Monday, May 14, 2007

Microsoft Windows Rally to Offer Network Discovery of Consumer Devices

At WinHEC 2007, Microsoft outlined its vision for Windows Rally, a set of technologies that aim to make device connectivity simple, robust and more secure. Networking devices that carry the Certified for Windows Vista logo, Windows Vista-based PCs, and Xbox 360s all use Windows Rally technologies.

Microsoft said Windows Rally technologies provide standard, baseline mechanisms for device discovery, configuration, management and network quality. The individual protocols and the experiences they are designed to enable are:

  • Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD), a layer 2 protocol that operates over Ethernet. Any device that implements LLTD will appear on the Windows Vista Network Map with an icon representing the device, allowing users one-click access to the device's Web User Interface.

  • Windows Connect Now (WCN), Microsoft's implementation of the WiFi Alliance's WiFi Protected Setup, which provides a simple, secure wireless setup experience for Wi-Fi enabled devices.

  • Devices Profile for Web Services (DPWS), which enables rich, secure programmatic control of devices, and easy discovery of device capabilities.

  • Plug and Play Extensions (PnPX), which enable the same plug-and-play experience users are familiar with for devices that connect via buses, such as USB. By extending this model to network-connected devices, users get the same rapid discovery and simple "ready to use" experience.

"Our goal is to help consumers have the most positive home computing experience possible so they can concentrate on more important issues than device connectivity," says Jim Barber, senior program manager for Windows Rally at Microsoft. "As we develop new device classes for Windows Vista and for future generations of Windows, partners will continue to benefit from their investments in Windows Rally technologies and provide better service to their customers."

The company noted that since the Windows Rally technologies were introduced last year, more than 1,100 copies of the Windows Rally Porting Kit, a key device enabler, have been downloaded from