Wi-Fi

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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4 comments
hjmangalam
hjmangalam

It's a tremendous shame that one of the 1st things that a new Linux Desktop user meets in trying to set up a new distro is ... (Jaws music) ... Network Manager. It is reliable in the utterly bad way - it has never failed to fail for me - the reason I always have to install on a wire, toss NM & install Netgo. And from many grudging treks across the lists, this is far from a one-off. Why not a default of netgo? Bewildering.

pgit
pgit

Yep, regardless of the distribution the first job is dump networkmanager. I have used a number of tools in it's stead, including wicd. Aside from Mandriva's draktools, wicd is the most consistent, stable and easy to use among the alternatives.

echo9
echo9

Wicd is a way better replacement for the NetworkMgr. Actually its the first thing I do whenever I get my hands on a Ubuntu or a ubuntu spinoff. :)

pgit
pgit

Mandriva had two of the best tools in the business in their draktools collection; their print system and networking control were bar far the best available in Linux, anywhere. They abandoned printerdrake first, with the 2010 distribution. Printing has been totally unreliable with Mandriva since. I have to poke at the printers on the server, restart them, unplug and replug the USB cable and sacrifice a dove or two before they are available to network clients. They last a half day, then magically disappear again. With 2011 they have totally abandoned their drakx-net tools, and same deal: wireless networking has gone from the easiest, most compatible out of the box simple process (EXACTLY what Linux needs to win converts) to almost impossible. On one machine I was able to remove networkmanager and get the draktools working. On different hardware, networkmanager appears to be necessary. I haven't checked yet to see if the fork, Mageia, uses networlmanager as default or not. If not, that might be my go-to should Mandriva close it's doors: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/opensource/mandriva-in-danger-of-closing-its-doors/3335?tag=mantle_skin;content