While I love me some Linux, in particularly Ubuntu, the networking control leaves much to be desired. More specficially, the GNOME Network Manager. In the new beta of Ubuntu Netbook Remix, 9.10 Karmic Koala, the network manager looks pretty sweet, but only looks were tackled. Still some of the same problems in the past. Namely, no way to really click on things to make the network connect. Plus I struggle with switching protocols.
To alleviate this, I began to use WICD (read: wicked) a few years ago. As you can see in the image, the interface gives a lot of info, and having the preferences really allows for some finetuning of your network settings. Plus, it just seems to work so much better.
You can find WICD here: http://wicd.sourceforge.net