Netsh is a command-line utility for configuring and monitoring the status of various network communication server roles and components on Windows Server computers. It helps users interact with the networking stack in Windows and control various network aspects, including Wi-Fi.
This article will demonstrate the usage of netsh commands for managing wireless networks in Windows 11. While some basic settings and functionalities can be managed using the Windows Network or the Control Panel, some tasks may require alternative steps. For such situations, Windows 11 users can use the netsh CLI to manage Wi-Fi settings and configurations.
How to Manage Wi-Fi Networks in Windows 11
To manage Wi-Fi networks in Windows 11, you first need to open the command prompt. Windows 11 provides two ways to use the netsh commands. You can either open the command prompt or netsh run command to initiate the netsh commands for wireless management.
The only difference between these two approaches is that you’ll have to use “netsh” before every command when using the command prompt.
Follow these steps to open the netsh run command.
- Click the search icon in the taskbar and enter “netsh” (without quotation marks) in the search box.
- Select Run as administrator, and the netsh command prompt will open.
To start managing Wi-Fi settings, you’ll want to get a clear view of the wireless profiles in Windows.
To do this, run the following netsh command to show the wireless network profiles.
wlan show profiles
If you’re using the command prompt, run the following command:
netsh wlan show profiles
Now that you know how to view saved network profiles using the netsh command, let’s explore other commands to manage wireless networks in Windows 11.
Connect to the Wireless Network
To connect to the wireless network in Windows 11, run the following command:
wlan connect ssid=YOUR-WIFI-SSID name=PROFILE-NAME
Find the Security Key of the Network
If you want to retrieve the security key of your network, run this command:
wlan show profiles name=profile name key=clear
Check Network Interface Status
Here’s the command to check the network interface status of your wireless network:
interface show interface
Check All Available Wireless Connections
Run the following command to check all the available Wi-Fi connections:
wlan show networks
Disconnect from the Connected Wireless Device
Run the following command to disconnected from the wireless device:
Delete Wi-Fi Network Profiles
To delete a network profile, you can run the following command:
wlan delete profile name=profile name
Analyze the Wireless Network Report
To analyze the wireless network report, you’ll need to run this command from the command prompt with administrator privileges:
Netsh wlan show wlanreport
Import and Export Wi-Fi Network Files
You can’t modify network profiles in Windows directly. However, the wireless settings allow you to export a profile, make changes to its XML file, and then import it back to modify the profile settings without directly modifying the profile itself.
Export Wireless Network Files
Here’s the command to export wireless network files:
wlan export profile name=profile name
Import Wireless Network Files
You can then import them back in with this command:
wlan add profile filename=path_and_filename.xml interface=interface-name
Stop Automatically Connecting to a Wi-Fi Network
Here’s the command to stop a device from automatically connecting to a network:
wlan set profileparameter name=profile name connectionmode=manual
Change the Priority of Wi-Fi Networks
This command can rearrange connection priorities:
wlan set profileorder name=profile name interface=interface_name priority=1
How to Create an Ad Hoc Wi-Fi Connection in Windows 11
A wireless ad hoc network (WANET) is a local area network (LAN) that can be established without traditional network infrastructure equipment such as a wireless access point or a router. It allows multiple wireless devices connecting each other instantly.
Windows 7, 8, 10, and 11 enable you to create WANETs. They are usually created temporarily to share files, presentations, or an internet connection among multiple devices. However, saving an ad hoc network profile for frequent use is also possible.
For this, your computer or laptop should have a wireless network adapter installed to create or join a WANET. Also, WANETs are wireless only, and devices connected to the network must be within 30 feet of range.
There are different ways to set up an ad hoc network in Windows 11. You can either create an ad hoc network through the Windows control panel or use the command prompt to run netsh commands.
Here, we will use the command prompt to create an ad hoc network on Windows 11.
Set the Ad Hoc Connection
Open the command prompt with administrator privilege and type the following command to configure your ad hoc network:
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=network_name key=password
Replace network_name with your desired ad hoc network and password with a secure password.
Start the Network
Once the network is created, run the following command to start the network:
netsh wlan start hostednetwork
Stop the Network
To stop the ad hoc network, run the following command:
netsh wlan stop hostednetwork
Retrieve the Network
You can get the details of your ad hoc network by running the following command:
netsh wlan show hostednetwork
Modify the Network Details
To change the network details of the hosted wireless network, you can run this command:
netsh wlan set hostednetwork parameter parameter_name value
Modify the Hosted Wireless Network’s Password
Run the following command to change the password of your wireless hosted network:
netsh wlan set hostednetwork key=new_password
If you want to check the new password, use this command for retrieving the wireless-hosted network mentioned above.
netsh wlan show profile name="Wi-Fi-Profile" key=clear
To enable internet access for users on this network via the Wireless Hosted Network, activate Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) first.
3 Top Tools for Network Configuration Management in Windows
Network configuration involves managing network settings, policies, and controls for devices connected to the network, as well as installing software and sharing internet connectivity.
In addition, network configuration management involves keeping track of any changes made to the configuration that may pose a security risk, system failure, or operational disruption. Network administrators use specialized software for network configuration management to mitigate these risks and to make bulk changes efficiently while minimizing the likelihood of errors.
Here are three of the top tools for network configuration management in Windows.
1. SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager
Best for customizability
SolarWinds Network Configuration Manager (NCM) is a very useful network configuration management tool for network administrators that enhances network reliability and security while saving time. The software manages changes, configurations, and compliance for various network devices from industry-leading manufacturers such as Cisco, HP, Dell, F5, Rukus, and others.
It’s an industry-leading solution for bulk configurations in mid-to-large businesses. It automates configuration backup and restores points, has multi-vendor capabilities, and has an automated alert system.
Subscription-based pricing for SolarWinds NCM starts at $1,894, with a perpetual license starting at $3,671. You can get a quote for your particular use case. Subscription and perpetual licensing are available with a 30-day free trial option.
● Decreased troubleshooting time
● Software and hardware inventory tracking
● Easy-to-use dashboard
● Availability of audit module highlighting security compliance
● Administrators may face a learning curve
● High cost compared to other tools
2. ManageEngine NCM
Best for ease of use
ManageEngine NCM provides a comprehensive set of basic and advanced features that cater to organizations’ NCM needs. This tool facilitates efficient management of network devices and configurations while offering capabilities such as automated configuration backup, compliance management, and enhanced network security.
With its robust reporting capabilities, the tool helps companies generate insightful reports on changes, compliances, and inventory. Moreover, the monitoring and assessment capabilities of this tool allow businesses to track current changes, predict future changes, and prevent unexpected changes in the future.
There is a free personal-use edition for two devices, a professional edition starting at $595 for 10 devices, and an enterprise edition starting at $8,395 for 250 devices. Custom-designed quoting options are available with a 30-day free trial period.
● Automated configuration backup is available
● Automatic scanning to detect unauthorized changes made
● Scalable platform
● Enhanced network stability
● The free version is limited to two devices only
3. Kiwi CatTools
Best for small businesses
SolarWinds Kiwi CatTools is a cost-effective yet robust network automation and configuration management tool designed to cater to the needs of small businesses. This tool provides a range of features that simplify device management, including a built-in Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) server for scheduling backups, automated configuration change alerts and reports for analysis, and bulk configuration change capabilities that can be easily performed or reversed. Kiwi CatTools also offers the convenience of automated settings for a hassle-free experience.
In addition to these key features, Kiwi CatTools generates comprehensive HTML and text-based reports on basic configuration changes related to port, MAC, ARP, and other critical network parameters. These reports can be directly emailed to key stakeholders, facilitating streamlined communication and decision-making processes.
A perpetual license costs $947 for unlimited devices after a 14-day trial.
● Reduced network downtime
● Execute bulk configuration reports
● Automated network backup
● Enhanced security
● Limited scripting capability
● Very basic UI
Bottom Line: Using Netsh Commands for Wi-Fi Management in Windows 11
Effective wireless network management is crucial for ensuring seamless connectivity and optimal performance of devices. With netsh commands, Windows 11 users can easily troubleshoot and manage their wireless network connections.
For IT departments needing greater depth and granularity, NCM tools like ManageEngine NCM and SolarWinds NCM provide powerful features that simplify device management, automate configuration changes, and generate detailed reports for analysis.
Take a deep dive into configuration management with our complete guide.