Network Manager – Effortlessly switch networks December 14, 2005Posted by Carthik in applications, ubuntu.
When I started using Ubuntu about a year ago, my biggest complaint was that I wasn’t able to change the networks, or choose between various wired/wireless networks effortlessly and efficiently. Various alternatives were explored, until I found Network Manager. There are plans to include a modified version of the network manager in the next release of Ubuntu, but until then, you can make use of it to make daily life simpler.
So what does Network Manager do?
Simply put, it manages your network interfaces for you. If you are plugged a Ethernet cable into your computer, it activates the LAN connection. When you unplug the cable, it looks for a wireless network and joins it. It also keep track of the wireless passwords so you don’t have to enter them time and again. In their own words,
A laptop user should never need to use the command line or configuration files to manage their network; it should “Just Work” as automatically as possible and intrude as little as possible into the user’s workflow. NetworkManager attempts to make networking invisible. When moving into areas you’ve been before, NetworkManager automatically connects to the last network the user chose to connect to. Likewise, when back at the desk, NetworkManager will switch to the faster, more reliable wired network connection.
The applet sits in your panel, and clicking on it will allow you to choose from the various options, prompting you for a password if the network requires it. The following screenshot should explain it better:
You can install Network Manager following the instructions at the wiki. I personally find that I have to use the
$nm-applet --sm-disable instruction to start nm-applet.
You may face problems if you run a local DNS server on your network. If this is the case, then the .deb package for network manager without the BIND9 requirement should come in handy.