This post applies to 64 bit Windows 7 installation (it might be different for 32 bit installs). I recently had to rebuild my laptop due to a hard drive failure. After installing the latest Dell drivers for my network card (DW1520 also known as Broadcom BCM4322) I noticed that I couldn’t connect to any wireless networks on channel 12 or 13. After investigating the Dell Wireless utility that comes with the drivers, I discovered my laptop thought it was in America and therefore connecting to American wireless channels. There was no 12 or 13, but a load of other channels, and I suspect this is outside the spectrum for use in the UK and so technically could require a license. I knew the hardware was working fine as it was fine before the rebuild, but despite this Dell insisted on replacing the wireless card to no avail.
After a lot of searching, it seems that the latest drivers on the dell website (188.8.131.52, A37 at the time of writing) are American only and unless you use channels 12 or 13 will work fine in the UK. However, following some information I found online I downloaded version A34 (dated 31st March 2010) and then extracted but didn’t install it. On browsing to the folder I found 3 sub-folders: Driver_US, Driver_JPN, Driver_ROW. By updating the driver and then pointing it to the Driver_ROW folder I suddenly have channels 12 and 13 back again and none of the American channels.
Also, after the rebuild and the latest Dell driver for Nvidia NVS3100 (184.108.40.20679, A09 at the time of writing), the laptop screen flickers really badly after it is taken out of sleep mode. Again, suspecting a driver issue, I looked for an older driver on the Nvidia website and, searching for the legacy drivers, I find version v266.58 that doesn’t suffer from this problem at all.
Hopefully this will save someone else the job of spending ages trying to track down the same problems.