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This chapter is from the book

Configuring Wireless Networks

Wireless networking used to be a pig to configure for Linux, requiring a lot of complicated steps to connect to a wireless network. However, Ubuntu includes a great utility called Network Manager that makes connecting to and managing wireless networks extremely easy. Thanks to the inclusion of several wireless chipset drivers in the Ubuntu Linux kernel, it is now easy to connect to WEP and WPA encrypted wireless networks.

When you log in to Ubuntu, you should see the Network Manager applet appear in the top panel (see Figure 2.17). This is the applet that handles and monitors network connections.

Figure 2.17

Figure 2.17 The Network Manager notification applet, seen here already connected to a wireless network.

Click the applet icon in the toolbar to connect to a wireless network. If your wireless access point broadcasts its SSID, it should appear in the list under wireless networks (similar to Figure 2.17). Simply click on the required network and Network Manager will detect what encryption (if any) is in use and ask you for the passkey. Enter this and Network Manager will start the wireless connection. The passkey is then stored in the default keyring, so if you have not yet used the keyring, you are asked to create a password. From now on, whenever you log in to Ubuntu, you are asked for the key to unlock the keyring.

If for some reason your wireless network does not appear (you might have your SSID hidden), you must use the Connect to Other Wireless Network option, which brings up the screen shown in Figure 2.18.

Figure 2.18

Figure 2.18 Configure your wireless network connection settings using Network Manager.

Network Manager can handle WEP and WPA Personal encryption. You are advised to use WPA encryption because it is the stronger of the two.

Network Manager can also connect to Cisco VPN connections, using the vpnc software. Install this using synaptic and you will be able to specify connection settings as appropriate, or if you have access to a predefined configuration (.pcf file) you can import it directly into Network Manager.

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