Totally painless USB Wifi with Ubuntu (tested with RealTek based adapters)
I wanted to share my method for getting USB WiFi working using a fresh install of the latest Ubuntu release from BeagleBoard.org on by BBB. I pieced these steps together from several tutorials, knowing there had to be a way to just "apt-get" my way to WiFi nirvana... And it is possible!
I have tested two of the cheap adapters from Fry's and confirmed they work:
If you like to swap adapters (I like to test out stuff), you'll run into an issue where the next adapter will be "wlan1", followed by "wlan2", etc, breaking the interface configuration. I'm sure there is a way to be smarter about binding to the correct adapter, but I found editing the "NAME" field of the new adapter in /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules is a quick-and-dirty fix.