I am an oldie in years, and new to linux.
Although you are not looking for theoretical suggestions, the following may be of interest
I have found that there appears to be a bit of a hole regarding the drivers for many wireless adaptors when using Linux. However I have persevered and eventually managed to get the ones I have to work. In particular, I have had issues trying to get a netgear 802.11n USB wireless adapter to work with linux distros such as the Ubuntu 9.10, and Fedora etc. However, when I used MINT 8 live CD, it did work.
Best of luck