NetworkManager: A User's Review

Dan grinnz at
Thu Apr 27 06:12:01 UTC 2006

Gene Heskett wrote:
> On Wednesday 26 April 2006 20:00, Charles Curley wrote:
>> On Wed, Apr 26, 2006 at 06:01:00PM -0500, Paul Johnson wrote:
>>> I asked about wireless support in this list a couple of days ago and
>>> people pointed me at NetworkManager.  It was not running on my
>>> system, perhaps because my system was installed with FC3 and then
>>> upgraded to FC4 and FC5, so new services were not activated as they
>>> would be in a fresh install.
>>> My experience is mixed.
>>> For the wired and non-encrypted wireless, it seems to be fine.
>>> HOwever, for the networks that require a WEP key, I can't log in
>>> with it. When I try with NM, it asks me for a WEP passphrase and it
>>> asks if I am in an "open network" or "shared network".   I don't
>>> know what those mean, but I've tried all combinations and it does
>>> not log in.
>>> On the other hand, with the key saved in
>>> /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts, the home network does come up,
>>> either from the command line:
>>> /sbin/ifup home
>>> or inside system-config-network.
>>> Can NetworkManager be made to read the WEP key as it is already set
>>> by system-config-network?
>> This sounds suspiciouly like my experience until now. What I just
>> discovered is that NM does not like or play with 64 bit WEP keys. You
>> must use 128 bit WEP keys. You might check your AP for the size of the
>> keys.
> Mine are all 128 bit, it simply ignores them.
You two seem to be having lots of trouble with NM, so I'd just like to 
put it out there: works for me. No configuration in 
system-config-network, any scripts, or anything, just a clean FC5 
install, installed the ipw2200 driver, configured NM/NMDispatcher 
services to start on start, and network to not, rebooted. Clicked the 
nm-applet icon, connect to other network, entered WEP key (I've used 
both 128 and 64 bit keys in both hex and ASCII versions, all work fine), 
connect. The first time it took a long time but after that, what you'd 
expect, 5-10 seconds. I tried WPA once and it didnt work, but I think 
that's not exactly a NM issue, I didn't have the motivation to look into 
that. I usually just connect to my WEP router with a wire anyway, and 
the wireless network i connect to just has a VPN. This also works 
flawlessly by the way, with NetworkManager-vpnc.
NM doesn't read any keys set up for network, it stores them itself when 
you enter them in its dialogs. It does however read settings for static 
IP and such from network.
Shared keys were originally intended to be a more secure way to initiate 
connection with a WEP-protected access point, as the key needs to be 
validated before a client can even connect, however this actually makes 
it less secure, as the key can (theoretically) be reverse engineered 
from the router's challenge broadcast. So open authentication is 
recommended, and I believe it is the one NM is intended to work with.
There is definitely a lack of documentation for NM, but thats probably 
because its a very simple GUI program designed to "just work" and 
doesn't have a lot of advanced features to document. I'm sure it will 
get better with time. I hope somehow you two can get it working 
eventually, it's really very nice when it works :).

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