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The power went out. Rebooted cable modem and wireless router. Wireless networking is enabled on laptop. Wireless networks not detected. The only switch on the laptop that appears to be a wireless switch is illuminated and will not turn off when pressed. Network dialog says wireless is on and there is a hardware address. However, the dialog says wireless is not available. This has never happened before.
Network is working. I am able to connect wirelessly with another laptop to the router and Vonage is working. Before this incident, I could see other nearby networks. Can't now. I know for sure that wireless is "on" via the network manager dialog in Gnome 3. It says that wireless is on but unavailable and it lists a hardware address.
I don't have a good feeling about your wireless card.
Does lspci detect it?
Please post the specs of your computer (laptop? desktop? type of wireless card?).
You might try booting to a Live CD and checking whether it can detect the wireless. If it can, that would narrow this to a software problem and indicate that the power failure tangled up some electrons.
Frank, thanks for all this help. specs: HP laptop (forgot model and took off sticker), core 2 duo x 2, mobile intel gm45 express chipset 32 bit, 3g ram, 50g disk, lspci shows atheros AR928x wireless network adapter (pci express). I'll try booting to live disk and let you know tomorrow.