Networking issues can be frustrating and time-consuming to troubleshoot. This was just one of my many experiences troubleshooting an interesting network issue that took me a while to solve.
The Problem: One day, I noticed that my computer’s network connection was acting up. The network interface card (NIC) was sending packets just fine, but it was receiving very few packets, and eventually, it would stop receiving packets altogether. At first, I suspected that the issue happened after I installed the Insider Preview of Windows 11, so I reset Windows. I updated the Realtek NIC driver to the latest version, hoping that it might help. The problem persisted.
The Troubleshooting: Next, I decided to reinstall Windows 11 from scratch, thinking that it might fix the issue. The problem still persisted even after the fresh install. Now I knew that the issue was likely to be hardware.
I boot into Linux from a USB drive. To my surprise, the issue persisted even in Linux. This ruled out any software or driver issues with Windows.
The Solution: I started to suspect that the issue might be with my Wi-Fi access point. I have a TP-Link Deco 6E mesh Wi-Fi system, and one of the access points acts as the main router. I decided to swap the problematic access point with another one, and to my relief, the issue disappeared instantly. My NIC was now sending and receiving packets normally, and I was back online.
Conclusion: Networking issues can be tricky to troubleshoot, and it’s easy to get lost in a sea of software and driver issues. Sometimes, the problem might not even be with your computer at all, but with your network equipment. If you’re experiencing a similar networking issue, try ruling out all software and driver issues first, and then focus on your network equipment. Hopefully, my experience will save you some time and frustration.