater clarity and structure to plans, projects, and processes. It provides visual productivity tools and mind mapping software to help take you and your organization to where you want to be.

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7 Powerful Problem-Solving Root Cause Analysis Tools

The first step to solving a problem is to define the problem precisely. It is the heart of problem-solving.

Root cause analysis is the second important element of problem-solving in quality management. The reason is if you don't know what the problem is, you can never solve the exact problem that is hurting the quality.

Sustainable Compliance for Out of Specifications (OOS) Results, Deviations, and Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA)

Manufacturers have a variety of problem-solving tools at hand. However, they need to know when to use which tool in a manner that is appropriate for the situation. In this article, we discuss 7 tools including:

  • The Ishikawa Fishbone Diagram (IFD)
  • Pareto Chart
  • Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
  • Scatter Diagram
  • Affinity Diagram
  • Fault Tree Analysis (FTA)

1. The Ishikawa Fishbone Diagram IFD

networking problem solving tools

The model introduced by Ishikawa (also known as the fishbone diagram) is considered one of the most robust methods for conducting root cause analysis. This model uses the assessment of the 6Ms as a methodology for identifying the true or most probable root cause to determine corrective and preventive actions. The 6Ms include:

  • Measurement,
  • Mother Nature- i.e., Environment

Related Training: Fishbone Diagramming

2. Pareto Chart

networking problem solving tools

The Pareto Chart is a series of bars whose heights reflect the frequency or impact of problems. On the Chart, bars are arranged in descending order of height from left to right, which means the categories represented by the tall bars on the left are relatively more frequent than those on the right.

Related Training: EFFECTIVE INVESTIGATIONS AND CORRECTIVE ACTIONS (CAPA) Establishing and resolving the root causes of deviations, problems and failures

This model uses the 5 Why by asking why 5 times to find the root cause of the problem. It generally takes five iterations of the questioning process to arrive at the root cause of the problem and that's why this model got its name as 5 Whys. But it is perfectly fine for a facilitator to ask less or more questions depending on the needs.

networking problem solving tools

Related training: Accident/Incident Investigation and Root Cause Analysis

4. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)

FMEA is a technique used to identify process and product problems before they occur. It focuses on how and when a system will fail, not if it will fail. In this model, each failure mode is assessed for:

  • Severity (S)
  • Occurrence (O)
  • Detection (D)

A combination of the three scores produces a risk priority number (RPN). The RPN is then provided a ranking system to prioritize which problem must gain more attention first.

Related Training: Failure Mode Effects Analysis

5. Scatter Diagram

networking problem solving tools

A scatter diagram also known as a scatter plot is a graph in which the values of two variables are plotted along two axes, the pattern of the resulting points revealing any correlation present.

To use scatter plots in root cause analysis, an independent variable or suspected cause is plotted on the x-axis and the dependent variable (the effect) is plotted on the y-axis. If the pattern reflects a clear curve or line, it means they are correlated. If required, more sophisticated correlation analyses can be continued.

Related Training: Excel Charting Basics - Produce Professional-Looking Excel Charts

6. Affinity Diagram

Also known as KJ Diagram, this model is used to represent the structure of big and complex factors that impact a problem or a situation. It divides these factors into small classifications according to their similarity to assist in identifying the major causes of the problem.

networking problem solving tools

7. Fault Tree Analysis (FTA)

The Fault Tree Analysis uses Boolean logic to arrive at the cause of a problem. It begins with a defined problem and works backward to identify what factors contributed to the problem using a graphical representation called the Fault Tree. It takes a top-down approach starting with the problem and evaluating the factors that caused the problem.

networking problem solving tools

Finding the root cause isn't an easy because there is not always one root cause. You may have to repeat your experiment several times to arrive at it to eliminate the encountered problem. Using a scientific approach to solving problem works. So, its important to learn the several problem-solving tools and techniques at your fingertips so you can use the ones appropriate for different situations.

ComplianceOnline Trainings on Root Cause Analysis

P&PC, SPC/6Sigma, Failure Investigation, Root Cause Analysis, PDCA, DMAIC, A3 This webinar will define what are the US FDA's expectation for Production and Process Control / Product Realization, the use of statistical tehniques, 6 sigma, SPC, for establishing, controlling , and verifying the acceptability of process capability and product characteristics, product acceptance or validation and other studies. Non-conformance, OOS, deviations Failure Investigations, and Root Cause Analysis, PDCA, DMAIC, and similar project drivers to improvement, A# and similar dash boards.

Accident/Incident Investigation and Root Cause Analysis If a major workplace injury or illness occurred, what would you do? How would you properly investigate it? What could be done to prevent it from happening again? A properly executed accident/incident investigation drives to the root causes of the workplace accident to prevent a repeat occurrence. A good accident/incident investigation process includes identifying the investigation team, establishing/reviewing written procedures, identifying root causes and tracking of all safety hazards found to completion.

Root Cause Analysis - The Heart of Corrective Action This presentation will explain the importance of root cause analysis and how it fits into an effective corrective and preventive action system. It will cover where else in your quality management system root cause analysis can be used and will give examples of some of the techniques for doing an effective root cause analysis. Attendees will learn how root cause analysis can be used in process control.

Addressing Non-Conformances using Root Cause Analysis (RCA) RCA assumes that systems and events are interrelated. An action in one area triggers an action in another, and another, and so on. By tracing back these actions, you can discover where the issue started and how it grew into the problem you're now facing.

Introduction to Root Cause Investigation for CAPA If you have reoccurring problems showing up in your quality systems, your CAPA system is not effective and you have not performed an in-depth root cause analysis to be able to detect through proper problem solving tools and quality data sources, the true root cause of your problem. Unless you can get to the true root cause of a failure, nonconformity, defect or other undesirable situation, your CAPA system will not be successful.

Root Cause Analysis and CAPA Controls for a Compliant Quality System In this CAPA webinar, learn various regulations governing Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA) and how organization should collect information, analyze information, identify, investigate product and quality problems, and take appropriate and effective corrective and/or preventive action to prevent their recurrence.

Root Cause Analysis for CAPA Management (Shutting Down the Alligator Farm) Emphasis will be placed on realizing system interactions and cultural environment that often lies at the root of the problem and prevents true root cause analysis. This webinar will benefit any organization that wants to improve the effectiveness of their CAPA and failure investigation processes.

Root Cause Analysis for Corrective and Preventive Action (CAPA) The Quality Systems Regulation (21 CFR 820) and the Quality Management Standard for Medical Devices (ISO 13485:2003), require medical device companies to establish and maintain procedures for implementing corrective and preventive action (CAPA) as an integral part of the quality system.

Strategies for an Effective Root Cause Analysis and CAPA Program This webinar will provide valuable assistance to all regulated companies, a CAPA program is a requirement across the Medical Device, Diagnostic, Pharmaceutical, and Biologics fields. This session will discuss the importance, requirements, and elements of a root cause-based CAPA program, as well as detailing the most effective ways to determine root cause and describing the uses of CAPA data.

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  1. Network Troubleshooting

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  2. 3 Common Network Issues and How to Resolve Them Fast

    networking problem solving tools

  3. Problem-Solving Techniques #10: Project Network Diagrams

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  4. How to Troubleshoot Your Home Internet in 9 Easy Steps

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  5. The Ultimate Guide to Problem Solving Tools

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  6. Network Problems? 7 Diagnostic Tricks and Simple Fixes

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  1. 9 most common network issues and how to solve them

    Here are nine of the most common network issues to troubleshoot. 1. Slow network. Users complain the network is too slow. There can be many reasons why a network that provided adequate performance in the past is now frustrating its users. For instance, a new application, such as video conferencing or online training videos, may have been added.

  2. A Guide to Network Troubleshooting

    Network troubleshooting is a repeatable process, which means that you can break it down into clear steps that anyone can follow. 1. Identify the Problem. The first step in troubleshooting a network is to identify the problem. As a part of this step, you should do the following: Gather information about the current state of the network using the ...

  3. 15 Best Network Troubleshooting & Diagnostics Tools 2024

    Here's our list of the best network diagnostic tools and troubleshooting software: Datadog Network Performance Monitoring EDITOR'S CHOICE A cloud-based network monitoring and management service that includes autodiscovery, topology mapping, performance alerts, and troubleshooting tools Start a 15-day free trial.

  4. 16 Tech Experts Choose The Best Network Troubleshooting Tools

    3. tcpdump. tcpdump is a must-have troubleshooting tool for pros. If they can use it effectively, they can pinpoint network problems quite quickly without affecting unrelated applications. - Vipin ...

  5. Network Problems: How to Troubleshoot (With Tools)

    Basic Network Troubleshooting Three-Step Checklist. The first step in identifying network problems is to check whether the problem is with your network. If you're trying to connect to an external website or server, check whether the issue is on the other side. You can use sites like isitdownrightnow.com to search a URL, and the tool will pull ...

  6. What is Network Troubleshooting? How to Fix Network Issues

    Network Troubleshooting Definition. Network troubleshooting in the process of measuring, identifying, and resolving network-related issues. It's also defined as a logical process network engineers follow to improve the overall network operations. Troubleshooting is a repetitive, rigorous, and effective process that involves regular analysis ...

  7. 12 Best Network Troubleshooting Tools You Need to Know

    For network administrators and IT personnel, staying updated with these tools is crucial for quick and effective problem-solving. This blog will explore the essential network troubleshooting tools that every professional should be aware of in 2024. By understanding their functions and benefits, you'll be better equipped to handle the challenges ...

  8. Best Network Troubleshooting & Diagnostics Tools

    Features: LAN troubleshooting for 10 to 10,000 network devices. Prebuilt reports and UX-driven dashboards. Troubleshooting and problem alerts sent via email, SMS, Slack, and ticketing. Natively includes troubleshooting tools like Ping, SNMP Ping, Proxy Ping, Traceroute, WMI Query Tool, and CLI Query Tool.

  9. Best Network Troubleshooting Tools for IP Pros

    The key to surviving this new industrial revolution is leading it. That requires two key elements of agile businesses: awareness of disruptive technology and a plan to develop talent that can make the most of it. Our top 10 network troubleshooting tools include Ping, Traceroute, Ipconfig/Ifconfig, NSlookup, and more.

  10. Network Troubleshooting

    If you already know network troubleshooting methodology, but you are looking more for automated software read more about my favorite one SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor and read this article. Network Troubleshooting Steps. 1. Check the hardware. 2. Use ipconfig. 3. Use ping and tracert.

  11. List of Top Network Troubleshooting Tools 2024

    Network Troubleshooting Tools track network access, analyze network health, log unexpected behavior, and record end-user statistics. Network Troubleshooting Tools can also provide proactive problem solving solutions such as network penetration testing, dynamic traffic flow compensation, and automated device and host discovery. Because of their ...

  12. The Best Network Troubleshooting Tools & Software (FREE)

    OpUtilis provides a comprehensive set of networking tools which includes Ping, Trace Route, System Details Update, DNS Resolver, and MIB Browser. Being an advanced and reliable replacement for native commands that work with syntax and are of limited capacity, OpUtils' network tools sport a code-free intuitive UI that can scan and troubleshoot your network within seconds.

  13. Basic Network Troubleshooting: A Complete Guide

    The basics of network troubleshooting have not changed much over the years. When you're network troubleshooting, a lot can be required to solve the problem. You could be solving many different issues across several different systems on your complex, hybrid network infrastructure. A network observability solution can help speed up and simplify the process.

  14. Start Here

    The first step to solving a network problem is finding the source. Network problems are caused by a part of the network you control or a part of the network outside your control. ... Those tools are Ping and Traceroute. The difference is PingPlotter visualizes the information in a way that makes finding the source of network problems easier. To ...

  15. Best FREE Network Troubleshooting Tools & Software for Your IT

    EDITOR'S CHOICE. Ipconfig and ifconfig are our top picks for free network troubleshooting tools because it is already built into the operating system for Windows, Linux, Unix, and macOS, so you already have it. Use ipconfig on Windows and ifconfig on Linux, Unix, and macOS. If you get to the command line and try out this utility, you will ...

  16. How to Approach Networking Problems Effectively: Tips and Tools

    1 Gather information. The first step to approach networking problems effectively is to gather as much information as possible about the problem, the network, and the affected devices and users ...

  17. Network troubleshooting methodology: A quick guide

    Networks control information flow and direction. This network troubleshooting methodology helps solve the most common causes of networking issues. T roubleshooting your network is one of the most important skills you can have because it allows you to take your environment to the next level. I like to think of a network as a stream that flows ...

  18. 15 Common Network Problems & How To Solve Them

    Here are more everyday common network problems; Cyber Security or hacking your network. Only about 14 percent of small businesses can mitigate cyber risks and their network's vulnerability. Of the 14%, 60 percent of them go out of business within six months. Data Back-ups.

  19. Problem Solving Skills for Network Reliability

    4 Network problem solving tools. Network engineers use various tools to support their problem solving process, such as Ping, Traceroute, SNMP, and Wireshark. Ping tests the connectivity and ...

  20. Artificial intelligence helps solve networking problems

    DISH knew that it needed to modernize its networking stack, and it sought tools that would help it deliver private 5G networks to enterprise customers on demand and with guaranteed SLAs. This was ...

  21. 9 essential problem solving tools: the ultimate guide

    Problem solving software is the best way to take advantage of multiple problem solving tools in one platform. While some software programs are geared toward specific industries or processes - like manufacturing or customer relationship management, for example - others, like MindManager , are purpose-built to work across multiple trades ...

  22. 7 Powerful Problem-Solving Root Cause Analysis Tools

    However, they need to know when to use which tool in a manner that is appropriate for the situation. In this article, we discuss 7 tools including: The Ishikawa Fishbone Diagram (IFD) Pareto Chart. 5 Whys. Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) Scatter Diagram. Affinity Diagram.

  23. How to Network with Problem-Solving Professionals

    Identify your problem. 2. Research potential contacts. 3. Reach out with a clear purpose. 4. Follow up and show appreciation. 5. Build a long-term relationship.