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Networking with Ubuntu 8.04 and Windows Part 2

The Network Icon

June 30, 2008

The first installment of this series helped you enable Windows sharing (SMB) and configure your Workgroup and Computer Name values in Ubuntu. Part 2 will give you a tour of the networking interfaces in Ubuntu; which are surprisingly somewhat similar to Windows XP. You'll soon be connecting, checking connection details, and browsing network computers in the Linux world.

As in any other present-day operating system (OS), Ubuntu has a network icon on the main tool bar; as you can see in Figure 1. When you're connected to a wireless network, the icon serves as a quick signal strength indicator. The icon itself shows you signal level with its four signal bars and hovering over the icon shows you the SSID (or network name) and signal strength in terms of a percentage.

Right-clicking the network icon lets you disable or enable all networking or just wireless networking. From the drop-down menu you can also access a shortcut to the Connection Information window which shows you the details of your network connection, like the speed (or data rate) and IP and MAC addresses. Additionally, this menu provides a shortcut to the wireless network manager where you can edit the encryption keys used for secured networks.

A simple (left) click of the network icon brings down a different drop-down menu as you can see in Figure 2. You'll see a list of the wireless networks available in your area, along with their signal strength. Networks secured with encryption will sport an icon just to the left of the signal strength bar. The radio button of the network you're currently connected is marked. To connect to a wireless network, simply click the network you want.

The menu also gives you three shortcuts: Connect to Other Wireless Network so you can connect to non-broadcasted or hidden networks, Create New Wireless Network to make a computer-to-computer or ad-hoc, Manual Configuration which takes you to the Network Settings window where you can set a manual (static) IP address for your network connection and set your Workgroup or Domain and Computer (Host) Name.


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