Making 'Connect to Other Network...' inactive

I would like to open for comment the idea of Making the 'Connect to Other Network...' menu item inactive when there are no 'Other Networks' available.

At Clemson University about half of our buildings are covered by a wireless network that sends out beacon packets with the ESSID blank. If I boot in a building that I have never been in before, nm-applet will show the no-connection icon. I can run 'iwlist eth1 scan' to see if a wireless signal is available, but NM will not tell me if its scan list is empty. Using HEAD 1.450, if I use the 'Connect to the Other Network...' dialog in an area where no APs are in range, NM will hang. Here are two possible fixes.

Fix A. Make the 'Connect to the Other Network...' dialog inactive if the NM scan list is NULL.

Background for Fix B. A NM scan is first processed and an attempt is made to resolve the ESSIDs of hidden APs using MAC address stored in GConf. After processing, the scan list is divided into two parts: APs with an assigned ESSID and APs without an assigned ESSID. NM sends the list of APs with an assigned ESSID to nm-applet for display in the 'Wireless Networks' menu.

Fix B. Make the 'Connect to the Other Network...' dialog inactive if the list of APs without an assigned ESSID is NULL.

NM is the only network utility that I have seen that does a decent job with hidden APs. Nevertheless, the industry wide recommendation now is to broadcast beacon packets that contain the ESSID. The above fixes do not deal with the case of an AP that has beaconing turned off. I would suggest that NM only support APs with beaconing turned on.

Bill Moss
Professor, Mathematical Sciences
Clemson University

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