first, i'm now unable to find a "how to" for the rt2x00 drivers since the reorganization, so i'm not sure what step i'm missing here. using a stock ubuntu 2.6.24-24-generic kernel and drivers. i can get the network up, scan (but only as root?), and have iwconfig display all the correct info. however, if i try to ping my router or use dhclient, i get a "network not available" error. nm-tools does not display wlan0 as a device.
Well the "how to" you need is the ubuntu network configuration howto. With rt2x00 there are no more Ralink specific configuration steps. So if you follow the documentation as described by Ubuntu on how to configure a wireless interface, it should work.