|The first thing you should do is look for newer drivers for the network interface. If you find newer ones, download and apply them and see if that doesn't fix the issue.|
If that doesn't make a difference, you could try resetting the TCP/IP stack. To reset your TCP/IP stack first open a command prompt window (ie: Start >> Run >> type cmd and hit Enter) and perform the following command:
netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt
Note If you do not want to specify a directory path for the log file, use the following command:
netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt
Then reboot the computer.
If none of the above works you could try opening Device Manager and uninstalling the network interface from there and then reboot and let windows "find" and reinstall it.
As to why it takes so long, that's hard to say. The first thing that comes to my mind is that it's just your system is loading a lot of stuff at bootup. I always use msconfig to stop unessential stuff from loading. You might want to look at doing the same.
It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.