To get ubuntu working with the wifi of my Compaq CQ62 laptop I have to install an older version of Crunchbang. I then typically install the xubuntu packages to get the XFCE desktop or the kubuntu packages for KDE. KDE is bloated and a bit quirky, but it had a nice interface for the wifi. I also installed the standard Unity desktop, which also has a nice wifi, but is less customizable than I like. I really like XFCE for its speed and reliability, but the network manager is really complicated and does not seem to always work.
The network manager in XFCE is complicated and seems to lack some common sense buttons like 'connect' or even an automatically updating list of available networks. I installed 'wifi radar', which is better, but it does not seem to actually connect me to any networks even when I configure a new connection. It just hangs, never quite completing the operation. It also seems to only update the list available networks once, when the program initially loads.
Is there a way I can make the network manager that the standard unity desktop uses work under XFCE? I have both desktop managers installed, and can switch back and forth as need be from the login screen. This should mean that the desired interface is already installed, but it is only used in unity (called 'Ubuntu 2D' in my login screen). What is the name of the program and is there a way to make a shortcut to it in one of the bars on my XFCE desktop? It would be nice to have the exact same icon and functionality as Unity uses for wifi in the XFCE environment as that network manager is so simple and always works.