Why Does My Connection Keep Timing Out?

By Elizabeth Smith

Frequent connection timeouts make it impossible to use the Internet with any stability. When the Internet cuts out, you will not be able to stream video, load Web pages or download files. Before you spend hours on hold with your Internet service provider, a few simple fixes can resolve connection issues.

Router Problems

The router is a common culprit in an Internet connection that times out regularly. If the cable or Ethernet cord is not plugged in securely, the Internet may come and go. The firmware is another common problem; when it is not up to date, the router will not function steadily. Firmware updates are usually available on the manufacturer's website. Before you change the hardware, however, reset the router first to resolve any issues with corrupt settings that are causing the connection to time out.

Range

The range of your router is device-specific. Wireless-G routers generally have a shorter range than wireless-N routers, but the end strength also depends on the antenna. If your Internet connection has just begun to time out, it may be because you have moved your computer out to the edges of the router's range or because the antenna needs to be replaced. A high-gain, uni-directional antenna can boost the range and create a more directed signal.

Signal Interference

Signal interference is a common problem for routers. Unassuming devices in your home, including cordless phones and microwaves, can give off frequencies that scramble the Internet signal. When the signal is interrupted, your computer will lose the connection. The problem may become worse at certain times of the day, when your use of other devices increases. Metal objects, brick walls and thick concrete walls also cause a Wi-Fi signal to drop.

Router Overload

Some routers have a limit to the number of devices that can be connected at once; when you reach that number, the signal may cut out. Because you network shares bandwidth with the other users in your area, your connection may also cut out when their use increases. While you can't do anything about your neighbors, minimizing the number of connected devices in your own household can stop timeouts.