Update PCI Card driver - worth it?  Laptop - wireless - router configuration

Posted on 2004-11-13
Last Modified: 2013-11-30
I'm wondering whether it's worth it to update the PCI Card driver for my computer as outlined below.  I've just purchased a "G" series LinkSys router and I'm downloading at 1400 to 1800 KB.  (I think that's the correct terminology.)  My understanding is that anything above 2000 KB is really fast.

But changing a driver that involves a PCI Card, a wireless connection, a router and a cable modem scares me to death!

I'm not even sure I've got the correct link for the drivers.

I hope this is enough information for you to give me some advice on whether it's worth the risk to upgrade any drivers if I'm already getting 1700 to 1800 KB downloads.

A.  Names of downloads on Toshiba's web site under Satellite A20 S207 Download Category:
1.  11-11-2003 LAN
WiFi    Atheros 802.11a/b/g WiFi driver with Cisco/WPA support for Windows XP/2000 (v2.4.2.14; 11-11-2003; 3.72M)
2.  11-11-2003 LAN
WiFi    Atheros WiFi Client Utility with Cisco/WPA Support for Windows XP/2000 (v2.4.2.18; 11-11-2003; 4.66M)

B.  Computer Model
TOSHIBA Satellite A20 PSA20U-02HKL7
Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2 (build 2600)  
System Serial Number: 73183451P

C.  Toshiba Wireless LAN Mini PCI Card
Current Driver:
Agere Systems
Date:  6/28/02
Driver Version
???? This is the driver I'm considering upgrading ????

D.  Network configuration
InsightBB Cable Feed
to Motorola Shark Fin Cable Modem
  (Ethernet connects to an HP DeskTop - that I never use)
NEW!!  LinkSys G series Router
  sends wireless signal to
  Toshiba LapTop via
  Toshiba Wireless Lan Mini PCI Card


Thanks, April

Question by:aprillougheed
    LVL 79

    Assisted Solution

    Just a couple of things..
    1) There's an old saying - "if it ain't broke - don't fix it", so if you are not having problems today, there is no hurry to update the drivers.
    2) It's always best to use the latest drivers from the manufacturer to get the most out of the hardware that you have.

    Since you don't have a Cisco infrastructure, I'd go for the download #1..

    Which Linksys? I use the WRV54G and I love it!
    LVL 5

    Accepted Solution

    Some points my friend:

    1. Don't be afraid - in case you downloaded incorrect driver - Windows won't allow you to install it.
    2. Upgrade the drivers from the "Device Manager" - use the "Update Driver" option instead of the driver's package setup executable, because the executable will copy the files regardless of the compatability of the device.

    3. In case you are satisfied with your speed - no need to update.

    4. Make the calculations: 802.1 G from Linksys should supply you with the speeds of 50mbps (which is a 6.25 MBps = 6250 KBps) - this is only theoretical speed (depands on the signal strength and noise in the environment - both decrease the speed of transmission) and it should be supported by your card as well - if the drivers available support 802.1G protocol - then its probably worth it, otherewise its pointless.
    2000kbs = 1.6 mbps

    High speeds are really needed in order to exchange files between computers at home, no need for high speeds of the local network for the slow internet connection.

    I looked for this card specs and the card is 802.11b - which will support only the 11mbps connection.

    LVL 10

    Assisted Solution

    Two more things, since you are running Windows XP, after you have upgraded the driver, if there is a problem, you can always boot up in Safe Mode and either roll back the driver to the previous version or just do a system restore to a point in time before the driver update.

    I agree with Irmoore with his point #1 that if it's not broken, don't fix it.  However Windows XP is the first Microsoft OS on which doing this is completely reversible and should not scare you.  If it were one of their previous OS, I would definitely think twice before updating or installing ANY kind of software.
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    I go with lrmoore on this one - if it's working and you're happy with it - don't upgrade

    Author Comment

    Great answers guys.  Yeah, I think +/- 1500KB average surfing the web should be acceptable.

    If you had said, "Oh my goodness changing the driver will double your speed" - that would be a different story.

    Last thing I need now is to lose a day or to trying to fix it if something goes wrong.

    You've saved me a lot of worry!   :)

    Thanks, april

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