My PC is losing its server connection, it has problems with broadband connectivity, and pages time out and don't respond. It's also dropping the network. What should I do?
I assume that you're running Windows. If so, welcome to the wonderful world of computer networking frustrations. Your PC connectivity problem could be caused by a thousand different things. Let's address each component you mentioned separately.
This is the likely cause of your difficulties. Check your PC for malware using multiple tools. Install the latest Windows updates as well as patches for Java, Adobe Acrobat and any other third-party software you're running. Uninstall any unnecessary programs, including add-ons in your Web browsers. Defragment your hard drive. Reboot. A fresh reinstall might be in store, but try the next steps first.
This is the next likely cause of PC connectivity problems. What else is on your network? Is it just your computer and router? Are you using Wi-Fi to connect or a hard-wired Ethernet connection? If you've got Wi-Fi, your signal could be weak. Is your computer close to the router when the problems occur?
If it runs on Ethernet, what speed are you connecting at? A green LED means 100 Mbps. Yellow means 1 Gbps. Really, any speed above the old-school 10 Mbps should run just fine since it's likely faster than your Internet connection. Replace your Ethernet cable.
Have you tried rebooting the router? That can fix a lot of problems, especially with lower-end consumer-grade routers.
Your broadband connectivity
This is the least likely cause of PC connectivity problems. Have you contacted your broadband provider? It can test the link and see what speed it's running at and determine if there has been any data loss. You can check your upload/download speeds yourself at websites like Speedtest.net.
If you're a telecommuter, consider having an IT administrator take a look at your system.
This was first published in June 2014