This thread has helped me troubleshoot my wireless adapter on my old compaq presario laptop, onto which I recently installed OpenSuSE 12.1. The command below showed me that I have a Broadcom Corporation BCM4318 wireless controller:
lspci -vnn -d 14e4:
I was eventually directed to the following site:
It looks like I will need to find a place to hook an ethernet cable into a network, since I will need an "alternate working internet connection" in order to download the proprietary firmware from Broadcom (see below).
Device firmware installation
The Broadcom wireless chip needs proprietary software (called "firmware") that runs on the wireless chip itself to work properly. This firmware is copyrighted by Broadcom and must be extracted from Broadcom's proprietary drivers. To get such firmware on your system, you must download the driver from a legal distribution point, extract it, and install it. This is accomplished different ways by different Linux distributions, so please read the section for yours for the best results. You will need an alternate working internet connection (by Ethernet cable, for example) since the firmware cannot be included with the distro itself.
Thanks to all the contributors for the help!