[ubuntu] How to Get Notebook Wireless to Work?

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http://ubuntuforums.org – This is proving to be really hard to get done.I've worked with and on PCs for a long time, but never tried to do wireless before. It was not allowed on company PCs, meaning laptops had to be plugged into the network when us were in the office, and many had to employ encryption devices as well. That said, this is what I have: A Tolshiba Satellite L355-S7915 17" wjth both a wired and wireless adapter. From what I can make out with the info online, the wired adapter is a Realtek 8101E/8102E PCI Fast Eithernet Controller, and that is working fine for my wired connection. Using lspci -v | less, then lsusb -v | less, I was able to determine that the wireless adapter is a Realtek 8189.RLT8187B USB to LAN Controller. Further checking online is that you can use ntdswrapper and a Windows driver with some limited success before Ubuntu 9.04, but for 9.04 and 9.10 there is built-in support for the Realtek controller. Can't prove it by me, but maybe that is because I'm into something that I'm not clear about. Several articles or posts have stated that the wireless worked right out of the box, yet I havde nothing to show for my efforts. It took me a couple of hours just to find out where the Network Manager was, and then it gave me no option for adding any other driver, even if I had known which one to add. I might add that I tried this with both Ubuntu 9.04 and 9.10, with the same results -- nothing. There was even a claim that you could even use a Windows driver and the ndiswrapper, but reading a source about ndiswrapper, it does not appear that this adapter has been tested and found to work in this fashion. It was not even apparent that any Realtek adapters had been tested under ndiswrapper. Another question then is whether this wireless connection can only be used with a private network, where you have to have assigned IP addresses and things like the SSID and password, or if it can be used in a shared network, like at a local fast food place with its own wireless hotspot. And of course, how you go about setting it up for places like this. Heck, how do you get signal bars on your screen? If you've done anything ng along these lines and had good results, would you please explain exactly what it is that you did? It could be a big help. (Hardware)