No I don't use xFire.
Maybe it's not a big thing though. If I block it- I can't access the internet. So Internet Explorer might actually be using svchost to access the internet which would explain this whole deal but, the idea just scares me to death that svchost is sending requests to the ISP... Seriously, one would expect Internet Explorer to be accessing the internet. Ugh.
ZoneAlarm says it's only a DNS request, but if it's such a small deal then why was it denied?
It's common for my ISP to do this. They're probably probing the netbios name service with ICMP pings. Why? who knows, I tried to find out and gave up and I the company I work for is my ISP.
There are probably thousands of ISP's that do this and most folks never notice, unless they're running a firewall and look at the firewall logs. They'll find the logs filled up with a ton of IP's that resolve back to their ISP.
If they're denied, it does nothing as far as I can tell. ZA or something else like a router is probably blocking ping requests. I find them daily in the firewall log in my Netopia router.