Microsoft gives details on mobile broadband improvements in Windows 8

The upcoming version of the operating system has been designed with mobility in mind, according to the company

Microsoft has given details on a variety of ways in which the upcoming Windows 8 operating system does a better job than its predecessors at letting users manage their connections to Wi-Fi and mobile broadband networks.

"We looked at the fundamentals of wireless connectivity and re-engineered Windows 8 for a mobile and wireless future, going beyond incremental improvements," reads a blog post published on Friday.

Windows 8 has been designed to simplify the process of connecting to mobile broadband networks and of managing those connections, including monitoring data usage and controlling costs.

"We knew that if we were to give you true mobility, that Wi-Fi alone would not be enough. Therefore, for Windows 8, we fully developed and integrated mobile broadband (MB) as a first-class connectivity experience within Windows -- right alongside Wi-Fi," wrote Billy Anders, a Microsoft group program manager and the blog post's author.

Windows 7 allows users to connect to mobile broadband networks, but it's up to users to find and install required drivers and software, including searching for them online at times.

Windows 8 comes with a common mobile-broadband class driver that works with devices from a variety of mobile operators and vendors, eliminating the need for users to install device driver software. "You just plug in the device and connect. The driver stays up to date via Windows Update," Anders wrote.

Another enhancement in Windows 8 is that it provides native management within a single console of mobile broadband device functions, such as turning on and off their radios and configuring their connection settings. Previously, users had to perform these tasks in the individual management application for each device.

"Prior to Windows 8, you needed these applications to compensate for functionality not provided natively in Windows. This additional software confused and frustrated users by conflicting with the Windows connection manager, showing different networks, network status, and a separate user interface," he wrote. "Windows 8 eliminates this confusion by providing simple, intuitive, and fully integrated radio and connection management."

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth device functions can also be managed centrally from within Windows 8. The operating system's network settings console also lets users establish connection priorities, so that their machine will automatically opt to, say, connect to a Wi-Fi network as the first option if available, and, if it's not, then seek a mobile broadband connection.

Windows 8 also "learns" about the user's connection priorities based on their actions. As a result, when returning from "standby" mode, a Windows 8 machine is able to reconnect faster than Windows 7 -- in about a second.

"You do not have to do anything special for this -- Windows just learns which networks you prefer and manages everything for you. This work was a major part of the architectural work we did in the networking stack and with our hardware partners," Anders wrote.

Windows 8 has also been designed to help users be aware of mobile broadband data limits and costs. "Prior to Windows 8, we maintained consistent behavior on all types of networks relative to bandwidth usage. With Windows 8, we now take the cost of the network into consideration: we assume that mobile broadband networks have restrictive data caps with higher overage costs -- vs. Wi-Fi --, and adjust networking behavior with these metered networks accordingly," the post reads.

To help with managing mobile broadband data usage and costs, the Windows 8 task manager lists how much data specific applications have used up, so users are aware of which applications consume more data.

Juan Carlos Perez covers search, social media, online advertising, e-commerce, web application development, enterprise cloud collaboration suites and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Ada Chan

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

I highly recommend the Dynabook Portégé® X30L-G notebook for everyday business use, it is a benchmark setting notebook of its generation in the lightweight category.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?