Since the modem was not recognized as a modem when I plugged it in it does *seem* like I needed it. after upgrading though the modem was recognized without any hazzle.
funny thing though...it stopped working once I got home. and again I can't get it to work. it is recognized. the LED lights up red, then - after typing in my PIN - blue but I cannot connect. and it can't be that there simply is no signal here since I am sitting in the middle of the city.