Fixing network card timeouts

Ron Nutter helps a reader solve frequent time-out problems

My new Netgear FA311 and the on-board NIC on a Asus P56DC seem to time out. I'll try to get on the 'Net after an hour or so of not using the NIC card and get: "Cannot find Yahoo, check the spelling" from Netscape and a "Network Error Occurred while...." from Forte Agent. My wife can still get online with her machine while I am blocked. Rebooting will correct the problem, but what is it? I am using Windows XP as the client OS and a Netgear RP114 router.

- Bill Cooley

The first thing to look at is the power management settings on the computer. Under the network card properties you should be able to find a power management settings option. Make sure this is set to off. This should be all you have to do, although you may have to go a little further in disabling power management to some degree if you don't see a setting under the network card or the change made under the network card doesn't fix the problem.

If you still have the problem with your network connection, there are other things you can check. Make sure you have the latest network drivers for the Netgear NIC and for the imbedded network card on the motherboard. If you're trying to use both at the same time, try shutting down one of the network cards or removing the Netgear card from the computer, and go with the onboard connection only. Make sure all your XP patches are applied. Rebooting the computer and having it fix the problem would seem to point to the problem being at either the network card in the computer or the port in the router. The rebooting process forces a reinitializing of the connection and at least temporarily clears the problem.

Since your wife's computer still works, it might be a problem in the Netgear router. Move your wife's computer to another port on the router and move one of the other computers to the port on the router that your wife's computer was using. Make sure the Netgear router is also on the latest firmware. If the problem stays with the computer, this will help you isolate where to look. If it stays with the port, then you may have a problem router to deal with. The main thing is to go through a process of elimination, and you should be able to find the cause of the problem.

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