Troubleshooting The Network
By Stephen Bucaro
When you receive a call for technical support, you need to log the problem as you
receive the call. After you solve the problem, you should also document the solution.
Often the priority assignment system used by technical support is to give first
priority to whom ever screams the loudest. All users think their problem is first
priority. You need a system that prioritizes problems by importance and defines a
method for resolving problems.
To prioritize a problem you need to assess the seriousness of the problem and what
impact it has on the network. A problem that prevents a user from working entirely is
more important than one the user can work around temporarily. A problem that impacts
shared resources on the network is more important than a problem that affects only one user.
An organization usually has two levels of technical support. Level one is the less
experienced technicians who handle all the incoming calls. If possible they will try to
solve the problem over the phone. If they cannot solve the problem over the phone, they
will visit the site in person.
If the problem cannot be solved by the first level technician, they will pass the
problem to the second level. The second level technicians have more knowledge and experience.
Most calls to technical support are user errors. The first step to resolving a
problem is to identify if the problem is caused by user error or is a system problem.
Have the user duplicate the error. Log onto the same workstation to see if you can
duplicate the problem yourself. Log onto another equivalent workstation to determine
if the problem is limited to that one workstation or exists across all workstations.
Frequently what the user believes to be a system error is the result of the fact
that the user does not have the rights to accomplish the task. Do not take it upon
yourself to provide the user with greater rights by adding him to a different group or
providing him with administrator status.
It is much more difficult to resolve a problem that is not repeatable. If the
problem is intermittent, instruct the user to, next time the problem occurs, write down
the exact sequence of events that occurred just before the problem appeared. The user
should record any error messages that were displayed. Before you put a lot of time into
finding a solution to a problem, refer to your technical departments problem logs. It
may be possible that the particular problem has a history.