Is there any good software that can help with intermittent Internet connection problems?

I am connected (most of the time) to Charter Broadband.  Occasionally, my internet connection will drop.  I have called Charter tech support and they can't figure anything and I have had a field tech over and they can't find any problems either.  I am starting to wonder if it is in my machine.

Here is the interesting part.  I am running Windows 7.  Whenever I lose my connection, I go to the Network and Sharing Center and click the red X between the Internet and the Network.  Windows goes through it's diagnostics to try and find the problem and usually finds nothing or it tells me my router is not connected to the Internet. But without fail, every time I do this I get my Internet connection back with doing anything.  Just clicking on the red X and allowing Windows to do whatever it is doing gets back my connection.

I was wondering if there is any software that I can run that will either help keep the connection more stable or help pinpoint what is going on with my computer to cause this.

Also, I was not quite sure where to place this question, so if it is in wrong place and someone knows a better place to put it, let me know and I will move it.
doug5516Asked:
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Chris MillardCommented:
Do you have a broadband modem connected to your PC, or do you have a broadband router? If you're using a router and you're getting a Red X, this would suggest that the problem lies in one of the following:-

1) The cable between your router and PC could be faulty,
2) The router itself may be faulty
3) The network card in your PC may be faulty.

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WolfhereCommented:
Roybrudge...almost. Okay, Windows 7 shows connection to the router, but not to the internet.  Problem could be cable between router and modem (replace the patch cord...to at least eliminate this variable). - not router and pc. Not sure if your isp has asked you to do this, but.....power down the modem, power down the router, shut down your pc. Power up your modem, power up your router then boot your pc.

You did not specify how your pc is connected to the router. wired or wireless? Regardless, you can reset your router back to defaults....and work with it that way. See if the issue repeats itself. And, replace the cable patch cord from the wall to the modem. Get a higher end cable from Radio Shack..not the Wally World special. The ends on the cable could be the issue..cheaper materials. Do you have a splitter in line? Replace with a higher end splitter. Do you live in an apartment complex and share the cable junction box? (ie. multiple splitters)

The network card cannot be faulty, if you can see the router (but no internet).
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doug5516Author Commented:
I have a broadband router.  The connection to the router is wired.  I have already powered down the router, pcs, disconnected and then reconnected all cables.  I have not yet replaced the patch cord, so I will try that.

I thought that the fact that just clicking on the red X seems to fix the problem (sometimes for minutes, but other times for days) might be a clue to what is going on.
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Todd GerbertIT ConsultantCommented:
Wolfhere...almost. Okay, the big red "X" between the network and the Internet will also be present when the connection from the PC to the network is lost - and since Windows' repair process restores connectivity I would suspect the problem is somewhere between the computer and the router (e.g. if a cable splitter, cable junction box, etc, were the problem letting Windows try to repair the connection probably wouldn't do anything). ;) (lol...sorry, I'm in a sarcastic mood - don't take offense)

@doug5516
So you've got a network cable from your computer to the router/modem, and the router/modem is connected to the coax "Cable" cable?

OR...

There's a network cable from your computer to the router, the router has a network cable to the cable modem, and the cable modem is connected to the coax "Cable" cable?

You said you already tried powering down the pcs - you have more than one computer on this internet connection? If so, how many and do all of them exhibit the loss of connection or just this one Windows 7 PC?

Couple things to try, which roybridge already suggested most of:
1) The network cable between your computer and the router could be faulty - replace it with the cheapest CAT-5 network cable you can find (this is a bit of an over-simplification, but for all intents and purposes there is no difference in cable quality for a home network, just differences in price).

2) The network card in your computer could very well be faulty - you can probably find a very inexpensive network card you can install in your computer (just make sure it's got a Windows 7 logo on the box). If your router is wireless you might also consider a USB wireless network adapter for your computer.

3) There's a chance it could be software related - make sure you have a good anti-virus that's up-to-date, and possibly something like Malware Bytes' Anti-Malware, are probably about all the utilities you really need. Installing a bunch of utilities that claim to optimize your hard disk, network connection or registry - or multiple anti-virus's/firewalls can cause problems.

newegg.com is a good spot to find some components for your computer inexpensively

Network cables: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100010070%20600026305&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&Order=PRICE&PageSize=20

Here's a replacement network card for your computer: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833166002

Obviously, start with troubleshooting steps that are the easiest/least expensive.
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Marius GunnerudSenior Systems EngineerCommented:
A couple other things to try.

Do a power cycle on your router.  shutdown the router, unplug the power cable and then press and hold the power button for 10 seconds (this is to purge any excess power that might still be within the router). Plug the power cable back in and power it on, and test.

Another thing that might be causing the issue is that the device driver for the network card could be corrupt or faulty. try removing the driver and reinstall a new one.
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koudryCommented:
Hello,

As indicated in one of the posts above, it may be worth trying a PC with a different OS, i.e. XP to see if the behaviour is consistent.  Since you are not using VPN for example, this problem should be easy to troubleshoot.

If you try a PC with a different OS like XP and the behaviour is consistent, then the problem is in the core network, which means your ISP must know what is going on.  Problems relating to the core network, are very difficult to pin down.

Good luck.
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