knetworkmanager: the solution to WiFi-WLan-WEP-WPA1|2 nightmares

July 29th, 2007 edited by Tincho

Article submitted by Ingo Wagener. We have run out of good articles! Please help DPOTD and submit good articles about software you like!

I used to roam around cafés, schools, hotels, etc, logging myself into this network, that network, any network using the command line. Open networks are a breeze, WEP was not too bad but WPA on the command line took a bit of fiddling first time round. I then moved onto scripts depend…

OK, you are bored and couldn’t be asked to read any further —or was it that I was bored and installed knetworkmanager instead?

Now I cruise into a café, open up my notebook and thank whatshisname that I can just click on the little knetworkmanager icon in the system tray to list all available networks. I select the one I am after and its wizard asks me for authorization if it is necessary or just logs me in. Doesn’t matter whether it is WEP, WPA1 or even WPA2! Well, I felt pretty cool :) Of course you can choose to have the codes saved —encrypted, naturally.

Now you might have other programs installed, kwifimanager, the new kwlan or Wireless Assistant to name but a few. Most of them do the job well enough, but none of them have the same click and run capability. kwifimanager for example still does not have WPA compatibility, kwlan’s interface is not nearly as neat and Wireless Assistant (the highest ranking on KDE apps, by the way) asks for some informed decisions and has, similar to kwlan, a number of interfaces you have to work your way through.

If you want to cruise networks the easiest possible way, there is no way round knetwormanager.

Even though it is a KDE programme (and me a KDE addict) it works just as well on Gnome and is available under the standard repositories, regardless whether you are running Debian or (K)Ubuntu.

To date I have yet to come across another network manager as complete and pain free, although the Gnome lot are working on it. If it is half as good as knetworkmanager one should applaud them!

The opensuse project has some nice screenshots of Knetworkmanager running in KDE, Gnome and FVWM.

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu |

10 Responses

  1. anon Says:

    NetworkManager: a nightmare to debug.

    The cafe I go to worked with NM+ipw3945+wext only about half the time. Suspend/resume hung about half the time. I switched to a plain wpa_supplicant config and everything works with no extra configuration.

    Trying to debug what goes on with NM is pure hell. It doesn’t bother playing nice with others; NM demands to control wpa_supplicant *it’s* way and not through the typical wpa_cli. And it calls the dhcp client itself (but conveniently gives up the lease *after* downing the interface, so you can’t swap between wired and wireless without a static ip). All through the dbus but only generating log messages for some actions. Good luck trying to figure out which script was triggered by what actions and why.

    Feh. Stick with wpa_supplicant. Hack up a script to gather ~/.wpa_supplicant_conf files from all “authorized” users’ home directories. Be happy.

  2. anon Says:

    Actually, I need to correct myself. NM doesn’t call the dhcp client itself but rather sends out yet another dbus message. That’s probably one reason why release is screwed up.

    Oh, and the current knetworkmanager won’t work correctly with VPNs. I gave up on NM altogether before figuring out why not.

  3. Pharao Says:

    NM truly rocks. if you work with gnome it might be easier to use network-manager-gnome ;)

  4. Fabian Says:

    I just wonder why you punsh on Gnome and that they don’t have an equivalent.
    But in fact NetworkManager orignated on Gnome first and then someone ported
    the frontend to qt, which is great.
    Because now both desktops will benefit from fixes of the backend.
    Having a separate fontend for each desktop is necessary for better integration.

    I would hope ports like this would happen more often, in both directions of course. Because this will speed up development quite a bit and changning from one desktop to the other would be easier.

  5. Der Kantinenblogger Says:

    Maybe it would have been a good idea to provide the readers with the name of this package, as it is not kdenetworkmanager but network-manager-kde … :)

  6. Ingo Wagener Says:

    @ Pharao & Fabian

    not using gnome myself I was not aware they had a package that can do wpa1 & 2, but I did hear that something was in development. Apologies for the apparent oversight!

    @ Kantinenblogger

    no, that is a different package, this is knetworkmanager, i.e. $ apt-get install knetworkmanager

    @ anon

    Could it be you have a dodgy wlan-card? I had the same problem with my TP41 and until I switched that I was never going to get happy. Anyway, sorry to hear about your negative experiences - perhaps the development team might benefit from your feedback :) - I haven’t had any of the problems you have experienced.

  7. Ricard Says:

    It is a really nice app. But I find a few annoyances:

    - It doesn’t have an alternative (to KWallet) way of storing passwords.

    - If you set it to Manually configured, there is no easy way (no way at all that I know of) to go back to the default automatic way of choosing networks.

    Please if I’m wrong, correct me, I’m looking forward to find some solutions to these inconveniences.

    Maybe I need a newer version, I use the one with Kubuntu Feisty.

  8. Mark Says:



    $ apt-get install knetworkmanager

    as you say in the comments results in

    Package knetworkmanager is a virtual package provided by:
    network-manager-kde 1:0.2~svn678822-3
    You should explicitly select one to install.
    E: Package knetworkmanager has no installation candidate

    (at least on my lenny/sid system)

  9. Konrad Says:

    I was using knetworkmanager with great results but experienced the same problems as Ricard. There are few bugs in knetworkmanager (
    In this particular scenario don’t touch manual configuration, otherwise you will break ability to use romanig networks. Recently I’ve switched to wicd ( It does better job then network-manager because you’re connected automatictialy before log into DE. Maybe website isn’s very impressive but this app does it job very well for me.

  10. Rainer Dorsch Says:

    Does the submitted article refer to the etch or the sid version or both of knetworkmanager?