Network Troubleshooting Guide

Making Contact

A compelling case drastically improves the odds of success when you're fixing a network outside you control. Once you have one, the next step is reaching out and presenting the case.

The first step to making contact is deciding who to contact. Two general categories are internet providers and content providers. If your PingPlotter results show the problem starting in the middle of the graph, start by contacting your internet provider. If the results show the problem at the final destination only, start by contacting whoever controls the target website.

Before you reach out

Doing these things before you make contact leads to more effective conversations.

Be patient

Depending on the severity of your issue, it could potentially take a few days to a few weeks to resolve the problem.

Do the obvious

Complete troubleshooting steps like rebooting your router before you make contact. That way you can (hopefully) skip a few steps while you're talking to a technician.

Research the issue

It's possible you are not alone. Research your issue on sites like or service provider websites for background information on the problem.

Be prepared

Have all of your info ready before you initiate any contact. That includes PingPlotter results, worksheet, account information, and a description of your problem.

How to connect

Most providers have three contact options.

Email / online support ticket

Email is a great way to keep track of all of your correspondence. However, this method usually has a longer turn around time. It could take a few days for a response.


Phone calls offer a fast way to make your issue known. Calling usually takes top priority, and with a live person on the other end, it can be a bit easier to present your case. You also have the opportunity to build a connection with the person you're working with, and hopefully get better service.

The downside of the phone is there isn't a great way to show anything. You'll probably end up sending an email or two at some point. There also isn't an automatic conversation record, but taking notes or recording is a good way to address that.

Online chat

If online chat is available it provides a nice hybrid solution. You get faster responses, have a record of the conversation, and can share files as needed. The negative is chat makes building a relationship more difficult than a phone call. You may miss out on the friend on the inside benefit you can get with the phone.

Working with service providers

A mixed approach is often the best practice. Something like emailing and following up through the phone. Once you've presented your case, give the provider a chance to work on your issue. It may not be an easy fix, so it could take some time. Additional conversations and tests will likely be involved so prepare for some follow-up.

If you're asked to perform a test you've already done, calmly explain this and provide the test results. If they insist you do the test again, they cold be monitoring changes on their end. Follow their directions within reason. As long as it feels like you're getting helpful responses, continue following their instructions.

If you reach a point where it feels like you aren't being helped anymore, it's time to escalate the issue. Continue for tips on effective escalation. On the other hand, if you think you and your provider are moving toward a solution, click the wrap up button and we'll finish things up.

Escalate the IssueWrap Up

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