So, this works (at the time of writing).
HPG7000 laptop specific - but could apply to any machine with a hardware on/off for wireless
This is not necessarily a common fault: On the HPG700 there is a hardware wireless switch. There is a light which should be blue for wireless on, orange for wireless off. On the machine that my daughter's friend has, the light gives you no idea whether the switch is on or off. Using a wired connection I downloaded "rfkill" and (with command line "rfkill list") you can find out whether anything is hardware or software blocked. So the real problem I had was that though the light said was wireless was enabled, it was disabled.
A separate problem from this thread is about the battery: You plug the laptop in at the mains, but it uses the battery and drains it. This gives you the impression that the battery is dud. The cure for this is to take the battery out, then start the machine, and only then will it be guaranteed to use the mains supply and not the battery. Then put the battery back in and it will charge properly. (This problem seems random - sometimes it will use the mains - but sometimes it will use the battery when you think you are using the mains.) I mention it because I suspect this might be a problem on other laptops.
All around JOLLY BAD SHOW HEWLETT PACKARD!
fc14 specific: but useful for non fedora users
Networkmanager is accessed via system->preferences->network connections. It isn't clear that this is networkmanager, but it is. Installing cnetworkmanager is a help. If "iwlist scanning" doesn't return anything for "wlan0" (or whatever for your machine) it means you are either hardware or software blocked (or there is a physical problem). The output of iwlist will tell you what to put into the wpa_supplicant.conf file under "pairwise=" and "group=") see the wpa_spupplicant.conf file later in this post...
BT Home Hub specific+fc14 specific
Get to networkmanager via system->preferences->network connections. Go to the wireless tab and click on "add" if it isn't there, or edit it.
Enter the SSID as BTHomeHub2-xxxx or BTHub3-xxxx where xxxx is on the label on the hub. Leave all the addresses, MAC and otherwise blank. You only need ESSID.
Next go to wireless security and enter the HEX address on the label of the home hub (no quotes) as the password.
NOTE: if you are hardware or software blocked, you can "save". This will alter config files. However if all is well you have the "connect" option. If there is no "connect" something is wrong before you even got to netwrorkmanager.
Now for wpa_supplicant.conf
This works for me at least, go for man wpa_supplicant.conf as Markush said, and google on it for extras.
On fc14, wpa_supplicant automatically starts on boot! If you have this distro IGNORE EVERYTHING YOU SEE on manually starting wpa_supplicant or putting in scripts that will launch wpa_supplicant on boot. On other distros, see if "ps -ef | grep wpa_supplicant" tells you if it's running already as part of the boot process.
This worked for me (with info from "iwlist scanning" as I mentioned earlier).
ssid="WHAT IT SAYS ON THE LABEL WITH QUOTES"
psk="HEX NUMBER ON THE LABEL WITHOUT QUOTES"
I am not sure whether the tabs are necessary or not.
Thank's Markush, I did it myself, but without your encouragement I may have just given up.
Last edited by tethysgods; 10-21-2011 at 03:20 PM.
Reason: minor additions