I've been struggling with trying to make my Gentoo install as user friendly as possible. One of the big hurdles has always been the networking. Setting up aliases for net.eth0, net.wlan0, modifying scripts for doing wireless connections, and trying to get things to behave properly and autodetect when I am running wired versus wireless.
Most other distros have this pretty much sorted out. But Gentoo, it's still behind in some of these "it justs works" aspects as it is a tweakers distribution.
Anyway, I have managed to get KNetworkManager added to the xeffects overlay thanks to Nesl247 (one of the other maintainers). Theres a mini-howto I posted up here.
Basically, KNetworkManager handles all the wired and wireless connections from a small systray applet. This applet is a frontend to NetworkManager, and uses HAL and DBUS to control starting and stopping the various network interfaces. Pretty neat, and requires no mucking around to make this happen automatically. You can pretty much seamlessly switch from wired to wireless to offline and back.