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"NetworkManager provides automatic network detection and configuration for the system. Once enabled, the NetworkManager service also monitors the network interfaces, and may automatically switch to the best connection at any given time. Applications that include NetworkManager support may automatically switch between on-line and off-line modes when the system gains or loses network connectivity.
These facilities are most useful for modern laptops, where the user may move between wireless networks, and plug in to a variety of wired networks, but NetworkManager also provides features that are relevant to workstations. Current versions of NetworkManager support modem connections, and certain types of VPN. Development of these features is ongoing."
-- Fedora wiki

NetworkManager ver. 0.7 features

NetworkManager version 0.7 is a large overhaul of the program and has added:

  • Support for cellular data cards
  • Multiple Active Devices
  • System-wide Configuration
  • wpa_supplicant dbus Control Interface
  • More Wireless/Wired Authentication Methods

Base install

NetworkManager is available in the official repositories and can be installed by:

# pacman -S networkmanager

Applet install

To configure and have easy access to NetworkManager most people will want to install an applet. The applet usually resides in the system tray (or notification area) and allows network selection and configuration of NetworkManager. Various applets exist for different types of desktops.


GNOMEs' applet (formerly gnome-network-manager) can be installed by:

# pacman -S network-manager-applet


The KNetworkManager applet (widget) has been made available in KDE version 4.4:

# pacman -S kdeplasma-applets-networkmanagement


Though no longer supported, Template:Package AUR is in the AUR:

# yaourt -S knetworkmanager


Xfce uses the same applet as GNOME, but you will also want to install the Template:Package Official so that GNOME applets are capable of being displayed in the Xfce4 panel:

# pacman -S xfce4-xfapplet-plugin

Fluxbox and Other WMs

For other desktops, it is recommended to use the GNOME applet. You'll also need to be sure that the GNOME hicolor theme is installed to be able to display the applet:

# pacman -S hicolor-icon-theme gnome-icon-theme

Command line

cnetworkmanager, from the AUR, can be used to configure connections from the command line.


NetworkManager will require some additional steps to be able run properly.

Set hostname

By default NetworkManager 0.7 will do a reverse lookup of your IP to determine your hostname to use to display to other networks. Because of how it handles it, generally this will result in a hostname of localhost or localhost.localdomain. Having such a hostname and NetworkManagers attempts to manipulate it can occasionally cause crashes of the Xorg server.

To fix this, create a configuration the explicitly defines your hostname. Create the file Template:Filename and add:

plugins = keyfile
hostname = <your hostname>

Verify that your Template:Filename is correct before continuing. If you previously tried to connect before doing this step, NetworkManager may have altered it. An example hostname line in Template:Filename:

#<ip-address> <>           <hostname>                    localhost.localdomain localhost dell-latitude

Add user to network group

To manipulate NetworkManager settings you will be required to be part of the network group.

# gpasswd -a USERNAME network

If you are not already a part of this group, logout and back in for the changes to take effect.

Disable current network setup

You'll want to disable your current network setup to be able to properly test NetworkManager. First (if using the Arch Linux network scripts) stop the network:

/etc/rc.d/network stop

Bring down your NIC's (Network Interface Controllers, i.e. network cards). For example:

ifconfig eth0  down
ifconfig wlan0 down

Edit Template:Filename and where you defined DHCP or a static IP address, comment them out:

INTERFACES=(!eth0 !wlan0)

Edit daemons

You must disable the default network daemon and add the hal, and networkmanager daemons in this order:

DAEMONS=( ... !network hal networkmanager... )

Be sure that the package Template:Package Official is installed as NetworkManager will require it. Also, do not background hal as it is essential to have it loaded before networkmanager loads. To start other services (daemons) that require a network connection see the next section on how to set them up. Though the NetworkManager daemon has been started here, it will not (by default) connect onto a network until it's applet is loaded and the applet specifies to do so. This means that networking services will need to be specified to NetworkManager on when to run.

Network services

There are quite a few network services that you will not want running until NetworkManager brings up an interface. Good examples are ntpd and network filesystem mounts of various types (e.g. netfs). NetworkManager has the ability to start these services when you connect to a network (interface up), and stop them when you are no longer using them (interface down).

To use this feature, scripts can be added to the Template:Filename directory. These scripts will need to have executable, user permissions. For security, it's good practice to make them owned by root:root and writable only by the owner. The scripts will be run in alphabetical order at connection time (with arguments interface up), and in reverse alphabetical order at disconnect time (interface down). To ensure what order they come up in, it is common to use numerical characters prior to the name of the script (e.g. Template:Filename or Template:Filename (which ensures that the portmapper is up before NFS mounts are attempted).

Warning: if you connect to foreign or public networks, be aware of what services you are starting and what servers you expect to be available for them to connect to. You could make a security hole by starting the wrong services while connected to a public network.

Proxy settings

Network Manager does not directly handle proxy settings.

See: Proxy settings


Some fixes to common problems.

Network Management Disabled

Sometimes when NM shuts down the pid (state) file does not get removed and you will get a 'Network management disabled' message. If this happens, you'l have to remove it manually:

rm /var/lib/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.state

If this happens upon reboot, you can add an action to your Template:Filename to have it removed upon bootup:

[ -f $nmpid ] && rm $nmpid

DHCP problems

If you have problems with getting an IP via DHCP try to add the following to your Template:Filename:

 interface "eth0" {
   send dhcp-client-identifier 01:aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff;

Where Template:Codeline is the MAC-adress of this NIC.

Problems starting nm-applet as normal user

Sometimes, the gnome applet fails to start with the following error:

** (nm-applet:2941): WARNING **: <WARN>  applet_dbus_manager_start_service(): Could not acquire the NetworkManagerUserSettings
  Message: 'Connection ":1.19" is not allowed to own the service "org.freedesktop.NetworkManagerUserSettings" due to security
policies in the configuration file'

Or if you can see the nm-applet icon in xfce4's panel's notification area while login as root but can't see it if login as a normal user, it could indicate you need to modify the policy settings to get nm-applet started as normal user. (Try to start nm-applet in terminal as normal user will give you the error above.)

This depends on NetworkManager changing its behaviour since version 0.7, ignoring the "network" group altogether and instead uses ConsoleKit, which seems to be problematic at times. This solution was provided by madhatter:

Add the following to your /etc/dbus-1/system.d/NetworkManager.conf

        <policy group="network">
                <allow send_destination="org.freedesktop.NetworkManager"

And to /etc/dbus-1/system.d/nm-applet.conf

    <policy group="network">
        <allow own="org.freedesktop.NetworkManagerUserSettings"/>
        <allow send_destination="org.freedesktop.NetworkManagerUserSettings"

        <deny send_interface="org.freedesktop.NetworkManagerSettings.Secrets"/>

Loutout and back you should have it in the panel and can select any network to connect, type the password then you are ready to go.

For OpenVpn you need to add following line in Template:Filename

<allow send_destination="org.freedesktop.NetworkManager"

in section Template:Codeline.

Missing default route

On at least one KDE4 system, no default route was created when establishing wireless connections with NetworkManager. Changing the route settings of the wireless connection to remove the default selection "Use only for resources on this connection" solved the issue.

3G modem not detected

If NetworkManager (from v0.7.999) does not detect your 3G modem, but you still can connect using wvdial, try installing modemmanager package using Template:Codeline and restart NetworkManager daemon with Template:Codeline. Replug your modem or restart.

VPN problems in Networkmanager 0.7.999

If you get the error message "invalid secrets" when trying to connect to your VPN provider using the PPTP protocol, try installing the git versions instead: networkmanager, nm-applet and the pptp plugin.

PolicyKit issues

Note: Following is probably not need for KDE 4 anymore, as there should be PolicyKit integration as of KDE 4.3. At least with knetworkmanager from [kdemod-core], the author did not run into any troubles.

Because many Display Managers (including KDM) do not natively support policykit at login, you will run into some permission issues with D-Bus and NetworkManager.

While there are several options to resolve this issue, choose only one:

 session       optional
Warning: This may cause the malfunction of KDE PowerDevil.
       <policy group="users">
               <allow send_destination="org.freedesktop.NetworkManager"/>
               <allow send_interface="org.freedesktop.NetworkManager"/>
If this does not work, check if there are any policy errors by starting NetworkManager manually:
 # kill `pidof NetworkManager`
 # NetworkManager --no-daemon
  • Put the following script in ~/.kde4/Autostart or similar for other WMs or DEs:

Tips and tricks

Checking if networking is up inside a cron job or script

Some cron jobs require networking to be up to succeed. You may wish to avoid running these jobs when the network is down. To accomplish this, add an if test for networking that queries NetworkManager's nm-tool and checks the state of networking. The test shown here succeeds if any interface is up, and fails if they are all down. This is convenient for laptops that might be hardwired, might be on wireless, or might be off the network.

if [ `nm-tool|grep State|cut -f2 -d' '` == "connected" ]; then
       #Whatever you want to do if the network is online
       #Whatever you want to do if the network is offline - note, this and the else above are optional

This useful for a cron.hourly script that runs fpupdate for the F-Prot virus scanner signature update, as an example. Another way it might be useful, with a little modification, is to differentiate between networks using various parts of the output from nm-tool; for example, since the active wireless network is denoted with an asterisk, you could grep for the network name and then grep for a literal asterisk.

Automatically unlock keyring after login

This will prevent nm-applet from asking for your keyring password.

  • In Template:Filename (or your corresponding daemon in /etc/pam.d), add these lines at the end of the "auth" and "session" blocks if they do not exist already:
 auth            optional
 session         optional  auto_start
 password    optional
Next time you log in, you should be asked if you want the password to be unlocked automatically on login.
Note: See for reference, and if you are using kde / kdm, you can use pam-keyring-tool from the AUR.
  • Put a script like the following in ~/.kde4/Autostart:
 echo PASSWORD | /usr/bin/pam-keyring-tool --unlock --keyring=default -s
Similar should work with openbox, lxde, etc.

Automatically connect on boot

Since version 0.7 the NetworkManager is able to connect on boot, before a user has logged in and unlocked the keyring.

  • First make sure that the keyfile plugin is loaded; Template:Filename should look like this:
  • If this was not in the file before, you have to restart nm-system-settings:
 # killall -TERM nm-system-settings
or simply reboot.
  • Now grant your user the right to modify system-connections with:
 $ sudo polkit-auth --grant --user "YOURUSERNAME"
Finally, in the connection-editor, check the Available to all users box.

The connection is now saved in /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/"CONNECTION NAME". On reboot, NetworkManager will try to connect to it, when in range.

Ignore specific devices

Sometimes it is desired, that network manager ignores some devices and do not try to get an IP.

  • First you have to find out the Hal UDI (e.g. with lshal):
 info.product = 'Networking Interface'  (string)
 info.subsystem = 'net'  (string)
 info.udi = '/org/freedesktop/Hal/devices/net_00_1f_11_01_06_55'  (string)
 linux.hotplug_type = 2  (0x2)  (int)
 linux.subsystem = 'net'  (string)
  • Add the udi to /etc/NetworkManager/nm-system-settings.conf:
Multiple devices can be specified, delimited by semicolons:

You do not need to restart networkmanager for the changes to take effect.

See also