Longhorn Networking Stack: Wireless and Bluetooth

Today was the Longhorn Networking Chat, I've organized some of the QA and will do a series of posts on different topics that came up. See the full transcript on Channel 9.

After Ipv6 and the new stack, wireless was on people's minds:

Christian_MSFT (Expert):
Q: what changes are in store for wireless networking within Longhorn?

A: The WIFI stack is being rewritten for Longhorn, to allow for extensibility. This includes a new driver model, that exposes 802.11 concepts rather than trying to just "look like Ethernet". The extensibility features allow harware developers to add support for extra features. There will be a public API for configuration of wireless networks, as well as support for group policy, scripting, and diagnostics.

Christian_MSFT (Expert):
Q: Christian, will 802.11n be supported in nearly betas of LH?

A: The WIFI stack is being rewritten for Longhorn, to allow for extensibility. As such, it will be ready to support 802.11n. However, you will only get 11n support if it is also supported in the NIC and in the driver.

Harish_msft (Expert):
Q: Which improvements are planned for Bluetooth networking in Longhorn? Windows XP does not support a device certification to date.

A: The main investment we are making in LH for BT support is we are opening up the DDI for BT. This will allow 3rd partys to develop profiles on the DDI. We are working to provide support for a critical set of profiles inbox. That is not finalized yet.

Christian_MSFT (Expert):
Q: what about wireless mesh support?

A: We do not plan explicit support for wireless mesh in Longhorn, but the extensibility features will allow addition of wireless mesh in the future, either by Microsoft or by 3rd parties.

Christian_MSFT (Expert):
Q: Can you elaborate on "Centralized scripting support for 802.1x enterprise wireless configuration"?

A: We will support a scripting interface based on netsh, so that every wireless configuration that can be set by the GUI can also be set with scripts. Scripting by itself is not centralized, but if the entreprise has a way to push scripts to every station, then it can use the scripting service for configuration. Note that we will also support group policy.

Harish_msft (Expert):
Q: By opening up the DDI for BT doesnt make it more open to security problems?

A: We are working to ensure that we have a set of guidelines and validation tools that will ensure that security is not compromised as we allow greater extensibility of the stack. We would love for you to get a copy of the specs and the code at WinHEC/DDC and give us your feedback.

gursharan MSFT (Expert):
Q: Q: for Christian - can you describe how setting up secure and safe wireless networks for residential users will work in LH? Will it be easy and transparent and build on Windows Connect Now type technologies?

A: I will answer this instead of Christian since this is in my area of responsibility. One of the directions that we are taking with effortless, secure setup in Longhorn is to extend the flash memory based out-of-band transport of settings to include other mechanisms such as over Ethernet, USB, etc. The solution will be easy and transparent (effortless) and convenient for residential users.

Christian_MSFT (Expert):
Q: Wireless personally the future for a lot of network, can you explain how Wireless will be improve with Longhorn?

A: Our principal focus in Longhorn is to "make WIFI a great experience", both for users and for managers. We are investing a lot on a great diagnostic service, so that users can quickly understand and correct issues with wireless services. EWe are also investing a lot on a configuration and management. Finally, the extensibility of the stack paves the way for future innovation.

Jawad_Khaki_MSFT (Expert):
Q: Jawad - what is low speed wireless (as opposed to high speed wireless) by definition?

A: GPRS is a type of high latency low-speed wireless network. These networks have bandwith in the order of 10's of kbits per second and several multi-hundred milisecond latencies.

Christian_MSFT (Expert):
Q: How will Longhorn deal with lossy or intermitent wireless (CDMA/GSM) connections?

A: We are addressing that in multiple ways. We are updating the TCP stack to incorporate better support for lossy networks. We are also making sure that the system has good support for "multi-homing", so that if there are multiple networks available, a connection is directed to the right one. And we are indeed working on the wireless connections support, to enhance quality...

Christian_MSFT (Expert):
Q: Christian - scripting api available? or only selling out to netsh executions? for the scripting support you have outlined?

A: The netsh scripts calls the wireless autoconfiguration API, which will be publicly available.

Jawad_Khaki_MSFT (Expert):
Q: Will Longhorn support ActiveSync over Bluetooth syncronization and browsing from mobile devices?

A: Can be done today with sp2. User experience can and will be improved.

Christian_MSFT (Expert):
Q: What can you share of ad hoc networks, which is exciting area, but likely will also excite the cracker crowd - seems like MS will need to innovate to make this simple yet safe.

A: We are doing several things. We will make it easy to safely create a secure ad hoc network. We will also make sure that ad hoc networks will not be confused with infrastructure networks, and that administrators can easily control the list of networks to which stations should or should not connect.

Christian_MSFT (Expert):
Q: Regarding adhoc networks, will they be local network only, or can I set up an arbitrary host list that'll make up the adhoc network? E.g. multiple hosts across the internet?

A: Wireless ad hoc networks will by definition be local -- all stations must be in radio range.

Christian_MSFT (Expert):
Q: do you plan to make public the current wireless zero configuration API to manage WIFI networks ? or something at the same abstraction level ?

A: The wireless autoconfiguration client is being rewritten. It will have an open configuration API.

Harish_msft (Expert):
Q: will LH support audio profiles for bluetooth?

A: This is a high priority profile for us. We will support it, but we are still determing whether it will be inbox or not. We will make a decision soon by beta 1.

Henry_MSFT (Expert):
Q: Will Longhorn implement any measures to remedy the performance implications of asymmetric bandwidth connections (e.g. ADSL broadband), e.g. as described in RFC 3449?

A: We are looking at this....We are focusing a lot of perf in lossy, low b/w wireless environments and many of the improvements will help with asymmetric links.

gursharan MSFT (Expert):
Q: In order to make in home wireless networks more secure how will LH address wide open wireless networks

A: We have been addressing this quite aggressively since the release of Windows Connect Now effortless and secure WiFi network setup shipped with XP SP2. Longhorn will provide several other mechanisms for effortless, setup of secure wireless networks as I have already indicated in prior answers. The goal is that all wireless networks become secured since it is easy to do so.

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