When the second step is displayed, the Assistant will load a list of GeoIP services. It will select a default service or, if you have used the Assistant before, the last used GeoIP service. The selected service is called to retrieve the current public IP address and associated geographical location and some other metadata. The correctness of the location and the completeness of the metadata differs from service to service. You should select a service that is both quick and quite precise regarding the geographical location. The retrieved geographical location and additional metadata are used as a baseline of your 'unprotected' Internet location. It's therefore essential that you disable you VPN connection in this step. Retrieval of additional metadata is not essential, except when the geographical location of your VPN service is the same as your current physical location.
Experiment a bit and press Continue when you have selected a working GeoIP service.
In the third step, you have to check whether the selected GeoIP service works correctly when you start your VPN connection. The Assistant waits in this step for network changes that indicate a working VPN. So start your VPN connection and wait until the Assistant has retrieved the new geographical location of the public IP address of your VPN connection. Take into account that the location indicated by the VPN service may differ a bit from the actual location. For the correct working of Net Radar it's sufficient that the location differs from the location retrieved in the previous step.
Press Continue when the displayed data looks alright.
Remark: the step described here is skipped when you have selected the 'Just monitor the location of my Internet address' option in the first step.
In step four the results of the two previous steps are evaluated to see if the retrieved data is useable for external VPN monitoring. The results of both steps are displayed in a table. The data is useable when at least one of the listed items in the second step (without VPN) differs from the third step (with VPN). The retrieved IP number is also listed, but cannot be used for VPN monitoring.
You have the option to exclude items for external VPN monitoring by deselecting it. At least one item should remain selected, but more is better. You can for example deselect the geographical location when other distinct metadata is available.
Press Continue when everything is correctly set.
Remark: this step is skipped when you have selected the 'Just monitor the location of my Internet address' option in the first step.
The last step of the Assistant will just save the new configuration and restart the monitoring service with the new configuration. In the last step you have also the option to determine if the app should automatically start with each system start of your Mac. You can also change this option later in the Preferences panel of the app.
Press Done to save all settings and close the Assistant. The Net Radar service will restart using the new settings.
The Preferences panel of Net Radar can be opened by clicking on the 'Preferences' menu item in the menu of the Net Radar item in the status bar. This menu appears when you right-click on the status bar item. The following preferences can be set:
If you want Net Radar to automatically launch at startup of your Mac, then must check the 'Launch at login' checkbox.
You need to enable this setting when your VPN service needs additional time to establish a working connection, after changing the local VPN configuration on your Mac.
When the time period (expressed in seconds) between initiating a new VPN connection and the actual VPN connection is too large, then it's possible that Net Radar keeps thinking that the new connection has failed. When you experience this behaviour, you should enable the 'Refresh location after connecting to VPN' setting and choose an appropriate time period. Start experimenting with the default value and increase the number of seconds when your VPN service needs even more time.
When you start Net Radar for the first time, a default location service will be set and a baseline of the current local connection and geographical location will be generated. This is only possible without an active VPN connection. If a VPN connection is detected during the first start-up, an alert will be shown with a request to temporarily disable the VPN connection. Once Net Radar shows the geographical location of your connection, then the initial setup has been finished. You can then safely start using your VPN.
When the displayed location doesn't match the expected location, or the detection process is very slow, you can try to select another location server. Follow these steps to select another location server:
Selecting another service is only possible when VPN is disabled. The reason is that a new baseline is generated with connection and location metadata is generated when you select a new location service. More info about this can be found in 'Changing preferences', section 'Baseline preferences'.
Net Radar shows always automatically the current connection status, including the VPN status, public IP address and geographical location. The color bar before each information panel indicates the detected connection status:
Net Radar refreshes the displayed connection data automatically when it's in the foreground and a network change is detected, and when it's activated. You can also manually refresh by tapping the Refresh button on top of the view. This will also refresh the map according to the current map settings.
You can adjust some map view settings by tapping on the Map button on top of the view. These settings are a subset of the map settings in the Settings tab view.
To protect your privacy, Net Radar doesn't log anything until you change the Console options in the Settings tab view. The Console section in the Settings tab view contains initially just one setting, 'Report activities'. Enable this setting to start logging all connection changes detected by Net Radar.
The Console view displays all connection changes detected by Net Radar in a list view. The color bar before each list item indicates the general status of the connection when logged:
You can view all logged details of an item by tapping on it. This will open a detail view.
You can delete individual items by swiping from right to left. To delete all current item in the database, tap on the Garbage bin button on top of the view.
The content of the Console can be exported to Numbers, Excel or any other app that's compatible with CSV. To do this, tap on the Share button on top of the view. This will display a sheet with the current available export options. These options depend on the installed apps on your device.
Follow these steps to add the Net Radar Widget to the Today view, or Home screen on iPad, when using iOS 14 or newer.
The following preferences can be set in the Settings tab view of Net Radar:
VPN connections on iPhones and iPads are almost always detected by iOS as a 'transient' connection. This aspect is included in the VPN connection validation by Net Radar. Disable this setting to exclude it from the VPN validation.
Shows the available location services and the current active service. Follow these steps to select another location server:
The following settings can be set in the Net Radar section of the Settings app of iOS:
The number of things that you have to take into account when securing your Internet connection depends on what you want to achieve. For example, if you only want to use a servcie like Netflix without region restrictions, then it's sufficient to a public IP address that's associated with an unrestricted region. But if you want to become 'invisible' for anyone, then there a lot of more concerns to address.
Almost all VPN services will hide your real Internet address by masking it with an anonymous Internet address provided by the VPN service. This makes it harder for websites and Internet services to track your web activities and to discover your real geographical location. Some VPN providers like IPVanish offer an option to periodically change the anonymous Internet address, making it even more difficult to track your location.
Net Radar checks the Internet address masking feature after each new VPN connection.
Almost all VPN services will encrypt all data that pass their connections. This will protect you from criminals that try to intercept and steal your data, under condition that a cryptographically secure algorithm is being used. Todays standards are in most cases based on the OpenVPN protocol using 256-bit encryption level. This protocol combines good performance with a good level of security.
Most DNS servers log when and where you go online. For example, Google DNS logs IP address, websites visited, geolocation data. It's therefore wise to choose a VPN service that uses their own DNS services.Check DNS Leakage
Test to ensure that your DNS requests are not leaking out of the VPN tunnel.
Not all VPN service providers are ready for IPv6 support. When IPv6 handling is ignored by your VPN service, chances are high that you expose an unmasked IPv6 address to the public Internet. You should either choose a VPN service that handles IPv6 correctly, or just simply disable IPv6 support for Internet traffic on your Mac. That can be done by selecting the 'Only Link Local' option for the IPv6 setting in the Advanced Network preferences of the network connection that you use for Internet access (Wifi, UTP or both).Check IPv6 Leakage
Test to ensure that your machine is not able to submit requests to IPv6 Networks.
There are a lot of other things to take into account when dealing with Internet security. Here is a short list of some interesting sources:
21 tips, tricks and shortcuts to help you stay anonymous online
IPv6 security vulnerability pokes holes in VPN providers' claims
All VPN services indicate if they are active or not. You use Net Radar to check if the indicated status is correct, and also to check if one of the most essential features of a VPN service, hiding your real Internet connection, is working or not. But what if you want to check the correct working of Net Radar itself? Then you can use the following GeoIP websites that will tell you your current IP address plus the associated geographical location, sometimes along with some additional metadata.
If the data displayed by the GeoIP website are identical to Net Radar then everything works as expected. If it's not identical, and Net Radar is not out of sync (thinking that you're connected to a VPN service while you're not, or the other way around), then it can be useful to rerun the Net Radar Setup Assistant, to select another GeoIP service.