WiFi documentation

Can anyone recommend a good book -
or even better, online documentation -
on the technical basis for WiFi?

I mean questions like: how exactly do
the transmissions from an Access Point
differ from those sent by a card in Ad-hoc mode?

I'm baffled by the way my laptop can see some Access Points
and not others.
Also, I don't understand why it works better in Managed Mode
even when connecting to a WiFi card in Ad-hoc mode.

I've asked on a couple of WiFi lists,
but haven't received any enlightenment -
just a couple of emails from people who have had the same experience.

I have to say that Windows XP WiFi services seem much better to me.
This isn't a question of drivers -
when two computers are connected I assume the information available
is the same under Linux or Windows,
but Windows seems to make a much better job of organizing this information.

I've tried using NetworkManager,
but in my case this seemed to make my connection more unreliable -
I mean I could connect some times,
but other times it failed although as far as I could see
nothing had been changed.

In any case, I'd very much like to find some documentation
that would enlighten me.

Perhaps I should add that all my WiFi devices
use Orinoco Gold PCMCIA cards,
some in USB or PCI adaptors,
and I am using the latest orinoco driver
(the USB device did not work with the driver in the kernel
the last time I tried).

Timothy Murphy
e-mail (<80k only): tim /at/ birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie
tel: +353-86-2336090, +353-1-2842366
s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland