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NetCheck
app for Android, Linux, Mac & Windows

Introduction

The hapless Modi government wants us to hop on to the digital age and switch to a cashless economy. While one-sixth of Indians are illiterate and most Indians are uncomfortable with the use of a smartphone, the rest of us who are willing to use the Net are plagued by unreliable connectivity. It is somewhat like a Mexican standoff!

Unlike many Indians, I do not use smartphones for any kind of financial transactions. I have a Linux desktop system for that. However, my DSL connection is extremely unstable. Usually, after I submit the login password or enter the OTP on a banking web page, the connections drops and I get logged out. Even if the Net connection is fine, disturbances in the electrical supply trips the modem. On my mobile too, which I use only for news and navigation, the data connection is never always-on.

Hence, I wrote this app NetCheck and decided to share it with anyone interested in such a solution.

NetCheck

NetCheck is a free app for monitoring Internet connectivity. NetCheck provides notifications when the Internet connection drops and is restored. NetCheck does this by regularly pinging (sending HEAD requests to) a high-availability website (customizable) at regular intervals. If the site becomes unreachable or becomes reachable after a break, the app notifies you by changing its icon, playing audio ringtones and/or displaying popup notifications. Like all my apps, NetCheck is unobtrusive and annoyances-free.

NetCheck in Linux
The desktop version of NetCheck in Linux

NetCheck for the desktop is a Java software and the same executable works in Windows or Mac in the same way as it does in Linux.

NetCheck in Windows
The desktop version of NetCheck in Windows

As the popups and sound notifications can become annoying, they can be turned off using special parameters in the Command Prompt or to shortcut/launcher command. For example:

java -jar netcheck.jar noaudio 
java -jar netcheck.jar nopopup
java -jar netcheck.jar noaudio nopopup

When you turn off both sound and popups, the color of the icon will continue to function as the change indicator.

The full syntax is as follows:

java -jar netcheck.jar [ping-URL] [ping-interval] [nopopup] [noaudio]

The Android version of NetCheck starts a background service, which runs unobtrusively. The service plays audio ring tones and shows notifications when the Net connections goes down or comes back up.

NetCheck in Android

The mobile version of NetCheck in Android

Download & Installation

On Linux, Mac and Windows, you need to have OpenJDK or Oracle Java SE already installed. You can then create a desktop shortcut or launcher with a command such as this to run the program. You may want to first try this in a terminal prompt (Command Prompt or cmd.exe in Windows) first. The working directory should be the directory where the netcheck.jar is or you may have to copy the full path of the jar file in the command.

In Linux, you might want to run it with the nohup command to prevent the JAR from being killed when you exit the terminal.

nohup java -jar /opt/NetCheck/netcheck.jar

To prevent nohup from littering, you run it from the `/tmp` directory.

cd /tmp && nohup java -jar /opt/NetCheck/netcheck.jar

Running netcheck.jar from a directory in /opt ensures that the JAR file does not get deleted easily.

In Windows, you can create a shortcut with a command like this.

"C:\Program Files\Oracle\Java\jre_1_6_0\javaw.exe" -jar d:\MyInstalls\NetCheck\netcheck.jar noaudio nopopup

If you run the JAR file with java.exe, it will open a terminal window that will stay on until you exit NetCheck from the tray. When you run it with javaw.exe, no terminal will be opened.

When you run NetCheck for the first time, it copies files named netcheck-windows-icon.ico and netcheck-linux-icon.png in the working directory. You can use it as an icon for your Windows program shortcut or Linux application launcher.

Download netcheck.jar
for Linux/Windows/Mac (0.05 MB)

On Android, you will have to first enable installation of non-store apps from the Android menu:

You can then run the APK installer. After completing the installation, you should disable the above setting.

Download netcheck.apk
for Android 0.13 MB

Source Code

The source code of an early version of this software has been released as public-domain software. You can get them from: