Sorry I'm a techie so I'm used to typing things like NIC
The NIC refers to the actual network card itself installed in your system - right click my network places and then properties > then do the same function on your local area connection. to the right of connect using there should be a "configure" button. In these settings you should go to the advanced tab and now you should be able to see the value for speed and duplex - make sure its set to auto (if not you could have a lot of randomly dropped packets and collisions between you and the router) which is why your husband does not have the same issue.
patch cable = the network cable running from your PC to the router - rarely do they go bad, however It does happen.
Good luck Maube!