3 types of network errors you may encounter in data communication

Network errors can get in the way of a company’s everyday business processes. While they are certainly a hassle, they become much easier to manage if you understand them on a deeper level.

The three common error phases are defined by which part of the network request they occur in. These are DNS errors, connection errors and application errors. Before you can figure out what’s causing them, it’s important to understand what is supposed to be happening in each of these stages. Flawless operations of enterprise networks are crucial for constant communications and device interoperability. It is important to ensure enterprise security when dealing with corporate networks since growth inevitably leads to new vulnerabilities and risks.

What is a network request?

Network connections begin with a request to the server. This is how the communication process starts, and if a request is successful, it is met with a response from the server. The first step of a request typically involves DNS resolution, where the Domain Name System is used to turn a domain name into an IP address for the desired server.

Once DNS resolution has been completed successfully, it moves on to the secure connection phase. This is where a user opens a secure channel over its connection to the server. This is followed by the transmission of request and response. In this phase, the previously established secure channel allows the user to send their HTTP request and receive a response.

While this is the standard practice, network requests don’t always follow the procedure as outlined above. If the results for a domain have been cached locally, then DNS resolution is no longer necessary. HTTP persistent connections can also keep the network open for a string of requests.

What are DNS resolution errors?

These are errors that occur in the above-mentioned DNS resolution phase. In the process of resolving a DNS request, numerous problems can come up. These include:

  • DNS unreachable – The DNS server could not be reached.
  • DNS not resolved – The DNS server responded, but could not resolve the request.
  • DNS address changed – The IP address of the request’s origin has changed.
  • DNS failed – The DNS request failed for other reasons.

What are connection errors?

These errors take place in the secure connection phase. They can mostly be traced to issues with the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. TCP errors can include:

  • Connection refusal – The connection was refused by the server.
  • Connection timed out – The server connection timed out.
  • Connection reset – The TCP connection has reset for some reason.
  • Connection closed – The connection was closed by the server.
  • Address unreachable – The IP address could not be reached.
  • Address invalid – The IP address was not valid.
  • Connection aborted – The connection was aborted.

TLS errors that take place in the connection phase can include:

  • Invalid certificate – The connection was aborted due to an invalid certificate. This can be because the certificate date was invalid, the name was invalid, or because the authority was invalid.
  • Revoked certificate – The server’s certificate has been revoked and the connection was aborted.
  • Invalid client certificate – The connection was aborted because of an invalid certificate.
  • Certificate key pinning error – There was an error in pinning the certificate’s key, which led to the connection being aborted.
  • Protocol error – A protocol error has caused the connection to be aborted.
  • Cipher mismatch – There was a mismatch with the cipher or the version and the connection was aborted.
  • TLS connection failure – The connection failed for other reasons.

What are application errors?

Application errors are those that occur during the transmission of request and response phase. These errors can include:

  • HTTP protocol errors – HTTP protocol errors caused the connection to abort.
  • HTTP errors – These HTTP errors give the user a response, but it comes with errors on the client or server side that caused the connection to abort. One of the most common of these is a 404 (Not Found) error.
  • Response redirect loop – A redirect loop was detected, which caused the connection to abort.
  • Response invalid – The server response was invalid, either because it had improper encoding, was empty, had a content-length mismatch, or contained other errors.
  • HTTP failure – The connection failed for other HTTP-related reasons.
  • Unknown error – The reason for the error was unknown.
  • Abandoned – The user aborted the process before it was completed.

How can you manage network errors effectively?

If you want your network to function in peak condition, it’s important to keep track of which errors happen most frequently. One of the best ways to do this is with network monitoring software.

These tools give you an in-deep look into what is actually happening inside your network. They help you inspect what is affecting network performance, allow you to examine different points of your network, and also analyze what network errors are occurring.

The knowledge that these tools give you puts you in a much better position for understanding your network. With this information, it is much easier to fix any existing problems, and you will also be notified of new problems much sooner. You can address issues as they come up, resulting in a much more efficient network.

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