Microsoft Detailed New Windows 8 Mobile Networks Features

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Building Windows 8 just posted another article that digs into the details of how Microsoft re-engineered the wireless networking stack to optimize for both mobile broadband and Wi-Fi networks.

First, Windows 8 introduced a new network settings in PC Settings, used to be Control Panel, dedicated to Wireless, in where you can turn individual radios on and off (Wi-Fi, mobile broadband, or Bluetooth), as well as disable them all at once in Airplane mode. This eliminates the needs for a 3rd party application to manage your mobile broadband.

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Among all available networks, Wi-Fi is prioritized over broadband. When you connect to a Wi-Fi network, whether it’s a paid service or free, Windows 8 automatically disconnect you from your mobile broadband network, or even power down the MB device. And of course, it will reconnect you to it when no preferred Wi-Fi network is available.

Reconnecting your PC to a Wi-Fi network from standby is reduced to within about a second. It means your network is already ready before your display gets turned on.

Windows 8 is designed with mobile in mind. So a fully integration of mobile broadband into Windows 8 seems to make a lot sense. Simply insert your mobile broadband device or SIM card, your Windows machine will take care of the rest.

If you have a carrier-unlocked SIM, Windows 8 has native support that allows you to select and connect to any supported carrier from within Windows 8 UI.

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If you purchased and activated a data plan along with your SIM or mobile broadband device, all you need to do is connect to it.

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if you don’t already have a data plan and would like to purchase one, then the Connect button will direct you to their mobile broadband app or website allowing you to make the purchase right from there. After the purchase, you mobile operator provisions your PC over the air for their network, including information about your data plan details and Wi-Fi hotspots.

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You can even check your usage directly from there if your mobile broadband’s app has view my account link built in.

Obviously, with cellular data built in, you need to take action to avoid the Bill Shock, a term for a surprisingly expensive bills from their mobile operators. A good designed system will never let things like this from happening, no matter what we do. Windows 8 now takes the cost of the network into consideration. Aside of prioritizing Wi-Fi over mobile broadband, Windows 8 also takes actions like changing Windows Update download behavior to only do so when connected at a home broadband connection as well as a Reduce data usage option from the context menu of selected broadband network to reduce the chance getting Bill Shock.

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So far so good. But…as I am reading all through this, I doubt the whole process will be intuitive enough to allow most of the regular people to manage the mobile broadband connection easily and fearlessly. However, most of people will just need the Wi-Fi anyway. And making a Wi-Fi connection is deadly easy in Windows 8.

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