- lspci, look for wireless network
- the drivers are proprietary, non-free so google for the driver and install. in this case it was firmware-iwlwifi.
- wicd (networkmanager also may have been helpful at some time, but i think its best to have only 1 of them installed.)
- reboot and check the hardware wireless switch is on. (removed something called avahi-auto ipd because i wasnt getting connection and i thought it was interfering, turned out to be the wireless switch, doesn’t seem to have messed anything up either way and i don’t know what it does.)