[all variants] Wireless without NetworkManager Applet

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http://ubuntuforums.org – Is there a way of wireless networking without using the Gnome NetworkManager Applet? I want to connect to the Internet using a USB 3G modem and connect to wifi without knowing all of the details of every network. Network manager is pretty good but there seems to be no way of using it without starting an X session and it doesn't play nice with any other networking tool and reminds me too much of a Microsoft application. (HowTos)