Troubleshooting Ethernet Connections for Students

So, you plugged your computer into the network and you can't get anywhere on the net. The following steps will guide you to the solutions to the dozen or so most common problems. If you're still having trouble, or if you want help from the beginning, feel free to contact the IT Service Desk.

This document applies to students trying to connect to an Ethernet network in student housing or in public access areas (Bruin Den, EHS Atrium, Edward Stevens Center, or MLRC Library).

Step 1: Check the obvious

  • Make sure your Ethernet cable is plugged in firmly to your computer.
  • Make sure your Ethernet cable is plugged in firmly to the wall/floor port. These ports are usually orange on our campus.
  • Restart your computer.
  • If you still aren't connecting to the network, proceed to step 2.
student using laptop in class

Step 2: Checking for problems outside your computer

  • Try connecting to a different Ethernet port. If you are in student housing try your roommate's port. If you are in a common area (such as the Bruin Den) try using one of the other data ports.
    • If your computer works on a different port then you've probably discovered a bad or disconnected port. (You can double-check this by having someone else who has already gotten on the network try using the suspect port.) Please report the bad port to your RA/AM/HM (for ports in student housing) or the IT Service Desk for ports in common areas.
  • If you still can't connect, try using a different Ethernet cable (borrow one from a roommate, friend, or a friendly person nearby).
    • If a different cable works, then your cable is probably bad. (You can double-check this by trying to use your cable on someone else's computer that has already connected to the network.) Throw away the cable and buy a new one.
  • If you still can't connect even after trying a different port and a different Ethernet cable, then proceed to step 3.

Step 3: Checking for problems inside your computer

  • Start by checking your "IP address" by doing one of the following:
    • Windows XP: Go to the Start menu and select "Control Panels". In the window that opens double-click on "Network Connections." In the next window right-click on "Local Area Connection" and go to "Status." Check what the status of your connect is (it should say "connected"), then go to the "Support" tab and find the IP address.
    • Windows 98: Go to the Start menu and select "Run." In the window that appears type winipcfg and hit Enter. In the next window make sure that the first box is set to an Ethernet card (and not PPP or dialup).
    • Macintosh OS 10: Go to the Apple Menu and select "System Preferences." In the window that opens click on "Network Preferences."
  • What you do next depends on what IP address you find and where you are.
    This is a little messy, so take a deep breath and:
    • If your IP address looks like 10.*.*.* where * is a number between 0 and 254 then you are connected to the network correctly. If you still can't get to web pages it's time to contact the IT Service Desk.
    • If your IP address looks like 169.*.*.* then try to renew (WindowsXP: click on the "Repair" button, Windows98: click on "Release" and then on "Renew," Mac: click on "Renew DHCP" (only available in OS 10.3 Panther)). If it renews, great. If not, it's time to visit the IT Service Desk. (If you are curious, this address means your computer sees the network but can't find a network server.)
    • If your IP address is 0.0.0.0 then your computer is not seeing any network traffic. Assuming you have already tried another port (step 2 above) it is time to visit the IT Service Desk.
    • If your IP address is anything besides one of the above, then you are probably configured to use a "static" IP address. This can happen with certain ISP setups and/or home networks. The IT Service Desk can help you reconfigure for GFU networking.

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