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openSUSE 11.1 Reference Guide
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20.5 NetworkManager

NetworkManager is the ideal solution for a mobile workstation. With NetworkManager, you do not need to worry about configuring network interfaces and switching between networks when you are moving. NetworkManager can automatically connect to known WLAN networks. If you have two or more connection possibilities, it can connect to the faster one.

However, NetworkManager is not a suitable solution for all cases, so you can still choose between the traditional method for managing network connections (ifup) and NetworkManager. If you want to manage your network connection with NetworkManager, enable NetworkManager in the YaST Network Settings module as described in Section 10.2, Enabling NetworkManager, (↑ Start-Up ). For a list of use cases and a detailed description how to configure and use NetworkManager, refer to Section 10.0, Using NetworkManager, (↑ Start-Up ).

After choosing the method for managing network connections, set up your network card using automatic configuration via DHCP or a static IP address or configure your modem. Find a detailed description of the network configuration with YaST in Section 20.4, Configuring a Network Connection with YaST and Section 30.1, Wireless LAN. Configure supported wireless cards directly in NetworkManager by using the NetworkManager applets in KDE or GNOME.

Some differences between ifup and NetworkManager include:

root Privileges

If you use NetworkManager for network setup, you can easily switch, stop, or start your network connection at any time from within your desktop environment using an applet. NetworkManager also makes it possible to change and configure wireless card connections without requiring root privileges. For this reason, NetworkManager is the ideal solution for a mobile workstation.

Traditional configuration with ifup also provides some ways to switch, stop, or start the connection with or without user intervention, like user-managed devices, but it always requires root privileges to change or configure a network device. This is often a problem for mobile computing, where it is not possible to preconfigure all connection possibilities.

Types of Network Connections

Both, traditional configuration and NetworkManager can handle network connections with a wireless network (with WEP, WPA-PSK, and WPA-Enterprise access), dial-up, and wired networks using DHCP and static configuration. They also support connection through VPN.

NetworkManager tries to keep your computer connected at all times using the best connection available. If available, it uses the fastest wired connection. If the network cable is accidentally disconnected, it tries to reconnect. It can find the network with the best signal strength from the list of your wireless connections and automatically use it to connect. To get the same functionality with ifup, a great deal of configuration effort is required.

openSUSE 11.1 Reference Guide
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  Published under the terms fo the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire