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Linux Wi-Fi Manager Roundup - page 2

Many Linux Wi-Fi Managers

  • October 21, 2008
  • By Eric Geier

Wicd is another utility that helps you manage connections to wired and wireless networks. It has no Gnome dependencies (although it does require GTK) and it should work on any Linux distribution (distro). It can be obtained from their Website or through your distro's repository. For specific installation instructions on a variety of distros, see their downloads page.

Once installed, clicking on its tray icon opens up the Wicd Manager, where all the action happens. As Figure 4 shows, you see an entry for the wired connection and each Wi-Fi network with its signal strength (percentage or dBm), encryption status, and physical (MAC) address.

Clicking an entry's arrow shows the details area, as you can see for the dlink network in Figure 4. For wireless networks you see another piece of information, the channel, plus buttons to configure custom scripts for the network and to set advanced settings, such as static IP and DNS addresses and encryption keys. Figure 5 shows all these areas: the Wicd Manager with a network's details plus the script and advanced setting windows. The settings you input into these windows are saved, so even if you go out of the network's range, the settings will return the next time it's detected-sort of a disappearing profile scheme. The details area of the wired connection is similar, however also contains a field where you can create and pick different profiles for the wired adapter, each configurable with static IP and DNS addresses.

Now for the application's toolbar. The Network menu provides the shortcuts to connect to hidden wireless networks and to create a ad-hoc network. Obviously, the Disconnect button disconnects you from the network and the Refresh button re-scans the airwaves for a updated list of Wi-Fi signals. The Preferences button takes you to where you can change advanced settings. Besides applying global DNS settings and switching to displaying signals in dBm, you probably can steer clear of these settings.

Though Wicd provides advanced features, such as profile-based IP settings, signal strength, and channel information, it lacks a simple window displaying the common connection details, such as the IP settings and MAC addresses. Nevertheless, you can use other methods to get the run down of connection details, such as by running the ifconfig -a or iwconfig command.


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