Ok, so now we "attempted" to update the drivers, but was told that they are up to date (the message box that pops up). So, I then googled the adapter to see that others are having the same issue and 'tried' one of their suggestions, to manually reinstall the drivers. Uninstalled them, reinstalled, still the same issue. Hubby ended up having to connect to the internet with a cable in order to get back online to get any driver. We have it back up and running, but still having the intermittent outage.
Hubby also found that while we bought 'identical laptops', they aren't quite the same. He has a different adapter that does not have this same issue. Acer has had a few recalls but this particular adapter was not one of those (that we can find).
So, now I'm back to square one.