Yesterday morning on the bus I was talking to Dan and asked if Network Manager could export a signal when it is actively searching for networks. As I mentioned in the previous post and many people pointed out in the comments that we need some feedback when the wireless card is actively looking for new networks. The situation where this happens most often is a laptop resuming from a suspend. When the laptop wakes Network Manager clears it’s AP list and starts scanning channels filling the fresh list. As it finds new networks and fills the AP list NM doesn’t tell the UI (nm-applet) that it is actively searching for new networks. Often the only feedback that the user receives is when NM finds a network it knows and begins to connect to it.
To improve this scenario we need some real user feedback during the scan process. I don’t think using an animated icon to show that NM is scanning is necessary, I think it might actually make things a little too busy.
Currently NM will display this “network disconnected” icon even while the wireless is actively scanning.
Instead lets try to use a simple static icon that indicates wireless is active and working. (something like this, my icons are not to be trusted…)
wireless actively searching
In addition to the icon, it might be good to display some kind of message in the applet menu stating “Scanning for New Networks”
Ideas? Leave them in the comments!