In Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions, Media Center will be available to all. Xbox 360 has integrated Media Center Extender (MCX) functionality, and a lineup of additional MCX devices will be comming soon from a number of partners, making it simple to extend TV (standard and high definition), videos, music, pictures, and rich web content (via Online Spotlight), from your Windows Vista PC to every television in the home; wired or wirelessly. The latter of connectivity methods (wireless) poses a number of headaches for consumers; especially 802.11g which operates in the 2.4GHz spectrum. Given that Media Center and myriad Media Center Extenders will be easily attainable when Vista releases, the core networking team has invested heavily in diagnostics to ensure users can take action whenever possible. The top issues impacting audio/video (AV) streaming over wireless networks are exposed through the Network Performance Tuner, which is integral to the MCX experience.
I previously blogged about connecting your digital home, where I discussed a number (not all) of common problems faced when using WiFi to connect media extenders, but didn’t go into any detail about what is technically required from vendors to enable diagnosing these situations such that users can take action. During WinHEC this year, I’ll be doing a session that clearly highlights each of these top issues, the impact to users, and what vendors must support in their access points and NIC drivers to ensure diagnosability. This session will be a lot of fun, so I look forward to seeing everyone. Additionally, Mathias Jourdain (who has blogged a number of times about QoS topics) and I will be joining a number of folks from the core networking team in an “Ask the Experts” session to dive deep on any questions you have related to QoS and Windows Networking in general.
– Gabe Frost