Thursday 19 November 2009

Network Manager or wicd?

Of late I have had problems with my wireless network connection on Ubuntu (mainly on my desktop installation). This problem first cropped up probably after upgrading to Jaunty from Intrepid. In those days I had Philips SNU-5600 adapter,  which needed to be unplugged and replugged after start-up for the Network Manager to detect it. I was expecting that things would improve in Karmic, but the problem remained unresolved. Furthermore, my trusted adapter due to frequent unplugging/replugging finally broke down.

I bought a Netgear WN111, with the Wireless N technology, which put me back by about 50 quid. When I bought WN111, I wasn't sure whether Ubuntu  Karmic had the necessary  drivers to detect it. I was pleasantly surprised when Network Manager detected it.  However, a new problem started to crop up. Though the wireless network connectivity gets established after start-up, the connection drops out after a few minutes. This went on for a week or so. I tried installing wicd with little success. It seemed like wicd wasn't detecting WN111 at all.  I wondered  whether some settings in the Network Manager were causing it to drop connection . I also looked for help around on the internet but to no avail.

Last night, I uninstalled Network Manager and used my live CD to download the wicd debian package from Ubuntu Package Download area. Incidentally, the connection dropped out on Live CD as well.

I logged back into my Ubuntu Karmic installation on the desktop and installed wicd. Bingo! it worked.

Now comes the question, Network Manager or wicd? My vote would go to wicd. The interface of wicd is much better than the default Network Manager. It has the ability to connect to both wired (No PPPoE/DSL support) and wireless networks. If I need to connect using an ADSL modem for whatever reason, tough luck!

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