I’ve installed Crunchbang Waldorf on two old laptops; none of them support PAE, and the Crunchbang distribution offered a kernel that didn’t require PAE.
However, both lost the wireless connection every now and then. I noticed a timeout related to IPv6 configuration in syslog (“IP6 addrconf timed out or failed”) and therefore proceeded to disabled IPv6 for the wireless connection in the NetworkManager settings (GUI).
This solved the problem on one of the laptops, but the other laptop was still loosing the wireless connection every now and then (although a lot less frequently).
The syslog showed that the rt2500pci driver had problems transitioning to a requested state (“phy0 -> rt2500pci_set_device_state: Error – Device failed to enter state 1 (-16)”) and subsequently had no more tx buffer space (“phy0 -> rt2x00queue_write_txt_frame: Error – Dropping frame due to full tx queue 0”). I google’d this a bit and found that my hardware was having problems with power management.
The resolution was to disable power management on the wireless interface by means of a NetworkManager script /etc/NetworkManager/dispatcher.d/02-wlan-powersave-off as proposed at https://ask.fedoraproject.org/question/8168/proper-disabling-of-wifi-power-management/.