I've sunk about 6 hours into this and have not made much progress.
I've installed Crunchbang, 32-bit, Waldorf on a Dell Inspiron D600.
Before I took any steps, the network manager told me "firmware missing". Then I ran:
sudo apt-get install firmware-b43legacy-installer
Now, the network manager can see my network but, after I enter the network key, it won't connect. And yes, I'm sure the key is correct.
The instructions I've been following can be found here
If you need further info, please ask in the comments.