Establishing a theory of probable cause

Choose  a networking troubleshooting approach; there are some examples in the  text. Feel free to cover another that is not listed in the text, as long  as it is a suitable network troubleshooting approach.

According to CompTia, the troubleshooting methodology is as follows;

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Establish a theory of probable cause
  3. Test the theory to determine the cause
  4. Establish a plan of action to resolve the problem and implement the solution
  5. Verify full system functionality, and, if applicable, implement preventive measures
  6. Document findings, actions and outcomes

In my experience, I usually try to identify all of the components in a  signal path, pick a halfway point, and test for the correct signal  there. If I get correct results, I move backwards until I don’t. Then I  know which component is faulty. Once I know which component is faulty, I  begin diagnosis and work towards resolution. Typically, it involves a  great deal of research on open source intelligence sites,  trial-and-error, and sometimes I just have to replace the component.  This is something I learned while repairing helicopters in the Army, but  the theory is the same for just about anything that needs repairs. The  biggest take-away that has guided me towards faster repairs is this: my  problem is not unique. Someone has experienced it before and knows the  answer. Someone has also posted that solution somewhere, I just have to  spend the time to look for it.

Why did you choose this networking troubleshooting approach?  

I chose that approach from years of experience, and many failures  that I learned from those failures. It is easy to get frustrated or  overwhelmed when a problem is in front of you and you don’t know the  next step to resolve it. There is always a solution out there, and  someone knows that answer. Although this is not directly related to  networking, the theory of troubleshooting is the same. I was informed  that the drain pipe to my kitchen sink was damaged and water was leaking  into my crawl space. I called a plumber, who quoted me $3.5k to repair  it. I decided that it was time for me to learn basic plumbing. I went  underneath my house, looked at the problem, took pictures of every angle  I could, went online, researched basic plumbing techniques, then went  to a plumbing store to get some advice. I brought him a six pack and he  shared his wisdom. Then he filled my cart with everything I would need  to fix the problem and showed me how to do it. An hour and a half later,  and $14.35 later, the pipe was fixed. I didn’t realize it at the time,  but I was following CompTia’s troubleshooting methodology (maybe not  step 6).

Take your networking troubleshooting approach and apply it to  the issue you chose. Summarize the steps you would take to troubleshoot  the issue. 

Choosing an issue; cannot connect get on the internet. I chose that  issue because it happened to several computers I was managing today.  First, I was alerted about the issue, so I researched to find out  exactly the extent of it. Is it everyone? Is it post-wide? Is it  DISA-wide? It turned out to be just our building. Knowing that other  buildings had network and that everyone in our building did not  eliminated several possible problems. I knew it had nothing to do with  the individual machines or their configuration, and I knew that there  was a chance I could re-establish network connectivity. The only  elements between the laptops and the post-wide network devices were the  modem, router, switch, and patch. I went into the server room and  noticed that the lights on the switch weren’t blinking like they usually  did. I called the Network Enterprise Center and had them reach out to  that switch (I don’t have admin rights on garrison level network  devices) and they were able to reset the switch. It turns out that a  power outage the night before reset the switch and it lost  authentication. I then verified that everyone in the building had  network access. I had to fill out a few forms with the NEC after all of  that was done.


Garn, D. M. (2022, October 5). Use a Troubleshooting Methodology for More Efficient IT Support. Default.

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