Interms of supported wifi cards, most are supported in one way or another these days. However, getting them to work can often be a hassle (other times it is complete pain free). The easiest, most sure fire way to setup wireless under Linux (or any OS), is to buy a wired network card (99.9% work without a hitch) and a wireless bridge.
sadly the Mrs doesnt want me to make a hole in the ceiling or new windows to get the cables upstairs!!
It would only need to be a very small hole, 6mm would do it. Or you could the cable under the floor or along the skirting.
Still wireless is probably the way to go. By the time you've bought a cable (£30 for 1000ft), a cable tacker (£20), insertion tool (£7.50 for a nice one), patch leads and socket boxes it could get expenesive. You could probably make a nice job of wiring it though, if you have standard size phone sockets in most rooms then you could:
- follow the same route as the phone lines
- remove the existing faceplate plate from the phone socket box
- replace the faceplate with a modular one which takes two inserts and put an insert in for the phone and for the network. Probably not easy with the BT master socket, best just to leave that
Not what you asked, but perhaps when you are struggling with wireless, you'll be able to console yourself with the amount of hassle it would have been to do a good job of running cables.