Is the Problem With My Modem or My Router?

Margie Miller keeps losing her Internet connection. Is it the router, the modem, her PC, or something else?

You can isolate the problem by trying different configurations. Try these tests:

1) If you use WiFi, move your PC into the same room as your router and use an Ethernet connection. If the problem goes away, it's a WiFi problem, although you still won't know if it's the router or the PC.

2) Try replacing one or more of the cables involved. If you replace an expensive router and then discover the problem is a $2 telephone cable, you'll hate yourself in the morning.

3) Borrow another laptop or invite a friend to work at your home for a couple of days. If you have the problem and they don't, the problem is with your PC.

4) Bypass the router and connect the modem directly to your PC. If the problem reoccurs, the problem is either with the modem or the connection. But remember, not using a router is inherently dangerous, so go back to the router as soon as you've identified the problem.

And if the problem doesn't go away after all of these tests, it's your ISP's fault, even if they insist it isn't.

Add your comments to this article below. If you have other tech questions, email them to me at answer@pcworld.com, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum.

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