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Network infrastructures can always be tweaked. Microsoft Windows .NET adds some enhancements to the way users connect to the network that will be very beneficial to network administrators. This section outlines those changes.

Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)

ATM is a high-speed protocol that allows multiple types of traffic across a network. ATM communication support is now built into Windows .NET Servers. This allows for seamless, high-speed support of voice, data, image, and video.

Fibre Channel support

Up until Windows .NET Server, using fibre has required the installation of third-party hardware and software. With Windows .NET Server, fibre is now built into the operating system if the hardware supports it. With this native support, it allows administrators to merge networking and high-speed I/O into a single technology. This technology currently allows for one-gigabit-per-second data transfer.

Automatic Configuration for Multiple Networks

In the past, if there are laptop users that are moving from network to network, you had to rely on DHCP for network connections. With Windows .NET, users can have multiple manual configurations that will automatically switch as they change from network to network. This helps to provide seamless operations for users without them having to manually enter in network configurations.

Connection Manager Enhancements

In previous versions of Windows, there were different versions of the Connection Manager. For the most part, the Connection Manager has been limited to just setting up Dial-Up Networking. Some of the more recent versions also added in the capability to set up virtual private networks (VPNs). The new version of Connection Manager makes it easier for network administrators to set up their clients. The new version makes it easier to configure automatic proxy settings. One of the problems with previous versions is with laptops: Users having a proxy server in the corporate network and not having a proxy server at home created configuration issues. The new Connection Manager makes it easier for the users to switch back and forth between different profiles. It also makes it easier for users to switch between common dialing locations. The new Connection Manager also has new log files that help with the troubleshooting of problems with Connection Manager. The new Connection Manager also includes a new Connection Manager Administration Kit (CMAK). This helps streamline the building of custom client connections, and allows you to associate them with different profiles—which makes it easier for users to connect to your network.

Built-in Wireless Networking Support

As wireless communications (IEEE 802.11 standards) became more popular, previous versions of Windows required the loading of third-party hardware/software to implement those solutions. The wireless networking functionality is now built into the Windows .NET Server family. This helps reduce the amount of configuration for end users, and makes it possible for users to roam across different wireless networks seamlessly. Security options, which are based on industry standards (Wired Equivalent Privacy algorithms), are built into the protocols included with the Windows .NET Server family. This makes it possible to integrate the Windows .NET standards into existing wireless networks.

IP Version 6 Support

Starting with Windows NT 4.0, Microsoft has supported IPv6. In previous versions additional support had to be loaded to take full advantage of IPv6. With IPv6 coming closer to being implemented, Microsoft has now included full support of IPv6 in the Windows .NET Server family.

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