Don't know what was changed where, but my Atheros-chipped Proxim pcmcia card connects first time to the home network when running vlwifi, now that I'm on VL 5.9. In 5.8, I always had to 'dhcpcd ath0' on a command line to get full connectivity. Or even turn off the interface and turn it back on (plus some) to get completely online. Very frustrating.
Thank you, thank you, thank you