Most of the mac users probably have mobile macs and tend to change the working environment quite often. This also involves switching the networking environment in most cases.
Let’s say you have a wireless lan at home with automatic address assignment. At the office you have wireless lan with fixed addresses and wired lan with fixed addresses too. You probably don’t want to go to SystemPreferences and Network Settings every morning and evening to adopt your network configuration to your current location. An easy mechanism to switch between different sets of network settings is built-in to MacOS X. It’s called “Locations” (“Umgebung” in german) and is located directly in the Apple menu item. A location profile combines specific settings for every networking device enabled for this profile.
If you doesn’t have configured any profiles by now you have one standard profile by default called “Automatic”. This profile contains automatic settings for every networking device and should enable you to connect to any network which offers automatic configuration informations.
If you like to create a new location profile you can open the system preferences right from the locations menu.
In the top of the preferences window you can also choose between different location profiles. On the left side you can see all available network devices for the current location profile.
To create a new profile click in the drawer for the locations and choose “edit locations”.
In the new window you can add, substract or clone location profiles. These are just the names of the profiles. The device settings are made in the normal network preferences window.
Make sure the desired location profile is selected in the top of the network preferences window before changing any device settings. You can change settings in the default profile as well. But you shouldn’t do that so you have a profile you can default to when you come to new and unknown networking locations.
You can now edit the settings for every device in the current profile. Mostly you will only change the device you like to have specific settings in the current location.
After applying the settings they are instantly available without rebooting. From now on you can switch to this new profile by just 2 clicks.