Internet randomly disconnects. Speed varies.

So, I am running Windows 7 and started having trouble with my internet connection this morning. What happens is that my connection seems to cut out (or drastically slow to a crawl) intermittently and I get many "Server Not Found" errors while browsing. Everything will be fine for a minute or two: I can click links, open tabs, open new windows and everything proceeds as it should until the connection either disconnects for a few seconds or slows to a crawl for about a minute and the problems start. Most of the time when I get a "Server Not Found" error, I hit the back button, reload the page, and it loads at the appropriate speed. When I ping from the command prompt, say, I get a mixture of "request timed out" and success messages.

I use a wired cable internet connection, directly connected to the modem. I am the only one who uses it and have had absolutely no trouble for two months (connection is two months old). I've contacted my ISP and they tell me that they see no problem at their end. I've power cycled the modem, and it did not work. I tried to update my Realtek PCIe FE network driver with disastrous results. Long story short, I had to use system restore a week into the past in order to fix it.

I tested this connection on an old computer from early 2009, running Vista, and the internet connection worked perfectly. So it has to be something with my computer. The ethernet card seems to be functioning normally. I'm able to ping it without any trouble, no request timed out messages. I really have no clue what could be causing this...

I used it at 3 am this morning, all was well, shut down for the night. I turn the computer on 6 hours later and it's a mess...

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