Day 17: Top 5 Basic Network Troubleshooting Tips

This post continues our 20 Day Challenge to understand the technical aspects of videoconferencing.

No Internet, No Videoconference. A phrase we often say to the teachers and educators we support. So in today’s post, let’s look at some basic things to check when you can’t connect anywhere.

1. Is the Internet working in the school/district?

Power outages, cut cables, big storms. You never know what will take out your Internet connection. If you don’t have Internet anywhere in the school, your videoconference isn’t going to work either!

2. Is the Ethernet cable connected and in good condition?

  • Follow the Ethernet (Internet) cable from the videoconference system to the wall Ethernet jack. Is it plugged in? Is it mangled looking? If the cart rolls over the cable too many times, the cable might not be functioning properly.

3. Is there activity on the link or status lights?

  • Check the link and status lights next to the spot where the Ethernet cable plugs in on the videoconference system. Are they on? Are the blinking? If not, you’re not plugged into a live jack.
  • It’s a good idea to label the correct jack in the wall. Double check with your district technical support personnel to make sure that it is the correct one.

4. Can you call outside your school/district/network?

  • Have a list of test sites handy.
  • Call to one or more test sites and see if you get audio and video.
  • Make sure both sites trying to connect are able to connect to a test site.

5. Did you give the correct IP address?

  • Note to network/VC people: set up the endpoint so that it shows it’s public IP on the front page. It’s not the end user’s fault if they take the IP off the screen to give out their number and it’s a 10. internal address!
  • Make sure you know your own IP address. It is usually listed on the front screen of your videoconference system.
Finally, double check your NAT or firewall settings to make sure they are configured correctly.


Your Turn

  • What tips do you have to share for troubleshooting your videoconference?
  • Any other common problems you’ve run into? Please share!

Team-written by Janine Lim, Shane Howard, and Roxanne Glaser. The opinions expressed in these posts are based on our collective video conference experience connecting classes across multiple networks to connect them to zoos, museums, experts and other classes during the past 10 years. This series of posts reflects our usage and understanding, not that of any vendor or manufacturer. No one is paying us to write these. We are just sharing what we have learned.


About Janine Lim

Janine Lim, PhD, currently serves as associate dean for online higher education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. She and her team support over 200 online courses, provide training for faculty teaching online, and work with the campus infrastructure support of online learning. Her department also provides educational technology and Moodle support for faculty and students. In addition, Janine is responsible for the faculty and courses of the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities. Janine has taught over 15 unique graduate educational technology classes online numerous times over the past 15 years, with some classes attracting participants from all over the world. Her undergraduate teaching includes social media courses for communication and digital media majors. Janine has served on the board of the United States Distance Learning Association since April 2015. Prior to her work at Andrews University, Janine coordinated distance education for 22 K12 school districts in southwest Michigan for 14 years. In that position, as one of the co-founders of TWICE, Michigan’s K12 Videoconferencing Organization, Janine has spearheaded popular international K12 videoconference projects such as Read Around the Planet and MysteryQuest. While still serving on the board of TWICE, she was instrumental in designing and implementing the CAPspace website for collaborative videoconference projects. Janine also served on a team of Michigan educational technology trainers providing a workshop called ATA Technology Academy. Her current online learning research interests include successful teacher behaviors, quality online discussions, and student activity patterns in self-paced courses.
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