One of the reasons I’ve always stayed away from wireless networks is because I started using Linux in a time where even plugging in a USB stick in your PC did absolutely nothing, so imagine how hard it was to get a wireless connection working.
Things have changed the last couple of years though. I’ve had positive experiences on Jen’s laptop with LiveCDs of Mandriva, Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS: all of them configured and used the Intel wireless chipset without issue. Of course, I’m difficult, so I don’t use those distributions, I use Arch, where configuration has to be done manually. I’ll be honest and say that I expected things to take hours and days.
Today I took the plunge anyway. I had bought a Linksys WUSB54GC, because its drivers are included in the latest kernels, read the excellent Arch wiki page on wireless networking, installed the firmware and wicd (an alternative for networkmanager), and rebooted.
After that, getting online was as easy as clicking on the wicd icon, filling in the encryption key, and clicking “Connect”.
Easy as pie. And these days, that’s the difficult way to do things in Linux.