Its ridiculously difficult to get these wireless cards to work on linux, and this has to be the most difficult fix I have ever tried. I'm posting here for 2 reasons:
1 To list all the steps I have taken while its fresh on my mind. In the end, the actual steps taken were straightforward, but there were hours of trial and error
2 I can now detect my network but can't connect to it, would welcome suggestions. I'm going to try a few things but don't want to play with my home network just yet, as my family are using it successfully.
This was an ASUS X50R, ubuntu9.04. Others have reported that the live cd detects the wireless network but the installed OS doesn't, and that was my experience. Debian Squeeze never saw the network at all and I suspect (but have not tested yet) that the fix is similar.
This draws on excellent work by others, as follows:
I'm basically a debian user, so on ubuntu I tend to enable root password. This is not a popular move! If using ubuntu, most will prefer to use sudo.
Look at the 1st link. I'm not sure how essential it is to disable existing drivers- after all I blacklisted them later- but I couldn't make much sense with the gui option so looked for the drivers with lspci -v and used rmmod. Then continue as the post suggests. (I prefer vim to gedit, if in ubuntu
apt-get install vim
So, the new driver is installed.
apt-get install wicd
That didn't help, so far. I then went to (2), this included blacklisting the drivers I didn't want.
Then, for the first time, I saw the local wireless networks; but they just "disappeared" after a few minutes. Then, at last, I found the suggestion towards the end of (3) for disabling bluetooth and enabling wireless:
echo 0 > /sys/devices/platform/asus-laptop/bluetooth
echo 1 > /sys/devices/platform/asus-laptop/wlan
As I said, I still haven't connected, but most of the job is done. I use WEP hex, and I think it likely that another encryption option would sort this out; there are WPA options, and others within WEP. WPA/AES has been suggested as a possible option.
I should add that my understanding of drivers is rudimentary and hope that others will rationalize the process outlined here.
EDIT: this is no longer a question, as I have solved it. Although wicd showed my network, I was unable to connect using any of the available forms of encryption. However that was using wicd1.5.9 native to Ubuntu 9.04. I was unable to connect from a source-built 1.6.2; but Debian Lenny has 1.6.1, and that proved adequate.
I have added the echo script mentioned above to rc.local. My laptop will toggle wireless off, but not on, so it needs to be set up in this way.