DNS entries can often be the primary suspect on a slow network connection. From routers to individual machines, DNS entries are typically received via DHCP, and if you’re mobile with your laptop, you never know if the DNS entries you receive will be working, sort-of-working, or not working. To avoid this, you can use OpenDNS. OpenDNS was created by David Ulevitch in 2006 to provide solid DNS servers to consumers and businesses instead of being stuck with the less-than-effective DNS servers provided by your ISP.

But OpenDNS doesn’t stop with domain name service services. OpenDNS also offers a phishing filter, domain blocking, and typo correction. But the most important service offered by OpenDSN is their namesake — DNS.

Do not be confused by the name; OpenDNS is not an open source software app or service. OpenDNS gets a portion of its revenue with advertising on an OpenDNS server when an unknown URL is directed to OpenDNS. You may have come across one of these pages. You enter an address only to come to a site that lists possible existing URLs — instead of the Page Load Error page displayed by your browser. This is OpenDNS.

But let’s get to the point — DNS. Setting up Vista to use OpenDNS is simple. Let’s see just how simple.

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Configuring for OpenDNS

Let’s assume you are using a laptop that gets its IP address and gateway via DHCP but you often have problems with the DNS entries you receive from one access point or another. The first thing you need to do is click on the Star button (or “Orb” as some call it) and then enter ncpa.cpl in the search text area (you can just start typing as soon as the Start Menu appears — see Figure A).

Figure A

This is nothing more than a shortcut to bring up the Network Connections window.

Once the Network Connections window is open (Figure B) you will want to select your current active network connection.

Figure B

Right-clicking will open the necessary menu to get to the connection properties.

When the new menu opens, select Properties, which will open the Wireless Network Connection Properties window (Figure C).

Figure C

You will want to select TCP/IP v4.

Once you select TCP/IP v4, click the Properties button to open up the TCP/IP v4 Properties window (Figure D). This is where you will take care of the actual configuration.

Figure D

One option here will be changed.

From the TCP/IP window, select Use the Following DNS Server Addresses and enter the following:

Now click OK on the TCP/IP Properties window and then click Close on the Wireless Network Connection Properties window. The changes should automatically take effect. And by configuring OpenDNS in this manner, no matter which network you connect to, your DNS entries will always come from the same reliable OpenDNS entries. So networking should be smooth sailing.

Final thoughts

OpenDNS is a very reliable solution to the often-confounding problem of slow DNS servers. And since ISP DNS servers can’t always be relied upon, why not choose a solid, never-changing solution? OpenDNS is a very intelligent DNS configuration for anyone, especially those with mobile solutions who must count on speedy connections but cannot always count on having speedy DNS servers.

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