What was occurring was the installer would appear to hang after trying to detect the network hardware. I learned it had successfully detected the network hardware, however since the screen did not change, I thought at first that it was having a problem with the Intel 2915ABG (wireless). So I had to press Alt-F4 to see the console messages. They were all related to fd0, which would be a floppy drive, but one does not exist on the laptop, the configuration did not come with one. So I had to dig into the BIOS to see if the floppy could be disabled, I eventually found it, and once disabled and the laptop rebooted, the installer worked perfectly after that.
I had to enable the "non-free" repository in order to download and install firmware-ipw2x00
which is required for the Intel 2915ABG, then had to manually edit a file and once dbus was rebooted after all that, everything else fell into place and I configured the wireless using wicd.
With Debian, the release cycles are generally a year and a half apart. I was getting tired of upgrading a distro every six months with all the others I used in the past. You don't need the latest-and-greatest all the time, so if what you have works, stick with it.
I immediately discovered that Debian 6 runs faster on the laptop, compared to Ubuntu 11.04.
Another benefit to wicd, is that it also displays the other wireless networks in the neighborhood (that are powered on at the time) and it also displays the router channels those networks are using. With 802.11G routers, channels 1, 6 and 11 do not overlap with the other channels and there are numerous articles online that recommend using one of those three channels. I plan on changing it to either 1 or 6 since another network was also listed as using channel 11, but my router which is 802.11N has a separate 5GHz network with a much wider range of channels, as the 2915ABG will also work on the 5GHz side, I may experiment with that side of the router to see how it does.
UserAgent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv:184.108.40.206) Gecko/20110429 Iceweasel/3.5.16 (like Firefox/3.5.16)