In my case I was looking for a very specific micro form factor Atheros card which I knew would run with Linux and wouldn't require my screwing around with ndiswrapper and would actually fit in my Acer Laptop and Netbook.
Anyway, long story short, the cards arrived from Hong Kong 10 days later, fit perfectly and the kernel recognized them right away so they really were a plug n play solution.
And the best part? I did the replacements myself so total cost was under $25 for both machines. I haven't had a random disconnect since.