I have fixed the reception problem. We had done some cleaning so I moved the modem up 3 feet back to where it was on top of a TV. Signal quality improved from 41/100 to 76/100.
I was also sabotaging myself by trying out the new or a different driver whenever I did get a connection.
Turns out you need to reboot when you install a new driver
Previously you issued the command
service ifplugd restartbut ifplugd does not exist in Vec 6.0
I imagine I just had to restart the Wicd daemon. But I did not.
Thanks for the place to think out loud. It helps,