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Please can someone suggest a simple tool to monitor the reliability of a network connection?

I've recently started working for a MSP (first job) and one of the clients I support has a small building separate to the main one. There's just a single PC and and printer in there and it's connected to the main building via a wireless bridge attached to a switch. Whilst I was there all connections to the network failed and I was told that it happened again the week before. Prior to that there have been no problems (that I/they know off) for some years since it was installed. I'm still getting my head around the infrastructure here, the person who supported it has left and the documentation is quite out of date. I "fixed" it by restarting it, but I'd like to get a better idea about what's happening, is it dropping data at other times?

Can anyone recommend a simple piece of software I could install on the client's PC to monitor what's going on and work out if something is going to need replacing soon?

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The problem is here:

"[...] a small building separate to the main one. There's just a single PC and and printer in there and it's connected to the main building via a wireless bridge attached to a switch"

If a customer describe me disconnection of a printer in another building with a network that relies only on a WiFi bridge... I would say that's normal! Don't think not even for a second that that solution is going to work. You have to setup a cable to this building. Or if you want to keep going with the WiFi connection you have to use Enterprise Level Access Point that could guarantee a reliable connection.

If you are working in an enterprise environment you probably have already a tool that could help you out:

  • Event Viewer & router/AP log: every router or access point has logs about disconnections, especially if you use an access point like this
  • Firewall & IDS: your enterprise must have a firewall and through that you can setup a continuous ping (ping 10.172.0.34 -t) and a relative e-mail alert that will tell you in real time when the disconnection happens.

Any network monitoring software that you will buy at $1 or at $1000 will have underneath a ping to an IP Address and a relative e-mail alert. That's why I prefer using the tools I already have in place.

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  • Appreciated. The setup currently used two NanoStation M5s. The firewall is a Linux server and runs IP Tables. Cabling isn't really practical (at least the expense would be far to great for the use). My concern is that the setup has appeared to work well for a number of years and then had failure twice in a short space of time. Should I be able to set a log for how often it pings the other the NanoStation? I see I can reboot it with Ping Watchdog, but would rather just check for errors at this stage. Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 15:19
  • no, the ping must come from the very beginning to the very end: your PC to the printer. Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 15:37
  • NanoStation M5 looks Pro. What is the distance between the two? Is there anything in between? Ground floor or up in the air? How many walls in between? People or cars passing in between? Weather has changed lately (fog/snow)? Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 15:39

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