Here is a small skeleton on how to set /etc/network/interfaces file to connect Debian or Ubuntu to a wireless network. NOTE: Use iwconfig command to find a name of your wireless interface. In this example we use wlan0 as a target network device.
Static network interface:

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet static
address 10.1.1.60
netmask 255.0.0.0
network 10.0.0.0
broadcast 10.255.255.255
gateway 10.1.1.1
wireless-essid linuxconfig.org
wireless-mode Managed
wireless-key 4ff38e6e98d6a750f33cdb105e

Dynamic dhcp network interface:

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wireless-essid linuxconfig.org
wireless-mode Managed
wireless-key 4ff38e6e98d6a750f33cdb105e

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