wicd worked fine on my home wifi network, but it failed when I was at work. Instead I got Network Manager. I use the nm-applet (which demands to be in a system tray, which I don't have) with trayer, which I call and kill when I need to access the wireless.
Getting broadcom on my old Dell Inspiron working was a pain. I ended up using b43, which I load explicity by making a file /etc/modules-load.d/load-b43.conf which just has one line: