Several studies in the last decade have pointed out that many devices, such as computers, are often left powered on even when idle, just to make them available and reachable on the network, leading to large energy waste. The concept of network connectivity proxy (NCP) has been proposed as an effective means to improve energy efficiency. It impersonates the presence of networked devices that are temporally unavailable, by carrying out background networking routines on their behalf. Hence, idle devices could be put into low-power states and save energy. Several architectural alternatives and the applicability of this concept to different protocols and applications have been investigated. However, there is no clear understanding of the limitations and issues of this approach in current networking scenarios. This paper extends the knowledge about the NCP by defining an extended set of tasks that the NCP can carry out, by introducing a suitable communication interface to control NCP operation, and by designing, implementing, and evaluating a functional prototype.