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MS to intro Windows-only ‘Soft Wi-Fi’ 802.11x system

Connected Home Architecture, Connected to whom?

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At this week's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Seattle Microsoft will take the wraps off its big push into home wireless networking and open up on the Microsoft Connected Home Architecture. As a part of this, Microsoft will be introducing what is essentially a proprietary, Windows-only version of 802.11, "Soft Wi-Fi," which looks pretty much like a re-run of the Winmodem scenario.

Microsoft is currently kicking off a beta test of home wireless networking, and it seems probable that this will actually be of Soft Wi-Fi. As with Winmodems, the "soft" part comes from offloading processing from the wireless adapter to the PC itself, thus allowing manufacturers to make cheaper adapters. The happy - from Microsoft's point of view - side-effect of this is that it transforms a standard technology into a semi-proprietary Microsoft-only one, making it difficult for people using non-Microsoft operating systems to use the hardware, whereas with Windows it'll work out of the box.

Take a look at the size of the list here to get an idea of the amount of work that goes into getting around this sort of gag.

As yet we only have the session headings to go on, as WinHEC doesn't kick off until tomorrow, but there's more than enough for us to be going on with. The Connected Home Architecture, which seems to be a new umbrella term, is central, and comes with sub-topics such as the Windows Connected Display Architecture (Mira, presumably), Integrated Device Control for Windows, Adaptive AV Streaming and Home Networks and (we're really looking forward to this one) Designing the Home Network Edge.

There's also a comprehensive track on digital media and DRM, and in addition to Soft Wi-Fi, Enabling IEEE 802.11x in the Cellular Environment will be covered. WinHEC teaser list can be found here, more info later in the week, we hope. ®

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