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Wifi connection managers in Debian


I have read messages on this list and Debian manuals but am clear on
how to get a wifi connection manager to work properly.

I am running Debian Sarge and updating regularly my packages from
'testing'. KDE is my desktop manager of choice. I have a Netgear
WG511T PCMCIA wireless adapter which works perfectly with the help of
the madwifi drivers. My question is: how can I get a wireless
connection manager to properly associate with a network of my choice?

>From the command line, I manage wired and wireless connections using
ifup/ifdown. I don't use ifplugd (for no particular reason---should
I?). I have waproamd and resolvconf installed.

I have tried kwifimanager and netapplet. Both nicely detect available
networks, give signal strength, etc. However, I never seem to be able
to really associate with any of those available networks. The
interface says it associated, my card's leds are blinking properly (as
if associated), but I don't receive any IP, can't ping anything, etc.
If I ping from the command line:
 % ping www.google.com
 % ping: unknown host www.google.com

Are these managers actually supposed to access and modifiy
/etc/network/interfaces? /etc/resolv.conf? I tried running them as
root and the result is the same, so it doesn't seem to be a permission
issue. The networks I'm trying to access aren't wep-protected, so no
key issue either.

Here is my /etc/network/interfaces:

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp  # Ethernet adapter
iface ath0 inet dhcp  # PCMCIA wireless adapter
# Get the wireless adapter to hotplug
mapping hotplug
        script grep
        map ath0

If I want to change wireless connection manually, I need to edit
/etc/network/interfaces and insert explicit wireless-essid,
wireless-ap, etc, directives. Can't the wifi managers do that?

Thanks a lot for any help !

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