So to get WPA access working, you need to add contrib and non-free repositories to your /etc/apt/sources.list file (just add
sudo aptitude update, and then:
sudo aptitude install linux-firmware-nonfreeUPDATE: that's actually
This installs the firmware needed to get WPA working. It also installs other bits of firmware, such as firmware for improved performance on ATI cards, so if you've already installed the package for your graphics card you don't need to install it again.
Next, you want to install
wicd. wicd is a very simple to use network manager that doesn't require Gnome, so you can use it in any environment. However, you can't have two network managers running at the same time, so if you already have Gnome's somewhat crappy network manager running, installing wicd will uninstall it.
wicd-client -n. This will open the graphical client. Open Preferences and type in your wireless interface (mine was eth1, but you can find out yours by running
sudo iwconfig). Then close Preferences and hit the Refresh button and follow your intuition...
Okay, specifically find your network among the list and click Properties. Click "Use Encryption" and below select "WPA 1/2 (Passphrase)" and enter your router's wireless password. Then click Okay and then click Connect. You'll also want to check the "Automatically connect to this network" box if you want it to... automatically connect to the... you got it.
And as is my constant refrain, if the above didn't work I blame you. And that the response you get in the Debian forums will be slightly more professional.
UPDATE: I should also note the firmware supports only WPA, not WPA2. Also, connections will fail with AES encryption, so set your router for TKIP encryption instead.