For the first time, I'm networked over wireless on my new-to-me Dell Inspiron laptop. I got a Trendnet Wireless N USB Adapter last week and finally got it set up, which proved to be a major feat (for me, anyway, who can be wirelessly challenged). I checked very carefully before I ordered the adapter to make sure it was known to work with Linux. Several google hits confirmed the Linux compatibility, but when push came to shove, it took a lot of doing to get wireless working.
I updated the kernel on this laptop to 126.96.36.199 in hopes better wireless support was built in. The wireless chip is a Ralink RT2870 and Ralink has Linux drivers and firmware on its site. Support is built into the kernel but I couldn't get the wireless connection to be seen. I was probably doing something wrong.
I did compile the driver from Ralink and add the firmware but VectorLinux 6 Light just didn't see it. I followed directions from a couple of sites on the Internet plus what I could find on this forum. It wasn't until I ran vlwifi and was able to set up the ra0 wireless connection with my fixed IP address and WPA security that wicd was able to see it. Before I did that, I had to do some blacklisting and similar unintuitive things.
The signal is strong and so far, so good. Wireless in Linux gets better and better but we still have a ways to go. It would probably have been easier to use ndiswrapper, but since Ralink provides a Linux driver I decided to use that. It will be nice to be untethered from an Ethernet cable.