Saturday, October 28, 2006

Network: Error Message - "Network Cable Unplugged"

Home networks have become very important these days. Most people who use a computer might know how to hook an Ethernet cable from their computer to their switch or broadband router but that's generally all they understand about networking or even care to know about it.

Until the day they get a message that says 'Network Cable Unplugged.' It sounds simple and could be but this same message could also mean something more then the cable is unplugged. This same message could mean that you have a short in your cable, your network card has stopped functioning, etc.

Follow the steps below to help diagnose this problem:
  • Verify the cable is plugged in at both ends, press it in see if you hear a click. Check your computer and see if the message goes away. If it doesn't unplug the cable at both ends, then plug it back in.
    • If this is a new cable, make sure that its not a crossover cable (check the bag that it came in) you need a straight through network cable. Also some network switches have an uplink port or a button to make a port an uplink port. If the uplink button is enabled disable it, this is only needed if you're hooking two switches together without a crossover cable.
  • When the cable is plugged in you should see a green light (or even a flashing green or amber light) on the switch and on your computer. If you're not getting these lights after you check the cable in the previous step, try changing out the cable.
    • If you're not getting any lights on your network switch, make sure its plugged in and getting power. Most switches have some type of diagnostic lights, if you don't see them the wall plug, power transformer, or network switch could be bad.
  • If you know your switch is working, try plugging the cable into a different port on it. Its not to uncommon for a port to go bad on the network switch or an Ethernet card. If you have another computer that you can plug the cable into try that. If you know the port is working on the network switch, try using a different Ethernet card in your computer.
    • Before you switch out the Ethernet card in your computer, check to see if you can find it in your Windows Device Manager. If you do see it you can try to uninstall and reinstall it again (this will require that you already have the driver for this device on your computer). If you don't see your network card in the Device Manager try downloading the driver from the manufacture's web site.

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