Windows Vista is supposed to have included a number of new
networking features designed to make it faster, more robust, easier to manage
and safer. Now, how many of these functions and features would you encounter
readily and how do they affect the productivity of your users? In this article,
we'll look at these aspects with focus on both wired and wireless worlds. We
are looking at how
One of the first things you'd notice when you fire up the network center (or the network list applet) is that there seem to be more than one configured network on your system, even if you have just one Ethernet adapter. Before we go ahead to see what these are, let's get a couple of concepts cleared. In Win XP, after you've browsed to a couple of file shares, you'll notice shortcuts to them appear in your 'My Network Places' folder. Now, that happens with
In addition to this,
|While it is easy to connect to WLANs, it does not let you connect simultaneously to more than one WLAN|
Some of these profiles are classified under the managed or
This happens because of
The Win XP's ability to create and use multiple wireless
There is already a download available for Win XP called
that lets users of Win XP connect simultaneously to several wireless networks.
We expected a similar functionality in
A small issue we noticed with our wireless connections
especially is its penchant frequently disconnecting from even strong networks.
We presume that this happens because of the traffic it generates due to active
polling for 'Internet connectivity detection' on the wireless channel or
because this is still a beta. Because of this, when you open some networking
related virtual folders where wireless is a part, the system will hang
frequently while connections are broken and re-established. Several times to
finish configuration actions, we had to disable the wireless adapter, make the
changes and re-enable to get to the end.
|Use the network profiles feature to segregate your connections and keep the traffic between them different for better security|
As per what's documented on the Microsoft TechNet website, improvements have been made to the way TCP/IP works. The stack has been rewritten for better performance in high-latency and high-loss environments. It has the ability to recognize spurious and duplicate packets and acknowledge them selectively, thereby saving on bandwidth as well as decreasing required response times to legitimate packets. Better detection of network errors, time outs and the ability to check if a designated gateway is up or down (using ARP messages) is also part of the new protocol package. We will carry an update later on how well this works in a typical deployment scenario.
|Vista lets you create new VPN connections easily. But you can't locate the created connection later to connect to this resource|
What's new in IPv6
As with improvements in the IPv4 layer, the IPv6 stack has also been rewritten. Now, IPv6 is everywhere in Windows, and all the interfaces that let you manage aspects of the network-where you could traditionally only manage IPv4 information-you can now manage IPv6 information as well. The protocol is also installed and enabled by default on the system, and setup to receive automatic IP address allocation.
Teredo, the technology that enables IPv6 communications
over IPv4 and NAT'ed connections is another component that's installed and
enabled by default in
The Windows Firewall that's a part of Vista includes
support to filter IPv6 traffic as well.IPv6 interface IDs if assigned in
sequence can open up a potential gateway for attack once one or two IPv6 enabled
systems on your network have been compromised, since the attacker may be able to
guess other interface IDs on your network and compromise those systems as well.
The way out is to have non-sequential interface IDs across the LAN. This is
The current version of the 'Repair' option previously available on network connection items comes labeled 'Diagnose'. Selecting this invokes a diagnostic (at present users have no way of knowing what it is checking from the displayed UI) that scans for what problems there might be. Conditions checked include: IP address, gateway status, incorrect DNS settings, what required ports are in use, status of media (Ethernet cables, etc) connections and if sufficient memory is available.
Once the problem has been detected,
|Vista can map how your system is connected to the LAN and the Internet. Multiple routes out to the networks are also shown|
Creating a VPN connection seems pretty straight forward. All you need to do is open the Network Center and click on the Create New link on the left and follow the steps after selecting 'Create a VPN Connection' from the first screen. But, after that there seems to be no way at the present time to find this connection you created and actually connect to it. In Win XP, one would find the connection easily under the Network Connections folder. In
There are a few new features in
Local devices such as disk drives, printers and serial
ports were already usable;
Now, even though you can share your clipboard with the
remote system, you will find that a number of times, you cannot copy or paste
files between the two systems. To resolve this, you need to also share the local
drive (with the remote system) that contains your temporary folder. This folder
is defined in the TEMP, TMP or USERPROFILE environment variables or is taken to
Now, you may not want to share out a sensitive drive, so it
is advisable to locate your temporary folder on a separate partition and share
that out instead. With all these levels of control, we missed the ability that
would let you share out only particular drives or folders with the remote
system, instead of the whole drive as happens.
Next time, we shall examine the ways in which
Sujay V Sarma