>Would I be better installing NETBEUI for the netwok as well as TCP to add stability?
It might if you do not have XP installed. But that would only mask the real problem. Start by checking cables and watching adapter and switch LEDs. An intermittent problem usually means intermittent hardware. Scan for viruses. Something may be hogging the network.
>Do I need to set one of the systems as a 'master browser' & if so how?
Usually no. Probably not the problem.
>Would I be better setting up static IP address?
Not in my opinion.
>Is it usual to put the ip address (of the router) in the 'gateway' section. Would this 'force' the other machine to look there first?
Not required. It know where it is because it has the DHCP server. Larry