> Why is it such hard work to make network connections stable in 11.1?

not hard at all...well, (once i elected the install offered *default*
to use ethernet and DHCP) it just worked here, worked during install
and ever after..

of course, my machine is not a laptop specifically designed for MS..

and, i wonder why you thought a OS newer, more modern and more
powerful than Vista would run on an XP era "old laptop"..

you might give a lighter version a try, but before i'd say which one
i'd suggest you have a look at the hardware requirements for openSUSE
11.1 here: http://en.opensuse.org/Sysreqs

and, see if there are some hints to get you going in the Hardware
Compatibility List: http://en.opensuse.org/HCL/

then, instead of just dropping in to sigh loudly, ask for help WHEN
you need it..