WiFi Gutsy

From the mailing list:

Well if there's one word that's guaranteed to break things it's "Eureka", still, let's see what happens...

My WPA wifi connection has been consistent now over several reboots. With Ubuntu Gutsy and the Zydas based Safecom SWMULZ-5400 USB interface here's the recipe for setting it up with NetworkManager??. This is mostly on the web, AFAIK the main new content here is the last bullet and the pulling it together.

- set the Netgear DG834G router/AP to broadcast its SSID, otherwise this hardly ever works.

- comment out the wifi entry in /etc/network/interfaces, this allows NetworkManager?? to set up wifi. Gutsy includes NetworkManager?? 0.6.5 and the zd1211rw driver.

- reboot or do /etc/init.d/networking restart, login and click on NetworkManager??'s nm-applet (icon of two monitors) in the panel. You should get a list of SSIDs of nearby APs, but if not right click first and disable wireless. Choose one, turn off roaming and you get the opportunity to configure a connection.

- with the DG834G set to WPA-PSK, configure the wifi connection to use WPA Personal - same thing under another name. This was the only matching pair I recognised, although they may also work with WPA-802.1x / RADIUS.

- enter the wifi Password, click OK and the connection should work, or it may need a restart. Click Close and after logging out you should find the wifi config added to /etc/network/interfaces.

Now the interesting bit...

- after a reboot, login and click on nm-applet again. This time your only option is Manual Configuration because of the saved wifi config. Click Properties and there's the entry as defined in the interfaces file.

- delete the password (shown as blobs), re-enter the password and click OK: this logging in is what turns the connection on initially. You may briefly see "Changing interface configuration" but there's no indication of when the connection is working and when not, just leave a ping running. The connection stays up across logout/login. There are also checkboxes to disable/re-enable interfaces: if logging in didn't start the connection try toggling wifi slowly and if necessary logging in again, but restoring a connection this way seems erratic.

That's it, simple but opaque. FWIW NM also sets up WEP connections OK, but I came across several mentions that the Kubuntu version of NM works less well. I use static addressing so strictly speaking NM is not the right tool to be using, but I don't know of an easier way to get wifi working with WPA. I found various options appearing in the GUI at times and vanishing again - it's early days for NM, version 0.7 will be a rewrite and there's a long functionality wishlist at live.gnome.org/NetworkManagerToDo?? with no mention of UI revisions.

If you can improve on this dabbling please let the mailing list know!