Linux

Manage your network with the new KNetwork Manager

12 Dic/09

For the longest time the only worthwhile network manage (especially of the wireless kind) was the GNOME Network Manager. Once KDE hit release 4 their network manager KNetwork Manager was plagued with issues to the point where it was nearly unusable.

KDE 4.3 is out now and the KNetwork Manager has matured quite a bit. Now this KDE tool has reached a point where it not only works consistently, it’s also quite easy to use – almost surpassing the GNOME Network Manager in user-friendliness.

But for those who have grown to depend on other means of connecting to the net (in KDE 4.x) by other means, the KNetwork Manager might seem a bit unfamiliar. In this tutorial you will see just how easy it has become to connect to a network (specifically a wireless network) with the help of KNetwork Manager.

Installation

You will be glad to know that there is no installation necessary for KNetwork Manager. But you will want to make sure you have the latest KDE updates. But you will want to make sure you are using the most recent version of KDE (As of this writing, KDE 4.3.2). To find out what version you are using open up the Dolphin file manager, go to the Help menu, and click “About KDE”. If you are using a version prior to 4.3.2 you will want to go to your update manager and check to see if there are any updates for KDE.

Accessing KNetwork Manager

Figure 1

Figure 1

If you look in the notification area you will find the KNetwork Manager icon (see the icon in the black square in Figure 1). If you click this icon (either right or left click) a menu will pop up that:

  • Shows you if you are connected to a network.
  • Allows you to stop an active network connection.
  • Connect to a new network.
  • Enable/disable wireless.
  • Open the connection manager.
Figure 2

Figure 2

To create a new wireless connection either select “Connect to Other Network” or open the Connection Manager. Let’s start from the Connection Manager. Select that entry to open up the Connection Manager (see Figure 2).  As you can see there are already two network connections available. Let’s create a third.

Figure 3

Figure 3

In order to create a new network click the Add button, which will open up the New Network tool (see Figure 3). In this tool you can either add all of the information manually or you can click the Scan button to find the network you want to add. The scan tool is one of my favorite aspects of the new KNetwork Manager.

The Access Point Scanner (see Figure 4) gives you a graphical representation of all available wireless networks and their relative signal strength.

Figure 4

Figure 4

Obviously the network that appears closest to the PC icon in the window will have the strongest strength. And since that is the network I want to connect to I will select it and click OK. Unfortunately, by selecting a particular access point, the only configuration this adds to your connection is the SSID. You will have to go through the rest of the configuration and set the connection up. Make sure you  click on the Wireless Security tab (see Figure 5), select the proper security type, and enter the correct password for the security.

Figure 6

Figure 5

Once you have configured the connection you can OK this window to apply the changes and dismiss the connection wizard. All you then need to do is click the KNetwork Manager icon and select your new network connection to connect.

Final thoughts

I am very pleased with how the KNetwork Manager tool has matured. Prior to 4.3.2, the network tool was nothing I would ever recommend. Now, however, I can safely recommend this network manager to anyone.

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