Aptora Corporation Technical Support does not troubleshoot networks or network related issues. For any troubles related to networking, please contact a qualified IT professional familiar with network technologies. That said, the following information can be used to assist in diagnosing (and hopefully repairing) the most common network problem seen: bad cabling.
Symptoms of Faulty Network Cabling
Symptoms which indicate potential network cable problems include:
“Table Not Found” errors
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.”
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 and never blinks.
The Link-Light Misconception
While other programs may be able to function on “iffy” cables, the performance of a program the caliber of Total Office Manager® absolutely requires good network cables. Relying on “link-lights” on switches and NIC’s as an indicator of good network connectivity is notoriously unreliable. Our direct experience has shown over and over that link-lights will indicate a good connection even when the cable fails a cable test using an good quality tester.
On one particularly memorable occasion, Aptora personnel traveled halfway across the U.S. to resolve a “Total Office Manager Problem” for a client. The client was continuously having issues with the program, and were persistent in their claims that their cables passed connectivity tests. Using a relatively-inexpensive, quality tester it was quickly determined that about 80% of both their site-made and factory-made network cables FAILED a cable test, including the cable which connects their server to their main network switch! Much to the client’s embarrassment, it was discovered they were still relying on link-lights as their connectivity indicator, in spite of being asked repeatedly to use a quality cable tester. This scenario has been seen time and time again:
Client has Total Office Manager Problems…Client Fixes Bad Cabling…Total Office Manager Problems Go Away
It is strongly advised to test your cabling with a quality cable tester, easily purchased for less than $200. A quality cable tester is both inexpensive and easy to use. Ask to see the cable tester your IT Professional uses, then ask for a demonstration. If your IT “Pro” doesn’t have one, you should be concerned about how “Professional” they really are.
The Ultimate Test – Software or Hardware?
To truly determine whether a problem is software (Total Office Manager) or hardware (your network), try the following. Run and use Total Office Manager for a while on the server where the database lives. This basically excludes the network from the equation. If the program runs successfully, the problem is not software related.
- Ask about your IT Professional’s background and training. Qualified IT Professionals will usually have certifications like A+, Network+, MCP, MCSE, or a degree in CIS. Upon request, a good IT Pro will gladly provide references of satisfied customers. Don’t be afraid to contact those references and inquire about their level of satisfaction with the IT Pro’s service. Interview your IT Pro like a potential new hire. Remember, you’re placing the integrity of your business data in their hands…make sure they’re competent ones!
- Use switches and eliminate hubs. Switches and hubs are used to connect computers together on a network. Switches are extremely fast compared to hubs (10x to 100x faster or more!). Hunt down any old hubs which may still be on your network and replace them with switches. Switches are now very inexpensive so there is no excuse not to replace your hubs with them.