At long last, I have 802.11b working on my Red Hat-powered laptop. It took two different access points (the first was likely faulty, since it just never sent any DHCP traffic, not even its own) and three tries with cards. Ironically, the first card I tried was the D-Link DWL-650, which I replaced with a SMS 2632W only to replace that with a new D-Link after getting a working WAP. The card works (I had to adjust the wlan configuration to use the orinoco_cs driver instead of the prism2_cs driver, as the latter was generating "unresolved symbol" errors from the kernel module loader).
Anyway, the combination of stock kernel and kernel-pcmcia-cs packages, combined with the latest linux-wlan-ng software package (note that the "ng" package is needed for 11Mbs support) did the trick. Thanks to them, I have a working wireless set up at last.
And that is why I am able to write the entry from a seated position in my bathroom.