Basic Network Cable Testing
It is very important that you test the computer cabling in your office. We have had scores of support calls related to lost network connections, “table not found” error messages, and in rare cases, corrupted databases.
Please do not ignore this. Many clients have told us their cables were fine; “We’ve never had any trouble until Total Office Manager came along.” Once we begged and convinced them to conduct tests, many found that they had numerous faulty cables; even faulty factory made cables were detected. Once fixed, clients have reported that Total Office Manager operates much faster and is far more reliable.
Please do not call us for technical support on networking. I have instructed my coworkers not to answer any network “how-to” questions. Sorry but I live by an important rule that goes like this: “If we touch it or talk about how to fix it, we own it.”
Here are some of the symptoms to look for:
- When saving your work in Total Office Manager, you receive an error message that reads something like this: “The Microsoft Jet database engine cannot find the input table or query ‘<actual name depends>’. Make sure it exists and that its name is spelled correctly.”
- You have been told that you have a database corruption (corrupted database).
- Total Office Manager runs very slowly; even if other programs seem to be running fine.
- Computer locks up or freezes.
- Total Office Manager or other software programs crash (shut down with no error messages).
- Sluggish or unreliable network performance.
- The Network Card (NIC) on your computer has an orange light that is always lit.
Switches versus Hubs
Switches and hubs are used to connect all of your computers together (see illustration). You want to use a switch and NOT a hub. Switches are about ten times faster than a hub. Hubs use to be very common and your network may still have one. Please be sure you are using a switch and not a hub.
Testing your cables should be done by a professional. If you are comfortable doing it yourself, here are some basic instructions on how to do it.
- Read the instructions that come with the tester (our instructions may vary with other testers).
- Disconnect the network cable from your computer.
- Disconnect the computer cable from your network switch.
- Connect the “cable terminator” to one end of the wire.
- Connect your tester to the other end.
- Press the Network button. If the screen reads anything but “Passed”, there is a problem with the cable. You should have a professional make needed repairs and retest.
- Disconnect the cable terminator and the tester. Reconnect the computer and the switch.