There are few office experiences more frustrating than sending a document to the printer and hearing… nothing. No whirring, no thumping, no document.
Your client will probably check if the device is plugged in and turned on, if there’s enough ink, and if paper needs restocking. But if these simple fixes don’t uncover the problem, then they’ll likely call you—and in the past, that meant jumping in the car and driving to the client site.
Manually troubleshooting any device’s internal connections can take hours, demanding you dig into onerous tasks like tracing wires and testing ports. Worse, if the client can’t connect to critical business functions—like printers, a point of sale (POS) system, or the internet as a whole—while you’re working, their business is interrupted.
And since downtime can have both reputational and financial consequences, that means a frustrated client—if you’re not using Auvik. Our network management software allows you to remotely troubleshoot connectivity problems so you can avoid truck rolls, save time, and keep clients productive and happy.
One of our partners, Matthew Greenbaum from Envision Technology Advisors, from Realized Solutions Inc., experienced how seeing device connections on the Auvik map helps with troubleshooting:
“Auvik is great for mapping networks, and it’s wonderful for troubleshooting connection issues. You can see how devices connect to each other, including the actual switch ports being used.”
Locate device stats on the Auvik map
Here’s a step-by-step example how Auvik can help you solve internal connection issues.
Let’s say a client’s workstation can’t ping a printer (which, if everything was hunky dory, it should be able to do). That means the issue lies outside the software and endpoints. So, it’s probably a network problem—which means it’s time to troubleshoot Layers 1, 2, and 3.
After pulling up the Auvik dashboard for the site, use the topology map to locate both the workstation and the printer, since we don’t know which is the culprit. Search for basic biodata like the devices’ names or serial numbers. Once they’re located, Auvik will show you whether they’re up or down, as well as key stats like IP addresses and VLANs.
Determine the logical and physical path from A to B
Then, by hovering over wires on the map, you can determine the logical and physical path that connects those two devices at Layers 1 through 3. Along the route, look for stats like interface status, duplex mismatches, and switch port configs. You can even search the map by VLAN to make sure the devices actually appear.
If you’re still unsure where the problem is, you can pull up the devices’ routing tables to compare against the connections you found following the topology map. That way, you can determine whether both devices have an appropriate next hop and destination. If you see a different hop or destination, that might be where the packet is getting lost.
Benjamin Rutter from The Logic Group says seeing device connections visually in both the map and routing table is especially helpful if you manage complex networks:
“Auvik has saved us many hours of troubleshooting. Having immediate visibility into ‘what’s plugged in where’ across an environment with 35 switches, 30 access points, and 10 routers has ended the days of relying on complex documentation to keep track of where everything is connected.”
Check whether Layer 2 configs are intact
If one of the devices doesn’t appear on the VLAN or you suspect a misroute, you can dive into the device’s configurations through the documentation tab. That way, you can compare the most recent configurations to past configs and see if anything changed that shouldn’t have.
You can also do a command+F search for specific details. There’s a separate configuration entry for every physical port, and you’ll see where each one is mapped to connect. Looking at switchport configs will help you make sure nothing has been shifted or omitted.
Inspect alert history
By checking the device’s alert history, you’ll see if there were interface drops or packet loss. This could mean a Layer 1 issue, such as a bad cable or a switch port that’s gone bad. The solution could simply be moving the connection to a different switch port, for example, or swapping a cable. If that doesn’t work, you could swap the small form-factor pluggable (SFP).
To facilitate the resulting configuration change, you can use one of three remote management protocols available in Auvik: remote terminal, tunnel, or browser.
Joey Undis from TechGen Consulting, Inc. used Auvik’s troubleshooting capabilities in a variety of complicated internal connectivity scenarios:
“Auvik has been a huge boon to troubleshooting network issues on complicated client networks where you don’t know where a user device may be, or if it’s plugged into a phone, unmanaged switch, or just wireless.”