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Network Troubleshooting: Device Cleanup

I can’t stress enough how helpful and important it is to understand the protocols used by your devices, operating system and applications. When I touch on this topic, the typical response from networking pros is, “It’s not our problem.”

I understand that in most cases, the network staff is not responsible for desktop configurations. But, since computers are responsible for generating additional traffic and possible issues, I believe networking staff should be familiar with desktop protocols and how to generally optimize them. Cleaning up unused protocols and services will enable you to establish a baseline to streamline network troubleshooting.

I have seen computers set up as DHCP servers, access points, routers, and the list goes on. In this video, I talk about configurations that cause obvious operational issues, but it doesn’t have to be that dramatic. I love telling crowds about one of my most recent troubleshooting engagements where the “X-Files”-type performance issues ended up being a misconfigured printer. In short, the printer was configured as an IPv6 DHCP server and router. So everyone had to route through the printer to get off the network.

In my previous job, I was one of the few who learned about protocols, analyzers and how to tune or optimize configurations. For a while, I fought an uphill battle trying to convince people that these “baselines” had value and merit. Then one day, there was an outage out of nowhere that I was able to resolve quickly because I knew what normal network behavior was.

Funny thing, from that day on, I was asked to baseline everything from applications, PC configurations, network equipment, and WAN links.

Enjoy the video. I hope it inspires you to take a look under the hood.