Hardware devices and peripherals designed to help your Windows 7 PC connect to the web could not function properly without the Ethernet controller driver devices.
These drivers serve as the manual that the PC uses as a guide to instruct your Ethernet hardware how to behave in various circumstances.
That means your PC relays those instructions to the hardware devices through these drivers loaded in the hard disk.
Without these driver tools, your PC won’t recognize a hardware device you attach to the motherboard. Simply put, drivers are as equally important as the hardware itself.
There is a wide selection of Ethernet controller drivers for your PC, and here are some of them.
What are the best Windows 7 Ethernet controller driver devices?
1. Realtek Ethernet driver
Realtek‘s latest PCIe LAN driver brings improvements in terms of performance and stability for the RTL81xx and RTL84xx PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet chips. It supports various systems, including:
- ThinkPad Edge E330, Edge E335, Edge L330
- Lenovo B475e, B480, B485, B490, B575e, B580, B590
- Lenovo E49
- Lenovo M490, M495
- Lenovo V480, V480c, V480s, V580, V580c
- Zhaoyang K29, K49, E49
You can download the drivers from Realtek’s website.
ADMtek also offers a wide selection of networking and Ethernet drivers. The ADMtek AN983 10/100Mbps PCI Adapter is a high-performance, low-cost Ethernet PCI controller.
It includes an integrated physical layer interface for 10BASE-T and 100BASE-TX applications. Other features include:
- Advanced CMOS Technology
- Glue less 32-bit bus master interface for PCI
- Boot ROM Interface
- CSMA/CD protocol for fast Ethernet
Accton L3 Gigabit Ethernet Switch
Accton’s L3 Gigabit Ethernet Switch with PoE is a high-performance Gigabit Ethernet Layer 3 switch. The product is available in 24-port or 48-port RJ-45 GbE configurations.
Each configuration includes 4x10GbE SFP+ ports, and two 20GbE bandwidth ports for stacking interconnects or additional uplinks. The switch features redundant hot-swappable AC PSUs, among others.
For enterprise customers, the switch also comes in with 24-port and 48-port PoE configurations with a power budget up to 30W per GE PoE port, and 60W UPoE for the last 8 ports. Other features are:
- 4 x SFP+ uplink ports, supporting 10GbE (DAC, 10GBASE-SR/LR/ER/LRM) or 1 GbE (1000Base-T/SX/LX)
- Full line-rate L2 or L3 forwarding of 336 Gbps with 64 byte packets
- Hot swappable, load sharing, redundant AC PSUs. PSUs accessible from rear
- Supports IP phones or WiFi access points with 24-port and 48-variants, with up to 30W PoE per port and the last 8 ports can support up to 60W
3. Atheros Ethernet drivers
Atheros also offers various Ethernet drivers that support Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
It is offered to module manufacturers or other Original Equipment Manufacturers by Qualcomm, which acquired Atheros in 2011.
There are various types of Atheros wireless drivers, such as:
- Dell 1502
- Dell 1506
- Dell 1515
- Dell 1525
- Dell 1601
- Dell 1702
- Dell 1703
- Dell 1705
- Dell 1707
- Dell 1802
- Dell 1901
You can download the drivers from Atheros’ website.
4. Broadcom Ethernet drivers
Broadcom offers Ethernet controllers to various PC OEMs and add-in card manufacturers. Broadcom also supplies reference drivers to end users.
Since the company does not sell products directly to end-users, it does not offer comprehensive support for Broadcom’s customers’ products. Broadcom offers support for NetLink Ethernet Network adapters and Broadcom NetXtreme I Ethernet Network adapters.
Broadcom Ethernet controllers work to address the high bandwidth and flexibility requirements of enterprise applications with storage protocol offloads, more scalable virtualization, support for RDMA over Converged Ethernet fabric, enhanced Single Root I/O Virtualization, Network Interface Card port partitioning, and cloud optimization using overlay networking technology.
You can download the network controllers from Broadcom’s website.
Editor’s Note: This article continues on the next page. If you’re interested in other driver software or hardware, check out our wide collection of guides.Editor's Note: This article was originally published in June 2017 and was revamped and updated in January 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.