Wireless and Power Management is still a weakness of Linux
I have been running Linux for a while and have been running Linux on an Acer 3680 since 2007. Initially,I started with Ubuntu 7.04, which seemed to work pretty well except for the suspend issues. Some of the devices did not work.
Later, I switched to Mandriva 2007. which worked pretty well (again with some suspend/hibernate issues). When I upgraded to Mandriva 2009, the wireless broke and there were crashes. I tried out different distro and settling on Ubuntu 8.04 and then Linux Mint 5 KDE, a Ubuntu KDE derivative.
Ubuntu is up to version 9.04. I have tried Ubuntu 8.10 and 9.04. Neither one worked. The problem appears to be caused by the wireless driver. The default open source ath5k did not work and have massive packet loss. The backport did not work. The madwifi ath_pci did not work, neither did the madwifi hal driver that I compiled worked either. The madwifi worked the best, but they would disconnect and reconnect randomly, causing download to fail.
Basically, I am stuck at Ubuntu 8.04/Linux Mint 5 until the wireless issue is resolved. Fortunately, 8.04 is a LTS, so I have a while until the security patches run out. This is something to think about when selecting a distro. You want to know how long the support is. Because if you upgrade to a new version, it may not work at all.
What's your specific chip?
eg. output from $lspci
lspci | grep Atheros
0a:03.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR2413 802.11bg NIC (rev 01)
The thing is a bear. It often work pretty well until you upgrade to the next version of the distro and then it's pure hell. Part of the problem is that they transition from the proprietary ath_pci to the open source ath5k, but ath5K is not ready and ath_pci appears to be in a weird state.