I asked a similar question the first time I did this. It can be found here.
I tried to streamline the process this time. I got the hardware ID of my WiFi-Dongle on my windows machine, and searched for the driver. The dongle is a EW-7811Un Edimax dongle. Looking around, I found that my kernel should already support this out of the box.
Keep in mind I have NO connection until I get this WiFi working, so I've been transferring files for my architecture/distro/version by USB then unpacking and installing them. I've been following this guide.
What I've done so far:
1) Installed WPA_Supplicant for my architecture and version of Debian.
2) Installed Wireless Tools for my architecture and version of Debian.
3) Updated the interface file to exactly mirror the following with my information
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
4) Exported the output of
wpa_passphrase myssid my_very_secret_passphrase to
After rebooting with my dongle in the USB slot, iwconfig returns no connections. In fact as far as I can tell nothing has changed from the stock install of Debian.
I should mention that my SSID is hidden. I realize that it is just the "warm-and-fuzzies" to hide SSIDs, but it's not my choice whether or not it is, and I do not have the permission to change it.
What am I doing wrong? Is there something I've missed?