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how does it all fit together? iwconfig, wlan-ng, hotplug, and pcmcia

I've been away from debian for a little while and am having a hard time
coming to terms with my wlan card. 

I'm running the stock 2.4.21-5-i686 kernel on a Dell Inspiron. 
I insert my Wlan card (Nortel/Symbol e-mobility), and the cardmgr loads
the orinoco and orinoco_cs modules and autoconfigures the interface with
I've set up a pcmcia scheme to configure ESSID, WEP key etc.

The problems/questions:
  Kismet is broken. Also most iwconfig commands except for ESSID and
key. I think I need to install wlan-ng. I gather this is different from
the existing drivers. Is there a stock kernel with this support enabled
or do I need to roll my own? Or can I get away with just downloading the
linux-wlan-ng debs?

  Where does hotplug fit into this? Is that the recommended way of
configuring new interfaces or should I stick with adding options in the
/etc/pcmcia directory? Should I do my changes to
/etc/networks/interfaces instead and write a mapping script?

 Where is a good place for wirless config scripts? I want my home ESSID
to be selected around the house, but want to switch to ESSID "any" when
I'm away.

Thanks for any clarification/advice,


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