Using MAC Addresses to Quickly Resolve Connectivity Issues

By March 23, 2018 No Comments
Using MAC Addresses to Quickly Resolve Connectivity Issues

For IT professionals, troubleshooting network problems is an unwelcome part of the job. Managing an IT network is already a time-consuming affair, so when unexpected issues pop up out of the blue, it often requires hours of frustrating problem solving to get the network back online. Some IT technicians may be unaware of one simple hack that can save them precious time and make their lives a lot easier. The trick: tracking the MAC (Media Access Control) address through a network.

It may sound obvious, but many issues can be diagnosed quickly just by understanding the MAC address of the access point. MAC is a unique address assigned to every piece of network-connected equipment. It is what allows network traffic to find its destination. Since each article of network gear between the AP and the controller tracks the MAC address, it is the single most important element for troubleshooting connectivity issues. If an AP isn’t connecting to the controller, how would one identify that particular AP apart from the others?

Best practices suggest labeling the AP with its corresponding MAC address during deployment so that it always remains visible. In addition, creating a floorplan which clearly shows the location of the AP and has the MAC address labeled can go a long way toward saving time on getting malfunctioning hardware up and running.

Each managed switch typically has a visible table of port numbers and MAC addresses. Being able to readily identify which cables run to the corresponding ports on the Ethernet switch enables one to easily determine which MAC addresses are communicating with a specific port.

Thus, troubleshooting is made easy by utilizing a complete list of AP locations with MAC addresses.

Beyond being able to identify MAC addresses, understanding them is also particularly useful.

The first few characters of the MAC address identifies the vendor. This makes it easy to review a table of MAC addresses and pinpoint the corresponding devices. For IT technicians trying to track down a device but have no idea what the device is, the MAC address can be reverse searched on the Internet to reveal the manufacturer. Sometimes the information even details the piece of equipment registered to the address.

Finally, understanding that the last four characters of a MAC address are typically unique in a single deployment will save valuable time. IT technicians need only scan the logs or tables for those four characters, then validate the remaining characters to easily identify the corresponding device.

Tracing and identifying MAC addresses can help IT specialists resolve connectivity issues with ease. Samsung Networks uses best practices when installing a network, ensuring proper MAC address labeling to proactively help in resolving future connectivity challenges. Learn more about Samsung Networks’ access point solutions by visiting today!

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