Onion Approach to Wi-Fi Troubleshooting Basics: Device or Application?

By George Stafanick, Blog Contributor
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We've all been in this situation. Users are complaining about a wireless drop or problem when they use a specific application. As you sort it out you face the problem - device or application? Since it's on the wireless it's your problem until you sort through it. Here are some guidelines you can consider:

  1. Are other devices working on the same WLAN and frequency?
  2. Is this application used on wired? If so, is the application on wired having problems?
  3. Are other applications on the mobile device having problems or just this application?
  4. Build another model device without the corp load and conduct comparison testing.
  5. Can you run this application on another device?
  6. TAP the connection between the application server and wireless with wireshark. Compare a working connection with a connection that is not.
  7. See the issue for yourself.
  8. Speak to the application folks to see if they know of any application issues.
  9. Is the issue happening on a single device and is it perceived the issue is more wide spread?

I've been in situations where a single voice handset, particularly when used by a charge nurse, goes bad and everyone on the unit thinks they have issues. I've also had issues where a single device is loaded with multiple layers of security and applications. As you peel away the onion you identify one of the layers is the culprit. It can be tricky to diagnose. The key is to focus on one side at a time and not become overwhelmed.