My old laptop - an IBM Thinkpad T20 - is broken. May it rest in peace. Now I acquired an IBM Thinkpad R50e, which works perfectly well under FreeBSD. The following text shall guide you through the installation of the wireless networking card. I am assuming that you are using WPA in your W-LAN.

First of all, you need to install the iwi-firmware-kmod-port. It's located in net. Once the installation has finished, add the following lines to /boot/loader.conf:

iwi_bss_load="YES"
if_iwi_load="YES"

If your W-LAN uses does not broadcast its SSID, you should enable the broadcast. Since the iwi-device has its problems with connecting to these "hidden" networks, there is no other option available.

In order to use WPA encryption, you need the wpa_supplicant. This program handles the authentication process (it's in the base system since 6.0, as far as I know). Edit the following file to suit your settings and save it as /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf:

ctrl_interface=/var/run/wpa_supplicant
ctrl_interface_group=0
ap_scan=1
fast_reauth=1

network={
    ssid="YourNet"
    proto=WPA
    key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
    psk="YourPassword"
    priority=1
}

This means you are going to use WPA along with a pre shared key. There are other options available; read man wpa_supplicant.conf if you want to know more.

To establish the connection, wpa_supplicant has to be called. After the authentication process is finished, you should be able to assign an IP address to your interface:

wpa_supplicant -iiwi0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf -B

The -B-option lets the program run as a background process. The IP address assignment and the authentication could be placed in a script if you want to do everything automatically.