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When I'm at home, I get an IP lease immediately every time, and have no problem getting to the internet over WiFi
When I go anywhere else, most of the time I cannot get to the internet over WiFe. If I try to set up a connection using wicd, I get to the point where it says "getting an IP address" but it usually does not go beyond that point. Once in a while, if I try to connect manually several times with wicd, I might get connected.
I can try to point you in the right direction. Usually when I come across that type of behavior it is because a WiFi access point has changed some setting and your laptop is still caching the old info to auto connect.
Open Network Manager , If you use it its the applet on the top corner . Go to the edit connections menu and click on the wireless tab. Simply delete all the access points that are not working. Then next time they should try and connect fresh..
I have had this problem a few times before when connecting to WPA secured networks. It might be worth checking if WEP is okay for you or not, at least to eliminate the possible. My problems when this happened, if I remember correctly, were with WPA supplicant.
I quickly searched your network manager thing and it seems you may be encountering a problem wherein the network manager doesn't show for users by default. It may also be worth following one of those procedures to getting it back. These days it's usually better to let network manager fix any problems.
I found the wicd is not always straight forward in telling you that you may have to supply a WPA password.
Sometimes you have to click your way through to that setting proactively and set the password.
Having similar problems with multiple notebooks (therefore probably not HW-related).
I usually end up 1) shutting down the wicd-daemon 2) killing any wicd-processes that are still around 3) killing any dhcp-processes 4) restarting the wicd-daemon.
Does this work as well for you WantLinuxHelp (not a cool name )?