I see no reason why you should have to log in at all. You should be able to get the wi-fi adapter to start with the startup scripts. However, I don't run Ubuntu any more because of the strange bugs you users get.
I tested this with my netbook running Slackware 13.37. The wi-fi adapter is up, before the desktop appears. I pinged the system, it show up, no problem. I verified I could ssh into the system, that work, even did a su to root, and ran 'shutdown -r now', and that works as expected.
Last edited by camorri; 04-19-2012 at 10:03 AM.