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Windows 8's New Ways to Manage Wireless, Bandwidth

By - Source: B8 Blog | B 19 comments

Metro interface to feature toggles for wireless devices.

Windows 8 Mobile Networks

Windows 8 will be a new animal that merges mobile design thinking with that of the traditional PC computing. The clear sign of this is the Metro design that's currently being used in Windows Phone – and to a smaller extent in the latest Xbox 360 dashboard.

The latest Windows 8 innovation shared through the B8 blog is about how the next big Microsoft release will handle wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi and mobile broadband. Specifically, Windows 8 will attempt to make connectivity as easy and as seamless as possible.

While Wi-Fi options are built into current versions of Windows natively, Windows 8 will attempt to integrate mobile broadband functionality into the OS without having to resort to specialized applications from the hardware provider.

Billy Anders, a group program manager on Microsoft's devices and networking team, explained, "We wanted to eliminate the guesswork in locating and installing device drivers for mobile broadband. We did this by working with our mobile operator and mobile broadband hardware partners across the industry, designing a hardware specification that device makers can incorporate into their device hardware. In Windows 8, we developed an in-box mobile broadband class driver that works with all of these devices and eliminates your need for additional device driver software. You just plug in the device and connect. The driver stays up to date via Windows Update, ensuring you have a reliable mobile broadband experience."

The integration of mobile broadband and Wi-Fi also means that Windows 8 will be smart enough to disable the mobile connection when a remembered Wi-Fi network is in range.

Microsoft also realizes that some users have to deal with data caps – particularly for those on mobile broadband – and will restrict the data usage accordingly. For example, while on mobile broadband Windows Update will not download non-critical updates in the background and can choose to display lower quality images to conserve bandwidth.

"We also want Windows applications to behave well on metered networks, so we’ve provided a new set of developer APIs within the ConnectionCost class of the Windows.Networking.Connectivity namespace," explained Anders. "If you are an application developer, we encourage you to leverage these APIs and adapt the behavior of your app, such as allowing a low-definition vs. high-definition video stream, or a header-only vs. full-sync of email, depending on the network type. We believe that this adaptive behavior is critical, as it results in actual cost savings for end users. All Metro style apps in the Windows Store must implement these APIs if they use the network."

Of course, users can also monitor their usage themselves as built into the display options is a bandwidth meter. Windows Task Manager itself can even break this down with more granularity, as seen in the image below.

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Display 19 Comments.
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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    AndrewMD , January 25, 2012 1:16 PM
    This may be one of the best Windows release and a big leap forward from when Windows 95 hit the scene so long ago.

    Look forward to the release of this OS.
Other Comments
  • -3 Hide
    fakie , January 25, 2012 12:44 PM
    I is like this very much
  • 12 Hide
    AndrewMD , January 25, 2012 1:16 PM
    This may be one of the best Windows release and a big leap forward from when Windows 95 hit the scene so long ago.

    Look forward to the release of this OS.
  • 0 Hide
    Blues_wolf , January 25, 2012 1:28 PM
    I don't know, I might wait for Windows 9. Microsoft has that weird cycle when they launch a buggy OS to test new things (95, Me, Vista) and a more stable OS with the things that worked (98, XP, 7)
  • 9 Hide
    friskiest , January 25, 2012 1:49 PM
    This bandwidth saving feature of Windows 8 will be a boon to mobile users,.
  • -8 Hide
    alterecho , January 25, 2012 1:56 PM
    Nice. I've seen the Mac already do this.
  • 3 Hide
    freggo , January 25, 2012 1:57 PM
    The WIFI aspect reads well; let's hope the actual integration works as advertised.
    Still, I can not help but shudder at the GUI. Those square boxed will not find a home on my desktop.
    It just looks plain ugly.
  • -5 Hide
    friskiest , January 25, 2012 1:58 PM
    ^^ Yah,... "Mac does it".... big deal
  • 1 Hide
    blingbling , January 25, 2012 2:00 PM
    friskiestThis bandwidth saving feature of Windows 8 will be a boon to mobile users,.

    OK So, I didn't know what 'boon' meant. Now that I know its a thumbs up for you.
  • -5 Hide
    andywork78 , January 25, 2012 2:01 PM
    wow software really can change does...

    I though hardware change is best way to get better wireless...
  • 5 Hide
    stingray71 , January 25, 2012 2:04 PM
    Impressive, wasn't giving W8 much thought until now. If this much thought/work went into wifi/broadband connectivity, I can only imagine what the rest of OS looks like.

    With 4G becoming more popular, I can see a lot more folks going with 4g dongle for their mobile internet. This will be very useful.
  • -3 Hide
    festa_freak , January 25, 2012 2:57 PM
    Maybe we will finally have something to throttle steam's download speed.
  • 1 Hide
    Catsrules , January 25, 2012 5:47 PM
    The task manager looks sweet.
  • 0 Hide
    jacobdrj , January 25, 2012 6:06 PM
    Blues_wolfI don't know, I might wait for Windows 9. Microsoft has that weird cycle when they launch a buggy OS to test new things (95, Me, Vista) and a more stable OS with the things that worked (98, XP, 7)

    Windows 2000 was freggin awesome... IMHO, XP was a downgrade until SP2.
  • 0 Hide
    TeraMedia , January 25, 2012 6:09 PM
    So I saw WiFi, Bluetooth, and Mobile Broadband... any bets as to whether they also remembered WiDi, or whatever that computer-to-TV technology is called?
  • -4 Hide
    memadmax , January 25, 2012 6:37 PM
    Why can't they just put this crap in Win7?

    I hate the desktop and metro in Win8, for the first day just closing a program was a pain........ even the "control panel" via the desktop........

    Keep it simple, stupid.......
  • 3 Hide
    iLLz , January 25, 2012 6:58 PM
    Wow the thought that went into this is amazing. Win 8 is shaping up to be absolutely awesome. Can't wait.
  • 1 Hide
    del35 , January 25, 2012 9:05 PM
    Looking forward to Windows 8. iCrap has made me gone from disliking Windows to loving it.
  • 0 Hide
    nb2000nb , January 26, 2012 4:00 AM
    Looks awesome. Can't wait for Windows 8 on an Intel Ultrabook / tablet.
    I can't stand current tablets / tablet OSes. I need a full-blown OS on capable hardware!

    How do I zip up files and email them? How do I remote into my desktop with ease? How do I play real games? How do I develop on the go? How do I install/create WHATEVER PROGRAM I WANT FROM WHOEVER/WHEREVER I WANT?
    Give me a real OS!

    BTW, if you don't like a feature in Windows, disable it. You pretty much have full control!
    Metro can be disabled (at least on the Desktop/Laptop preview release)
    There's still several months before release...
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 1, 2012 2:12 AM
    Win 2000 was awesome, true, but it was a totally different product line, remember? Win2k was an updated version of NT, which was a separate product line from the consumer versions. The poster above is still right - MS has a habit of launching one crap product with a lot of buggy new features, followed by a solid one.

    As Win 7 has been the solid one following the crap that was Vista, we have a good chance Win 8 will be the next Win 95 / ME / Vista, while Win 9 will be the one that consumes the market (like 98 / XP / 7).