If your wireless access point/router uses encryption then you will need the WPA Supplicant module/driver. If your distro has this available through a software package repository then you are in luck. Otherwise this could turn into a nightmare and a hobby.
Once you have WPA Supplicant installed you have to configure it. Most of the documentation talks about creating a permanent configuration. This is fine if you only use your computer in one location but notebooks are mobile. If you want to use your notebook in different places then you will want to install a wifi configuration tool that can discover wifi networks and create a connection on demand. I don't know the name of any tool like this but I found ONE AND ONLY ONE distro that has this built in. It is PCLinuxOS. As far as wifi networks are concerned then PCLinuxOS is the very best distro to use. It has lots of wifi tools to make using your computer easy.
It also comes with support for MP3, WMV, AVI and other multimedia playback. Imagine that! You could actually listen to podcasts and watch videos on YouTube and whatever. Wouldn't that be nice? Well I can tell you IT IS NICE!!! Since I started using PCLinuxOS I feel like my computer is MINE. I can do what I want to do with it. It's great!!!
So forget Red Hat and SuSE. Their developers have taken a sanctimonious attitude toward the ways that they will allow you to use your computer, very like Microsoft. Use PCLinuxOS. You'll be glad that you made that decision. Guaranteed.