HP Laptops with “Removable” Built-In Broadcom Gigabit Network Interface

The HP Compaq 6710b and 8510p laptops supplied under the NZ Ministry of Education TELA and Leadspace programmes have a very strange hardware configuration of an onboard Broadcom Gigabit Network Card that is configured as a removable device, and will appear as such in the “Safely Remove Hardware” list of removable devices that is accessed from the task tray of the laptop.

If a user inadvertently stops or “removes” the network card then they will not be able to connect to the network until such time as the laptop is rebooted. I have never seen this configuration before on any computer, laptop or not. It is an issue of the way the hardware is configured in these laptops and is not resolved by installing new drivers. I raised the matter with HP through the TELA support service, but the explanation they gave was unsatisfactory, since it is likely your site will be faced with extra costs supporting users who have accidentally stopped or “removed” the card from their laptops. There is no logical or commonsense reason why this is the case, but HP is unwilling to make what would appear to be a simple configuration change in their laptops.