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Troubleshooting Network Cards

Cabling is one of the biggest problems encountered in a network installation. Is it connected? Are all the connections good? Is the cable type correct? Has there been any termination, and if so, has it been done correctly? The most efficient way to test network cable is to use a line tester to check its functionality.

With UTP cabling, simply unplug the cable from the adapter card and plug it into the tester. If coaxial cable is used, you must unplug both ends of the cable from the network, install a terminating resistor at one end of the cable, and plug the other end into the tester. The tester performs the tests required to analyze the cable and connection.

Most network adapter cards come from the manufacturer with an OEM disk or CD-ROM of drivers and diagnostic utilities for that particular card. You can run these diagnostic utilities to verify that the LAN hardware is functioning properly.

However, it might be easier to run the Windows PING utility from the command prompt and attempt to connect to the network. In a LAN environment, you need to know the IP address or the name of a remote computer in the network to which you can direct the PING. Both PING and TRACERT can be used to identify the IP address of a known network address.


Extensive additional information about PING, TRACERT, and the other TCP/IP utilities and there usage is provided in Chapter 5, "Important Resources."

Check the activity of the light on the back plate of the LAN card (if available) to determine whether the network is recognizing the network adapter card. If the lights are active, the connection is alive. If not, check the adapter in another node. Check the LAN cabling to ensure it is the correct type and that the connector is properly attached. A LAN cable tester is an excellent device to have in this situation.

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