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Understanding wireless provisioning services

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2


Understanding wireless provisioning services

Wireless Provisioning Services (WPS) are enhancements to wireless networking in Windows XP and the Windows Server 2003 family. WPS enables wireless networks to provide a consistent sign-up and configuration experience while providing more secure access to network resources.

When you connect to a wireless network that supports WPS, you are prompted to download additional files that are used by WPS to enable a more secure, consistent, and automatic setup. These files are generally safe to download, but the information contained within them might not be accurate. You should verify that the Web site from which the files will be downloaded is one that you expected based on your location, or one that you trust to provide you with the information.

If you choose to download the files, XML files are downloaded from the provider and stored on your computer for as long as you wish to use the wireless network. The files contain no personal information about you or your computer.

If you do not choose to download the files, you cannot connect to the wireless network.

When the files are downloaded, the Wireless Network Registration Wizard requests information from you. Some networks might require payment. Other networks might simply require acknowledgement of a usage policy. Follow the instructions in the Wireless Network Registration Wizard to provide the appropriate information to the network provider.

After you have signed up with a wireless network that supports WPS, the files stored on your computer can be updated automatically. If you choose this option, the wireless provisioning services in your computer will connect to the wireless network provider and update the information stored on your computer. This occurs on a schedule determined by the wireless network provider (typically once a week or once a month). This update process will only occur while you are already connected to the Internet and will not interfere with your use of your Internet connection. If you choose not to update the files automatically, the files for a specific network will be updated the next time you connect to that wireless network. (This is required to ensure that your computer has the right information for that network.)

For more information about connecting to wireless networks, see Connect to an available wireless network.

For conceptual information about configuring wireless client computer settings, see Configuring wireless network settings on client computers.

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