Yes, I'm sure it is...think of how difficult it is for us when we're not even in the same room
Here is what I am after...I think that while your computer is "connected" to the internet...ie, they can see your system because it received a valid IP address, your computer is not getting DNS info, which renders your browser useless.
Your browser uses DNS info to translate www.msn.com (a url) to an IP address.
Your computer has no clue what www.msn.com means, so it talks to a DNS server, which then says, ahhhh, you want to go here.....xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx
Using the ip address, your computer requests the appropriate web page.
What you described fits this scenario