It seems like different distros use either wpa_supplicant or NetworkManager to handle their wifi connections. It also appears to be the case that these are mutually exclusive and aren't meant to be used together.

Where can I find which distros use which methods to manage their connections?

  • You could kill the processes and see what happens to your WIFI connection.
    – john doe
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 16:51
  • That's a great idea! I hadn't thought of that. That works great if I'm already running the distro - is there a spec sheet somewhere where I can see what ships with a given distro ahead of time? Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 17:06
  • 1
    It looks like if it uses network manager, it also uses wpa_supplicant in the backend. More information can be found on this post: askubuntu.com/questions/1786/…
    – john doe
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 17:10

2 Answers 2


wpa_supplicant is a wireless daemon, it can work independently from the network managers (e,g: NetworkManager, wicd, connman ...)

NetworkManager require a wireless daemon to manage WPA : wpa_supplicant , .


use ps aux to get the computer processes and grep for finding the process

ps aux | grep network

output on Macintosh:

_networkd          206   0.0  0.1  4385868   8148   ??  Ss   Sun02PM   0:24.95 /usr/libexec/symptomsd

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