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Author Topic: wireless (wifi) network connection manager with saved profiles  (Read 11268 times)
superboyac
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« on: August 20, 2010, 09:27:35 AM »

I'm looking for wifi connection manager software.  Please recommend any that you know of.  There was one I saw on bits du jour a long time ago, and I can't find it anymore.  Can anyone remember?

So, I want an alternative to the network manager that comes either with Windows itself, or the intel one that can also be used.  They both have their pors/cons, but I don't really like either of them.  I want more control, more options, nicer interface.

The only one I've found (and it's free) is this one:
Avanquest Connection Manager

But I'm hoping somebody remembers the one on BDJ, that one looked nice.
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superboyac
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2010, 10:29:08 AM »

Well, I just tried the Avanquest one.  It's ok, but I think there's one out there that is better.  Avanquest is definitely better than the built in Windows manager or the Intel one, however.
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superboyac
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2010, 11:15:21 AM »

Update:
Avanquest is no good.  It can't see some of the wifi connections that the regular Windows one can see.  Also, there is not place to configure certificate properties.  Actually, the certificate thing is a feature I'm very interested in.  Even the Intel one doesn't have a decent certificate management section.  For the Windows one, (and I've ONLY seen it on the Windows one), I can select multiple certificates using checkboxes.  For Intel, i can only choose one at a time.  And Avanquest has nothing, it can't even see that connection.  So goodbye, Avanquest.

We need to find a good wireless network manager.

You may be asking, why not just use the Windows one?  Well, the interface sucks.  Too many windows, too many SMALL windows, too many tabs, the flow is illogical, profiles are not in a prominent location.  Once again, it's mostly interface issues which makes the use experience a pain.
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superboyac
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2010, 04:07:46 PM »

Mobile Net Switch seems to be the best program that I've run across for this purpose:
http://www.mobilenetswitch.com/
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4wd
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2010, 08:10:08 PM »

There's also NetSetMan, both a freeware and paid, (Pro), version.

I've also got MultiNetwork Manager which I believe came from GAOTD, they then offered an update to v9 later for free, which I took them up on. smiley

But being a bit lazy I use neither, it was easier to just change the settings for the adapter and set some shares for the 2-3 places I took my computer.

Addendum: You can still get a free license for MultiNetwork Manager 9 using the instructions here.  Just tried it and it worked.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2010, 08:16:57 PM by 4wd » Logged

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4wd
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2010, 12:22:22 AM »

Found another one hiding on my pc: Eusing Free IP Switcher
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superboyac
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2010, 07:08:14 PM »

Thanks 4wd, I really appreciate it.  I've been away working on an intense project and I feel tired.  I'm going to try all those programs as soon as i get the chance.
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superboyac
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« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2010, 10:28:38 AM »

OK, I have a more specific question.  These managers are ok and I'm happy with what they do.  I'm using Mobile Net Switch and it's good.

But, is there a software that actually takes over the wifi configuration that Windows/Intel uses?  These managers manage the connection, but they still are using the Windows/Intel windows and dialogs for the actual configuration.  I want a whole new interface.  Something easier, something more intuitive, something more simple and elegant.
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4wd
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« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2010, 06:55:45 PM »

But, is there a software that actually takes over the wifi configuration that Windows/Intel uses?  These managers manage the connection, but they still are using the Windows/Intel windows and dialogs for the actual configuration.  I want a whole new interface.  Something easier, something more intuitive, something more simple and elegant.

Well, the easiest one I ever found for WiFi config was................XPs standard Wireless Configuration Control Panel.

I have a few dongles here, everyone of them comes with its own manufacturers' WiFi settings program and everyone of them is a PITA compared to XPs.

My friend rang me up one day asking about how to set up a wireless link he was having trouble with between a PC with Netgear WG111 dongle and a router with WiFi - he'd been trying for over an hour.  I told him to uninstall Netgears settings program and use the XP Wireless Config, he didn't believe me but in less than a minute it was working.

It's not elegant but it is simple, easy and intuitive IMHO.

However, the Wireless Configuration they shipped in Vista was a complete dogs breakfast - it took my friend and I ~30 minutes just to get his laptop to connect to my WEP encrypted router.  It really is crap.

Windows 7 I can't comment on because I haven't used its Wireless Config at all.

EDIT: And now I can comment on W7 - it's as bad as Vista.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 05:57:13 AM by 4wd » Logged

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superboyac
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« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2010, 10:34:22 PM »

^^This is exactly what I'm talking about.  You are right on the money.  I was just talking about this last week with my friend who bought a Mac last year.  He specifically showed me how on a mac, when it detects a new connection, all that happens is a box pops up asking for the wifi password, and BAM you are connected.  That's what I'm talking about.  I have never seen it that easy or even close to it on any PC.  This is why Mac will keep gaining ground.  I don't know how Win7 is, but on XP, it's stupid.  And yes, the XP configuration dialog is probably the best of the bunch out there.  And that's sad because it's pretty bad.  There MUST be a program out there that does this better, I have to believe that...
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4wd
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2010, 06:50:50 PM »

He specifically showed me how on a mac, when it detects a new connection, all that happens is a box pops up asking for the wifi password, and BAM you are connected.

I think the problem, (or good thing - depends on your POV), there is that the Mac has uniform hardware thus the software can be specifically tailored for it.  All the facilities of the hardware are known and can be taken advantage of easily.

Addendum: Try WeFi, from reading the blurb it may do what you want.

Just downloaded/installed while sitting at the local library - when I started it, it found and connected to the library network, (unprotected apart from ID/pwd), without me doing anything.  I'll see what happens when I get home and try it on my WEP WiFi, (after I turn SSID broadcast back on).

To 'Claim a WeSpot', (free access WiFi), you need to be a Facebook weenie, (no offence if you are a Facebook weenie tongue ), because you need a Facebook account to log into your WeFi account from the application - very retarded AFAIAC.

However, if you're not interested in 'Claiming We(e)Spots' then it should still work OK for simple detection/connection.  It can store User/Password logins for WiFi hotspots so that it can auto-connect without you having to enter them.

At home, turned off Hide SSID in the router and the network showed up in seconds in WeFi, double-click on it to connect, prompted for WEP key and then it connected.......pretty easy.

The manager within WeFi is pretty basic, you can add or remove any connections but can't edit them.

Conclusion: It's definitely simpler than XPs Wireless Config and you have access to a database of thousands of WiFi spots that have been detected by others, (location maps included).

Of course MS' network connection stuff gets in the way sometimes - if you go into Wireless Configuration then WeFi turns itself off - so it's not a true replacement.

But I think I'll leave it on the netbook at this point to see how it goes in general.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 11:39:33 PM by 4wd » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2010, 11:53:54 AM »

The Windows 7 wifi connector works great on my ASUS netbook anywhere I go (U.S. and Europe mostly). Click on the status bar icon and a list of available wireless routers comes up. Click on the one you want, and it will ask you for the password if you haven't used that connection before. Once you've entered the password, Win7 retains it in its list of connections and doesn't ask you again - unless the remembered password no longer works with that connection. You can also manage and prioritize the wireless connections from the Network Center. I place my home network first, then my work network, and then other networks (friends, family members, and public networks last). Albeit, I haven't played with certificates.
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superboyac
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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2010, 09:39:42 PM »

Well, surprise surprise...
I was having trouble connecting my ipad at to my work's wifi.  I find out that to do business type wifi stuff, you need to download Apple's "iphone configuration utility".  As soon as I open it, I'm like "OK, this is exactly what I've been looking for in this thread."  How is it that there is no Windows software out there that will do it THIS NICELY??  I've attached a screenshot to show how nicely everything is organized:


I've searched so long for something like this, and I can't find it.  Wefi is pretty good, but still a hack-job in a lot of ways.  Not much thought put into it, and it's pretty gimimicky with it's "Ooh...find hotspots by logging into out network! bullshit."  And it's weird turn-dial.  I mean, it's better than nothing I suppose.

I also think something is out there, but forget finding it through google.  I was hoping someone here would know of one.  Freakin apple...
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2010, 09:53:34 PM »

I was having trouble connecting my ipad at to my work's wifi.  I find out that to do business type wifi stuff, you need to download Apple's "iphone configuration utility".

So in short, what you're telling us is that an as delivered OOB iPad (with no wired connection options available) cannot connect to a secure WiFi network?
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superboyac
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2010, 09:57:09 PM »

I was having trouble connecting my ipad at to my work's wifi.  I find out that to do business type wifi stuff, you need to download Apple's "iphone configuration utility".

So in short, what you're telling us is that an as delivered OOB iPad (with no wired connection options available) cannot connect to a secure WiFi network?
Well, that wasn't really my point, but yes, that's true.  The ipad doesn't have built in features for all that stuff.  And frankly, it was a little bit of a pain to get it working.  I had to download that utility, then get the right .net version, then some errors, try again, restart.  Anyway, it worked finally after 2 hours.  Haha.  Seriously, though, that wasn't the point.  The point was that Apple's utility for this is what I want for my Windows!  Please!
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2010, 10:24:47 PM »

I was having trouble connecting my ipad at to my work's wifi.  I find out that to do business type wifi stuff, you need to download Apple's "iphone configuration utility".

So in short, what you're telling us is that an as delivered OOB iPad (with no wired connection options available) cannot connect to a secure WiFi network?
Well, that wasn't really my point, but yes, that's true.

I know, but I just had to ask.


Quote
The ipad doesn't have built in features for all that stuff.

It doesn't have built-in security stuff? Given that even the dirt cheapest WiFi Routers/WAPs have some form of security enabled by default ... And require a good beating with a claw hammer to make them run "open". That seems like an awful glaring omission. Or does Apple assume that everyone will get an AirPort (and default them to open) so it's all good?

Mind you I have seen HP do things twice as dumb on several occasions, so it happens.

Quote
And frankly, it was a little bit of a pain to get it working.

A subtle incentive to stick to doing it Apple's way? smiley

Quote
I had to download that utility, then get the right .net version, then some errors, try again, restart.  Anyway, it worked finally after 2 hours.
 

.NET running on the iPad?!? Granted we can't really (in fairness) entirely blame that one on Apple ... But I may have nightmares about the very existence of that combo.
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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2010, 12:15:48 AM »

I find this strange, and I know you said you don't like it, but the Intel Proset Wireless has had ALL those features for at least 3 years.  And the interface isn't as busy, so you may not see all the features in your face like that apple app, but they are there and very easy to use.  Indeed, they even provide a wizard to make initial setup a breeze.  That said, the Intel Proset/Wireless software package is the only one I know that does what you ask, but obviously you don't like the setup of that so....I guess I really don't have anything to add.... undecided
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superboyac
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2010, 01:45:16 PM »

I need to make a correction that will negate my previous complaint with the ipad's wifi.

The ipad DOES have secure wifi connectivity features, I just didn't do it right.  It's actually pretty easy, as expected.  if you tap on the correct option, it opens up a dialog with a bunch of secure settings.  Pretty nice.  So I didn't need the configuration tool after all.  i even got the certificate and everything to work.

Also, steel, to respond to the Proset application you mentioned.  I used to use it, and it was ok.  Not great.  But it couldn't do some things that the Windows manager did better, like selecting multiple certificates, which i had to do one time.  But even besides that, it was not organized elegantly.  The application interface elements seem to have been haphazardly put together.  The Apple one I showed above is way better organized.  But all in all, the Proset one is one of the better ones I've seen.  In fact, I could say I haven't seen a better one for Windows yet, but that doesn't mean it's good.

I wonder if this could be done with a coding snack?  All the features that need to be accessed are default windows things, so I'm guessing it's just a matter of creating a nice GUI for it.  No?
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Darwin
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« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2010, 04:20:36 PM »

A tad off topic, but my experience with the Windows 7 wi-fi connection utility/funtionality is the same as phillfri's... I personally have found that the wi-fi utilities in windows have gotten progressively better with the progression from XP-Vista-7.

I do like that the utility that superboyac posted a screecap of is so nicely laid out. All of the settings are visible down the left hand side. In a way, this reminds me of ROUTER settings pages. in windows 7, it has to be said, you have to keep right clicking on network card names and network SSIDs to find "properties". It's second nature to me, so it doesn't bother me, but still...
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superboyac
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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2010, 04:54:45 PM »

Yeah, I'm not familiar with Windows 7 wifi stuff.  I'm glad to hear it's much better since I'll be upgrading to it next year.
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2010, 05:59:32 PM »

in windows 7, it has to be said, you have to keep right clicking on network card names and network SSIDs to find "properties". It's second nature to me, so it doesn't bother me, but still...

Really, When? Maybe if you have some third party crapware installed I can see that happening. But if Win7 is left alone (default) it will just pop up a balloon that says new network found, would you like to connect. Click once (if open WiFi) done zoom. If it's not an open WiFi it will stop to ask for a key, or an auto configuration file, or have you hit the Okie-Dokie button on the newer routers and it'll authenticate itself.

I've had several (XP/Vista/7) customer machines come back months/years later and hop straight back onto our office WiFi without bothering me at all.
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Darwin
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« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2010, 02:02:58 AM »

Ha, no, Stoic Joker - that all came out wrong  embarassed

I meant that tweaking things like IP4 and IP6 properties and so on is more involved. Simply connecting to a network couldn't be easier - exactly as you describe!
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2010, 06:24:02 AM »

I meant that tweaking things like IP4 and IP6 properties and so on is more involved. Simply connecting to a network couldn't be easier - exactly as you describe!

Ah! Okay. I see what you mean then. I too drill into the dialogs so reflexively that I'm no-longer conscious of the actions ... Which makes trying to walk somebody through it on the phone pure hell because I have to stop and think about the steps involved. I think that's part of what I love about DHCP.
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