Networking

Fixing Fedora's Wi-Fi with Wicd

If you've had trouble getting Fedora to connect to WPA2 Wi-Fi access points, then throw out NetworkManager and replace it with wicd.

A constant thorn in my side over the past months has been Fedora's intermittent failure to connect to wireless access points using WPA2 encryption. When Fedora, WPA2 and a Realtek wireless chipset (specifically RTL8191SEvB) come together, it's a recipe for frustration.

To see what was happening, here's the /var/log/messages output:

Jan  3 15:39:23 notubuntu NetworkManager[1143]: NetworkManager[1143]:  (wl

an0): supplicant interface state: disconnected -> scanning

Jan 3 15:39:24 notubuntu NetworkManager[1143]: (wlan0): supplicant inter

face state: scanning -> authenticating

Jan 3 15:39:24 notubuntu NetworkManager[1143]: NetworkManager[1143]: (wl

an0): supplicant interface state: scanning -> authenticating

Jan 3 15:39:24 notubuntu NetworkManager[1143]: (wlan0): supplicant inter

face state: authenticating -> associating

Jan 3 15:39:24 notubuntu NetworkManager[1143]: NetworkManager[1143]: (wl

an0): supplicant interface state: authenticating -> associating

Jan 3 15:39:49 notubuntu NetworkManager[1143]: Activation (wlan0/wireless): association took too long.

After being stranded with no wireless connection in a Wi-Fi-covered room, and left searching for an empty Ethernet port, I'd had enough — GNOME's bundled NetworkManager had to go.

Enter wicd.

Installing wicd is a simple matter of using your distributions packaging solution.

Once that is done we need to stop NetworkManager and start wicd. Since I am using Fedora for this, the commands are:

# service NetworkManager stop
# service wicd start

Installing the wicd-gtk package gives the UI below to control wicd —- you can use only the command line if that's your sort of thing.

Since NetworkManager will restart by default and interfere with wicd if you restart GNOME, you can, once you are happy with the wicd set-up, make the changes permanent with:

# service NetworkManager disable
# service wicd enable

We could be take it a step further and make sure that NetworkManager will never bother us again by uninstalling it —- but I like having it as a backup until I've used wicd for a longer period of time with no hiccoughs.

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Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

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