I'm a newbie to Mint but not to Linux. I happen to have a Netgear wna1000m micro wireless usb adapter that does not play nicely with Linux. On top of that, it seems that my onboard ethernet port has been worn out and I can no longer gain access to the internet anywhere besides wirelessly on my Windows partition. When I boot into any Linux distro, all available wireless networks are detected, and I can easily submit my key and establish a connection...for a while. The connection drops mysteriously after about 10-30 minutes, seemingly at random. Once it's dropped it can't be reestablished by anything but a reboot. When I was on other distros, upgrading the kernel to 3.3.1 seemed to improve things quite a bit. The connections were dropped much less frequently, sometimes lasting for hours before giving out. I've tried troubleshooting my network and I think it's simply a driver issue. The wna1000m isn't listed as supported on any Linux wireless site. Given that performance seems to improve with each kernel upgrade, my amateurish senses about these things tell me that somewhere, someone is working on a driver and that it's getting better.
So my question is: How can I upgrade my kernel ahead of Mint's releases in the repositories? I know I can do this manually, but that method tends to break more complex distros like Mint and entails a lot of unsexy work to get my old environment back again.
Thanks in advance,