NIC loosing connection

I am running Windows 98.  I have my nic connected to a 4 port Ethernet broadband router. (cable modem).  I have 4 computers sharing the cable modem as well as file and printer sharing among the 4 computers.  On one computer in particular, my nic appears to loose the connection with the router.  This occurs after the computer sits idle for a period of time.  I reboot my computer, and all is well.  This problem has just recently developed. It worked fine for a long time.  I’m thinking it is a software setting the has gotten changed and I am unable to trace it down.  I have gone as far as to replace the nic and same result. I've tried new network cables. I'm fairly convinced it is not a hardware problem.  All the other 3 computers are fine.  Below is a error message when starting Outlook Express.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

The host 'pop3.zoominternet.net' could not be found. Please verify that you have entered the server name correctly. Account: 'Zoom', Server: 'pop3.zoominternet.net', Protocol: POP3, Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Socket Error: 11001, Error Number: 0x800CCC0D
VBStudentAsked:
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chicagoanCommented:

Next time it happens, run WINIPCFG and see if you can release and renew the DHCP address.
If that solves the problem, I would remove all the network components from windows, reboot the machine and let it re-detect the NIC.
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ShineOnCommented:
Take chicagoan's advice.  It is sound, and should work for you.

It is late, I am tired after a long day, so please pardon the next comment.

It is "lose."  "Loose" is the opposite of "tight."

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.  No offense meant...
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VBStudentAuthor Commented:
It releases the the ip addresses but won't renew them.
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chicagoanCommented:
I'd
Go into the BIOS and disable unused com and printer ports, anything you're not using like infrared, etc.
Set the "Reset Configuration Data" flag to YES
Reboot and remove all your networking protocols and delete the adapter from device manager, reboot and let it re-detect the hardware.
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cannon1000Commented:
Does the problem happen on any port on your broadband router ?  You put (Cable Modem) next to broadband router....these typically are not the same thing....is this a device from your ISP or a box attached to the cable modem?

Have you tried to assign a STATIC IP address & Gateway to your PC...and then see if it can get out?

What is the model of Router/Modem Device?  It could be a problem with it's setup or DHCP table...maybe it needs to be reset to factory defaults????

CB
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VBStudentAuthor Commented:
I'd like to apologize for not awarding/closing this question on a timely basis.  Thank you for all your help!
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