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Networking

Updated: January 7, 2009

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2

Networking enables communication between applications on different computers on a network and allows access to shared resources, such as directories and network printers on computers in the network.

Networking communications rely on transport protocols, such as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) to move network traffic among automatically managed networked devices.

Hierarchy of Managed Entities

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Managed Entities

Name Description

Network Device Management

Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 can automatically detect and configure network-connected devices. When a computer running the Windows operating system receives a broadcast announcement from a new device on the network, Windows can install the appropriate device drivers for that network device. Alternatively, a Windows client computer can send queries to the network, to which appropriately configured devices can respond.

 

Network Plug and Play

Plug and Play Extensions (PnP-X) provides the same experience for network connected devices as Plug and Play does for directly connected devices. It allows your computer to discover and connect to network devices on your subnet, and allows PnP-X-enabled devices to broadcast their presence on a subnet. PnP-X is one of the protocols supported by the Function Discovery capabilities of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Function Discovery Provider Host

Function Discovery provides a uniform programmatic interface for enumerating system resources, such as hardware devices, whether they are local or connected through a network. Applications can use Function Discovery to discover which functions the computer can perform, regardless of the underlying device or software architecture.

Function Discovery supports an extensible discovery provider model. The providers included in the system provide an abstraction layer over existing standards such as Plug and Play (PnP), Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP), WS-Discovery, and the registry. Independent hardware vendors can also create custom providers to expose new device types through Function Discovery.

Network Media

Network Media services encompass the technologies that connect computers to Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) networks, such as IEEE 802.3 Ethernet networks or IEEE 802.11 wireless networks.

 

Wired Service

Wired service is a set of technologies that configure the settings that are necessary to enable Windows-based clients to detect and establish connections to Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.3 Ethernet networks by using Local Area Network (LAN) connections.

Wired configuration

All Local Area Connection settings that are configured by using the Wired AutoConfig Service (dot3svc), and then additionally configured by using either Wired Network (IEEE 802.3) Policies or scripts that employ Netsh LAN commands, apply to all Local Area Connections on the computer.

Wired Network Interface

The Wired Network Interface connects a computer to the network media over which transmissions are sent and received. A Wired Network Interface is the combination of the physical components of a network adapter and the logical component of the Local Area Connection associated with that adapter. It is the entity to which the wired connectivity and security settings apply.

Wireless Service

Wireless service is a set of technologies that configure the settings that are necessary to enable Windows-based clients to detect and establish connections to Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 wireless networks by using wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) connections.

Wireless Configuration

Wireless configuration is typically accomplished using Wireless Network (IEEE 802.11) Policies and the WLAN AutoConfig service.

All Wireless Network Connection settings that are configured by using the WLAN AutoConfig service (wlansvc), and then additionally configured by using either Wired Network (IEEE 802.3) Policies or scripts that employ Netsh WLAN commands, apply to all Local Area Connections on the computer.

Wireless Network Interface

The Wireless Network Interface connects a computer to the wireless network media over which transmissions are sent and received. A Wireless Network Interface is the combination of the physical components of a wireless network adapter and the logical component of the Wireless Network Connection associated with that adapter. It is the entity to which the wireless connectivity and security settings apply.

Transports

Network Transports are networking protocols responsible for moving network traffic (packets) from one device to another over network media. Networking transports utilized by Windows operating systems include TCPIP, NDIS, NetBios, QoS.

NBT Protocol

The NBT protocol, also known as the NetBT protocol, provides NetBIOS support for the TCP/IP protocol.

The network basic input/output system (NetBIOS) protocol allows browsing of network resources and handles basic functions of Windows networking by using two-way acknowledged data transfer.

NetBIOS is an application programming interface (API) that can be used by programs on a local area network (LAN). NetBIOS provides programs with a uniform set of commands for requesting the lower-level services required to manage names, conduct sessions, and send datagrams between nodes on a network.

Network Driver Interface Specification

A Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS) miniport driver has two basic functions:

  • Managing a network adapter, including sending and receiving data through the adapter.
  • Interfacing with higher-level drivers, such as intermediate drivers and transport protocol drivers.

A miniport driver communicates with its network adapter and with higher-level drivers by using the NDIS library, which abstracts the network hardware from network drivers. NDIS also specifies a standard interface between layered network drivers, abstracting lower-level drivers that manage hardware from upper-level drivers, such as network transports. NDIS also maintains state information and parameters for network drivers.

Miniport Driver

Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS) supports miniport drivers for both connection-oriented environments and connectionless environments.

Connection-oriented miniport drivers control network adapters for connection-oriented network media, such as Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). Connection-oriented miniport drivers are always deserialized — they always serialize the operation of their own MiniportXxx functions and queue internally all incoming send packets.

Connectionless miniport drivers control network adapters for connectionless network media, such as Ethernet, Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI), and Token Ring.

Connectionless miniport drivers can be serialized or deserialized:

  • Serialized drivers rely on NDIS to serialize calls to their MiniportXxx functions and to manage their send queues.
  • Deserialized drivers serialize the operation of their own MiniportXxx functions and internally queue all incoming send packets. This results in significantly better full-duplex performance, provided that the driver's critical sections (code that only a single thread at a time can execute) are kept small.

Network Adapter

A network adapter is the network hardware that is responsible for sending and receiving data to the wire. The network adapter might not function correctly if the network adapter hardware that the driver is looking for has been removed from the computer, or if it is incorrectly configured or obsolete.

Quality of Service Platform

The Windows Vista developer platform for network Quality of Service (QoS) consists of a user-mode application programming interface (API), available from Qos2.h and qwave.dll, and a kernel-mode packet scheduler (Pacer.sys), which manages QoS flows created by using the user-mode API.

The Windows Vista QoS API supports the differentiated services discipline in that:

  • Layer 3 Differentiated Service Code Points (DSCPs) can be set in the IPv4/IPv6 packet header
  • Layer 2 802.1p tags can be added to the Ethernet frame header
  • Send-rate throttling can be applied

This API is applied at a network socket level. Multimedia scenarios on Windows-based clients (not servers) are enabled by using this platform to provide end-to-end bandwidth estimation and congestion detection for network IP traffic that uses either TCP or UDP.

Policy-based Quality of Service (QoS)

Quality of Service (QoS) in Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista helps to reduce network congestion and optimize bandwidth by providing centralized management of traffic sent by network hosts.

TCP/IP

TCP/IP provides the ability to frame and route packets from host to host. Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) along with the Internet Protocol (IP) are the basis for communication on the modern Internet.

 

 

Physical Network Interface

A physical network interface is the network adapter. A network adapter is a piece of hardware dedicated to capturing and pre-processing data packets arriving at a host computer.

TCP/IP Functions

TCP/IP functions operate on every packet that is passed from the network adapter up to the TCP/IP stack. The functions allow for packet processing and data delivery to the application layer.

 

Winsock2

Winsock enables programmers to create advanced user-mode or kernel-mode Internet, intranet, and other network-capable applications to transmit application data across the wire, independent of the network protocol being used.

User-mode applications are created by using the Winsock2 application programming interface (API). In Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, kernel-mode applications are created by using a new transport-independent kernel-mode Network Programming Interface (NPI) called Winsock Kernel (WSK). WSK NPI replaces the Winsock Kernel API used to create kernel-mode applications in earlier versions of the Windows operating system.

By using the WSK NPI, kernel-mode software modules can perform network communication by using socket-like programming instructions similar to those supported in the user-mode Winsock2 API. Although the WSK NPI supports most of the same socket programming concepts as user-mode Winsock2, such as socket creation, bind, connect, accept, send and receive, it is a completely new programming interface with unique characteristics, such as asynchronous input/output (I/O), that uses input/output request packets (IRPs) and event callbacks to enhance performance for kernel drivers.

Web Connectivity

Web connectivity refers to the ability of server applications to send and receive HTTP requests. The use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) enables applications to exchange data over secure HTTP connections.

HTTP Service

The HTTP Service enables server applications to receive HTTP requests, send HTTP responses, and cache HTTP responses in the kernel. Server applications can send and receive over HTTP or HTTPS (Secure Sockets Layer [SSL]) connections.

HTTP Service Response Cache

The response cache is where the HTTP Service stores HTTP responses.

HTTP Service Connections - Send and Receive

HTTP Service Connections are related to the creation, use, and termination of an HTTP(S) connection.

HTTP Service SSL Connections

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connections are used for sending and receiving HTTPS data.

HTTP Service Logs and Logging

Server applications, such Internet Information Services (IIS), can have their own log files.

Windows HTTP Services

Windows HTTP Services (WinHTTP) provides developers with a server-supported, high-level interface to the HTTP/1.1 Internet protocol. WinHTTP is used primarily in server-based applications that communicate with HTTP servers.

Windows Internet API

The Windows Internet (WinINet) application programming interface (API) enables applications to interact with Gopher, FTP, and HTTP protocols to access Internet resources. As standards evolve, WinINet API functions handle the changes in underlying protocols, enabling these protocols to maintain consistent behavior.

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