18.5. Managing Network Connections with NetworkManager

NetworkManager is the ideal solution for a mobile workstation. With NetworkManager, you do not need to worry about configuring network interfaces and switching between networks when you are moving. NetworkManager can automatically connect to known WLAN networks. If you have two or more connection possibilities, it can connect to the faster one.

[Note]NetworkManager and SCPM

Do not use NetworkManager together with SCPM when SCPM profiles also change network settings. If you want to use SCPM and NetworkManager at the same time, disable the network resource in SCPM configuration.

NetworkManager is not a suitable solution in the following cases:

18.5.1. Controlling NetworkManager

To start NetworkManager, enable NetworkManager in the YaST module of your network device. Because NetworkManager does not need standard network configuration, the YaST configuration becomes inactive. NetworkManager automatically chooses the best network available, but it can automatically connect only to a known network. For the first connection to a network, use the NetworkManager applet. If the network requires additional information, like its name, password or encryption key, NetworkManager prompts for it.

Both KDE and GNOME have their own applets for NetworkManager. An appropriate applet should start automatically with the desktop environment. The applet is then shown as an icon in the system tray. Functions of both applets are similar, but their interfaces are different. They can also be used in other graphical environments with standard system tray support.

18.5.1.1. The KNetworkManager Applet

KNetworkManager is a KDE applet for controlling NetworkManager. If it is not running start it with the command knetworkmanager. When it is running, a blue Earth icon is shown in the system tray. Right-clicking the icon opens the KNetworkManager menu with various commands for managing network connections.

The menu contains available network connections, both wired and wireless devices. If you hold the mouse cursor over them, details are displayed. The currently used connection is checked in the menu. The signal strength of wireless networks is also shown in the menu. Encrypted wireless networks are marked with a blue lock icon. To connect to an encrypted network, choose it from the menu. In the dialog that opens, choose the type of Encryption the network uses and enter the appropriate Passphrase or Key.

To connect to a network that does not broadcast its service set identifier (ESSID) and therefore cannot be detected automatically, choose Connect to Other Wireless Network. In the dialog that opens, enter the ESSID and set encryption parameters if necessary.

To access dial-up connections, choose Dial-Up Connections. When dial-up connections have already been defined, start the connection by clicking the connection to use. Configure Dial-Up Connections opens YaST where you can define a new dial-up connection.

To disable any active network connection, choose Options+Switch to Offline mode from the KNetworkManager menu. To reenable the connection, choose Options+Switch to Online mode. To disable wireless network connections, choose Options+Disable Wireless from the KNetworkManager menu. To reenable wireless connections, choose Options+Enable Wireless. Enabling networking takes a few seconds.

18.5.1.2. The GNOME NetworkManager Applet

GNOME also has its own applet for NetworkManager. If it is not running, start it with the command nm-applet. When it is running, an icon is shown in the system tray. The appearance of the icon depends on state of the network connection. If you are not sure what the icon means, hold the mouse cursor over it until an explanation appears.

Left-click the applet icon to show a menu with available networks. The currently used connection is checked in the menu. The signal strength of wireless networks is also shown in the menu. Encrypted wireless networks are marked with a shield icon. To connect to an encrypted network, choose it from the menu. In the dialog that opens, choose the type of Encryption the network uses and enter the appropriate Passphrase or Key.

To connect to a network that does not broadcast its service set identifier (ESSID) and therefore cannot be detected automatically, left-click the icon and choose Connect to Other Wireless Network. In the dialog that opens, enter the ESSID and set encryption parameters if necessary.

To disable networking, right-click the applet icon and uncheck Enable Networking. To disable wireless networking, right-click the applet icon and uncheck Enable Wireless.

To get information about the current connection (including interface used, IP address, and hardware address), right-click the applet icon and choose Connection information from the menu.

18.5.2. For More Information

More information about NetworkManager and D-BUS can be found on the following Web sites and directories: