Wouldn't it be nice if there existed a tool that would allow you to save various network profiles such that all you had to do was pull up that profile you needed to quickly connect? That would really be a boon to anyone who is constantly switching network connections (for whatever reason). Fortunately there is a tool just for that purpose. The tool? NetCon Manager.
NetCon Manager allows you to create various network connection profiles and then allows you to select which profile you want to connect to from a simple drop-down. And with this tool you can even clear various configurations of your current connection, so no worries about conflicting configurations.
In this article, I will show you how to create and connect to a profile with this handy GUI tool.
The installation of NetCon Manager is simple. All you need to do is download the .exe file from the NetCon Manager download page, double click the downloaded file, and walk through the setup wizard. Once finished, you will find an entry for NetCon Manager in your start menu. Take note: If you are using Windows 7, NetCon Manager might have to be run as Administrator (depending upon your setup). If this is the case you will need to right-click the menu entry and select "Run As" to elevate the permissions.
UsageUsage of NetCon Manager is simple. When the main (and only) window opens (see Figure A) fill out the information for the network profile you need to create and then click Save. You can create as many profiles as you like. Once you have your profiles created you can select one from the drop-down and then click the Load button, which will load the configuration. When the settings are loaded, hit the Change Network Settings! button and your profile will be activated. It really is that simple.
If your profile needs DHCP, just leave the necessary fields blank.
Helpful with DNS
One of the more helpful uses I have found for NetCon Manager is the ability to quickly change DNS servers. There are certain instances when this ability is handy and you want to be able to do it quickly (not have to go in and manually re-enter all DNS information). For this you can create multiple profiles that have similar configurations, only with different DNS. You can have a Profile using the default DNS servers and a Profile using, say, OpenDNS. To quickly switch DNS providers, all you would have to do is select the Profile and then click the Change Network Settings! button to make the change.
If you have one particular network that you use more than any other, open up the settings for that network, make sure Default is checked, and click save. Now that particular network will open up by default.
If you're not sure what your current network configuration is, open up NetCon Manager and click Load current configuration for this network connection to display the information for that connection.
If you don't want to keep the NetCon Manager open all the time, click on NetCon Manager Savings and then select Tray Only from the Display Mode drop-down.Final thoughts
There are plenty of reasons why such a tool would be necessary. It's good to know there is a tool available like NetCon Manager that will enable busy network users to quickly switch between network configurations. It would be nice if NetCon Manager could get wireless profiles as well as VPN profiles rolled into this so you could have all of your network connection needs in one, handy location.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.