Troubleshooting and the Physical Layer of the OSI Model

When issues occur on your network a high percentage of the issues will lie within the physical aspect of your network. What exactly is physical you might ask. Physical is anything you can lay your hands on; monitors, laptops, cables, (USB, ethernet, especially power), switches, routers, printers, you get the drift. These items magically move and change configurations all by themselves, at least that is what the end-user may tell you when you ask what they were doing when the issue occurred, (it was like that when I sat down).

You would tailor your method of troubleshooting to the symptom you are experiencing.  If there is no power to device you would check to make sure that the power cable is connected, is the reset switch on the surge protector tripped and believe it or not; is the receptacle that it is plugged into attached to a light switch.

If you cannot connect to the internet or network resources you would check to make sure the ethernet cable from the device to the wall or switch is secure, unplug then replug, make sure that the light on the switch or router that the device is plugged into is lite green and flashing.  If so then you would drop down to a command prompt by selecting start, run, cmd and hit enter.  At that point you could try pinging a website like, hit enter and see if it responds back, if not you can type the phrase ipconfig /all and see if you return an address of where the xxx could be any set of numbers.  This means that the PC is not able to get an ip address from its usual DHCP host, (Dynamic Hosts Configuration Protocol, that’s the one that hands out the ip address’).  There are a multitude of other resolutions for connectivity issues.

You can see that these issues all associate with something physical in one way, shape or form.  These extend to video issues, application issues, and our favorite issue of all, printing………and many more.   If you are experiencing something on a physical level and are out of ideas on how to correct them please feel free to leave me a comment with your issue.  You can always reach me at:

Harry McConchie – Systems Engineer

Carter Information Solutions – 301-576-6456


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We want your business network to be secure, reliable and productive - whether we're managing it or you are! This blog is intended to help keep you keep your network running smoothly. But if you ever need our assistance or would like us to manage your IT we're here to help. We remotely monitor your devices 24/7/365, preventative maintenace to prevent failures, keep your system secure, your operating systems up to date, configurations, patch management and back ups. Every month you will recieve a detailed report from our CER to show how your system ran for the month, any problems that occured and all work that was done to prevent a problem, updates, virus scans etc. Focus on Your Business - Not your Network with our Innovative Solutions for Your Computing Needs.
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