However, a couple of days later, the connection was restored but it continues to be spotty.
While trying to fix the issue, I did several things. One of them was to update my Comcast provided McAfee Security Suite.
The new suite is not an improvement but most importantly, since then my laptop started behaving very oddly:
1) Pressing ALT-Tab from IE7 to switch to another program freezes the entire computer. Pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL twice in rapid succession solves the problem (Alt-Tab from another app to IE7 works fine.
2) IE7 generally works sluggish, often cycling before showing a page.
3) The entire computer freezes randomly. Often waiting works, more often it doesn't and I have to hard reboot (unplug) the laptop. CTRL-ALT-DEL has no effect. Sometimes the Task manager appears (but I cannot interact with it) more often it doesn't.
I scanned all my computers multiple times, fixed registry, deactivated startup apps and so on. Nothing seems to cure the problem.
I'll be happy to upload a hijackthis log but only if requested (so this post won't be too long initially).
The network still gives me problems, but I solved it by installing Network Magic in order to make it easy on the rest of the family to reconnect if they get kicked off.
I would really appreciate some help here. Thank you