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Network Manager – Effortlessly switch networks December 14, 2005

Posted by Carthik in applications, ubuntu.
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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.

Happy browsing!

Comments»

1. skippy - December 14, 2005

There’s also whereami, which I first read about here. Google suggests this page. I’ve not used it yet, but it sounds pretty powerful.

2. Yannick - December 14, 2005

About the deb without Bind, it seems a new version is here on the WildBill’s blog…
http://wildbill.nulldevice.net/archives/000148.html
..not tested yet..

3. benplaut - December 14, 2005

does it play nice with Madwifi cards?

4. ubuntonista - December 14, 2005

benplaut,

It should work – you could find out by trying it out, and uninstalling it if you dont need it.

5. talishte - December 17, 2005

Nice, thank you, I will use that.

6. thefish - December 19, 2005

Seems like network manager does not supoort WPA, anyone know of a similar app that does?

7. Epple - January 10, 2006

Unfortunately it does not work well with my old, good RTL-8029 based network card, it says “cannot get parameters” or something like that. I had to set IP address etc. by hand after every booting so I’ve uninstalled Network Manager. I hope NM would be integrated better with “standard” ethernet tools in the future.

8. AK - January 13, 2006

Personally I’ve had issues with NM. It liked to jump from my preferred 802.11b network to a faster 802.11g network, which would be great if I had its WEP. It also likes to switch to using wired connections exclusively, which is somewhat of a good idea, but not great if you just want to move files over. My preferred solution is gtkwifi, as it allows me to select particular networks, save WEP keys, and have a quick look at the networks around me.

9. widdix » Blog Archive » Automatische Netzwerkwahl - February 1, 2006

[…] Ein Dankeschön an den Ubuntu Blog, der mich mit diesem Artikel auf diese Idee gebracht hat. […]

10. Wim - April 26, 2006

I had it working on my dapper draky within 5 minutes and 1 reboot 🙂

Brilliant piece of network tool 🙂 and I am GLAD it’s in the repositories!!

11. Bretten M. - July 20, 2006

The wildbill link for Network-Manager for networks with local DNS is down. Here is an updated link. The .deb package is at the bottom of the page.

http://wildbill.nulldevice.net/wordpress/?p=124

12. Talen - December 12, 2006

Excellent… changing “profiles” is so much easier. Now I need to find some way to incorporate somethng to manage WPA wireless network that I use at work

13. Talen - December 12, 2006

That didnt take long. I’ll be trying this tomorrow.
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/WPAHowTo

14. nn - December 30, 2006

Look also at http://www.debianadmin.com/enable-wpa-wireless-access-point-in-ubuntu-linux.html
as it describes on how to set up the interfaces wpasupplicant files

15. Richard - February 18, 2007

I made a mistake and accidentally removed the nm icon from the upper panel. It is still working, still funcitoning – but I can’t find any way to access the applet to configure it for other wifi networks.

Any suggestions??

16. Richard - February 18, 2007

Okay, I was looking for a way to add the nm applet to my top panel. Looked through all the config files I could find, but none had what I was looking for. Then I found that all the info I needed to control and configure the nm-applet is in the ‘notification area’. I added that back into the top panel, and all is well.

17. s - December 9, 2008

If you edit the file /etc/network/interfaces, the icon disappears?
After a reboot?
Remove your changes and reboot, the icon reappears?

18. Frank Rizzo - March 28, 2009

Network Manager is the biggest piece of shit I have found. When you have a wireless card it just shits itself

19. Jeff Bootsma - December 8, 2009

I love Ubuntu and it´s 9.10 but the wireless network manager is really piece of shit, crap, whores shit ooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhh.

I have nothing than problems with that crappy network manager it doesn´t connect to my wireless router tried wpa, wep. Why the fuck aren´t they doing something about that. It Doesn´t remember the wep key. What a piece of shit sorry but I´m in the mood for smashing my notebook through the windows.

Many thanks Ubuntu why don´t you chose for a other option.

Gtz Jeff

20. opexpert - December 26, 2009

OpExpert is a unified solution to manage the entire IT operations for any organization, small or big. The functionality includes Enterprise Management, Performance Management, Fault Management, Network Performance Management, Server Performance Management, Virtualization Management. http://www.opexpert.com

21. porno sikiş - September 27, 2010

does it play nice with Madwifi cards?

22. sex sikiş - September 28, 2010

Nice, thank you, I will use that.

23. mickrussom - December 28, 2010

NetworkManager is a piece of shit. PIECE OF SHIT. The way OS X seems to handle networking is something I never even bother looking at – it seems to always work. However, NM, is the biggest piece of shit. I miss init scripts.

24. Ubuntu Network Manager – Effortlessly switch networks | TurboLinux Blog - July 31, 2011

[…] Here is a good tutorial show you about Ubuntu Network Manager – Effortlessly switch networks: 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. […]


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