Networking

How to manage all of your network connections in one place with NetCon Manager

Jack Wallen recommends NetCon Manager as a convenient place to manage all your network connections with a handy GUI tool. He tells you how to create and connect to a profile in this tip.

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.

Installation

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.

Usage

Usage 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.

Figure A

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.

Helpful tips

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.

About

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.

7 comments
ecomeau
ecomeau

I downloaded the utility from the link and tried to install it but Symantec Endpoint protection jumped in and caught "Trojan.ADH" from being installed - anyone else have the same issue?

jimmer2880
jimmer2880

Does it also adjust proxy settings?

inventor96
inventor96

I use a program that does the same thing as NetCon Manager does that's called NetSetMan. One difference that I can see just from the picture in the article, is that Net Set Man can sit on the System Tray, from that one icon, you can edit profiles, change which profile you want to use, and if you position your mouse over the icon, it will give you the current status (depending on your specified settings). You can read about it/get it here: http://www.netsetman.com/index.php?s=nsm

shah.shaharuddin
shah.shaharuddin

I use ThinkVantage Access Connection. It's really easy to use. It supports a wide variety of connection medium (modem, wired network, broadband device, wireless network, etc), and profiles are switched automatically (once you've saved them). A given location profile can be configured to set your default printer, turn on a VPN, or launch applications by location. I find the advanced configuration options useful in setting up my browser's proxy configuration between different networks. It saves me the trouble to manually change proxy configs. In addition, the tool supports the ability to recognize and connect to ad-hoc wireless networks using a proximity map after scanning for network nodes.

shawn.reinhard
shawn.reinhard

Same here, I think I will pass. I can do the same thing in laptop supplied package or even with a batch file.

seanferd
seanferd

Eusing Free IP Switcher is a vendor-independent solution, which shares some of the feature set of NetCon.

PESK, mbcs, mcse, mcitp, sts
PESK, mbcs, mcse, mcitp, sts

...the IBM StinkPad Craptop? Free IP Switcher gets my vote. I, however, prefer to have many, many network connections in my lists...(I don't really.)

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