I'm wondering which distribution of Linux you're running?
I didn't see it in your LQ UserCP
You can build your kernel as modules (select M) or built in (select Y)
when you compile a kernel. This would be chosen in the step where
you issue "make xconfig" (or gconfig or menuconfig). Have you ever
recompiled or built your own kernel? Kwan Lowe has an excellent
Kernel Rebuild Guide
which I'd like to recommend to you.
Hardware is detected by the hotplug system. To read more about it,
issue "man hotplug" in a terminal for the manual page for hotplug.