Windows networking is a little mysterious. Sometimes, you just have to reboot the machine no matter what control panel or even command line stuff you try.
Linux is much more geeky. But, you have awesome control. You know exactly what is going on.
However, on my Mac, you just don’t worry about it. The wireless works, I changed the static IP on my router for the Mac today. I use one local IP here so I can route stuff in and out of the network for my development. I then with to the Network Preferences to refresh my DHCP lease. Well, crap, its already updated. And, I never lost connection to IRC, IM, email, anything. This is the kind of thing that made me swtich.