Introduction to Wireless Networking in Windows XP Professional
- What's Microsoft Been Doing on Wireless Protocols?
- Introducing Wireless Technologies Supported by Windows XP Professional and Home Operating Systems
- Comparing Wireless Technologies
The onslaught of wireless products in the last two years has had a strong positive effect on the development plans of software companies, many of which are enabling their platforms and applications to support the latest wireless standards. Clearly an early market dynamic for Microsoft to contend with the release of Windows XP Professional, there are two dominant networking standards (802.11b and Home RF) that Microsoft will need to equally address to make Windows XP Professional and Windows XP Home successful operating systems at their product launch.
What's Microsoft Been Doing on Wireless Protocols?
Having long-standing relationships with many of the 802.11 NIC vendors from the device driver work done on previous operating systems, Microsoft is working to improve the roaming experience by automating the process of configuring the NIC to associate with an available network. The wireless NIC and its NDIS drivers need to support new NDIS Object Identifiers (OIDs) used for the querying and setting of device and driver behavior. The NIC will scan for available networks and pass those to Windows XP. Windows XP has a Wireless Zero Configuration service that then takes care of configuring the NIC with an available network.
In the case where there are two networks covering the same area, the user can configure a preferred network order, and the machine will try each network in order until it finds an active one. It is even possible to limit association to only the configured, preferred networks.
If no 802.11 networks are found nearby, Windows XP will configure the NIC to use ad hoc networking mode. It is possible for the user to configure the wireless NIC to either disable or be forced into ad hoc mode.
These zero-configuration enhancements are integrated with the security enhancements so that if authentication fails, another network will be located to attempt association with.