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Red Hat initiated a NetworkManager project in 2004 with the goal of enabling Linux users to deal more easily with modern networking needs, particularly wireless networking. NetworkManager takes an opportunistic approach to network selection, attempting to use the best available connection as outages occur, or as the user roams between wireless networks. It prefers Ethernet connections over “known” wireless networks, which are preferred over wireless networks with SSIDs to which the user has never connected. The user is prompted for WEP or WPA keys as needed.
The NetworkManager project was among the first major Linux desktop components to utilize D-Bus and HAL extensively. Since June 2009, however, NetworkManager no longer depends on HAL.
NetworkManager has two components:
- a service which manages connections and reports network changes
- a graphical desktop applet which allows the user to manipulate network connections. The nmcli applet provides similar functionality on the command line.
Both components are intended by the developers to be reasonably portable, and the applet is available to desktop environments which implement the Freedesktop.org System Tray Protocol, including GNOME, KDE Plasma Workspaces, Enlightenment (window manager) and Xfce. As the components communicate via D-Bus, applications can be written to be “link-aware”, or to replace the provided applet entirely. One example is KNetworkManager, a KDE 3 frontend to NetworkManager developed by Novell for SUSE Linux.
Mobile broadband configuration assistant
Antti Kaijanmäki announced the development of a mobile broadband configuration assistant for NetworkManager in April 2008 it became available in NetworkManager version 0.7.0. Together with the package mobile-broadband-provider-info the connection is easily configured.
- NetworkManagement: NetworkManager back-end for KDE SC 4, provides a plasma widget frontend.
- KNetworkManager: the K Desktop Environment 3 frontend developed by Novell.
- nm-applet: is the GNOME applet for NetworkManager.
- nmcli: built-in command line interface (added in 2010 e.g. in Fedora 13 Alpha, which was released in late May 2010).
- cnetworkmanager: command line interface for NetworkManager.
Mobile broadband tested devices
Developers have successfully tested the following cards, dongles or phones with NetworkManager:
Sony Ericsson F3507g (aka Dell 5530) Sony Ericsson MD300 Sony Ericsson TM-506 (via USB cable) Sony Ericsson G502 (via USB cable, and bluetooth using blueman) LG PM325 (via USB cable) BUSlink SCWi275u Option iCON 225 Option ICON 7.2 Option GT MAX 3.6 (aka Option GT Ultra) Option Nozomi Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 (Sprint) Sierra Wireless AirCard 881 (use latest AT&T firmware) Sierra Wireless AirCard 860 Sierra Wireless AirCard 595U (Sprint/Verizon) Sierra Wireless MC8775 Sierra Wireless AC875 Sierra Wireless 885U Huawei E122 Huawei E156G (tested on Ubuntu 10.10 with pre-installed usbmodeswitch) Huawei E160G Huawei E160E Huawei E220 Huawei E169 Huawei E1692 (TIM Italia) Huawei E1750C Huawei EC121 (Reliance India) Huawei EC168 (Reliance India) Huawei EC1260 (Reliance India) Nokia E51 Nokia E71 Nokia N900 Novatel Merlin S720 (Sprint/Verizon) Novatel Merlin XU870 (aka Dell 5510) Novatel Ovation U727 (Sprint/Verizon) Novatel Merlin S620 (Sprint) Novatel Ovation MC930D Qualcomm Gobi (GSM firmware) Kyocera KPC650 (Verizon) Verizon Wireless PC5750 Verizon Wireless UM175 Verizon Wireless KPC680 Nokia E72 Nokia 7210 Supernova Nokia 7230