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May 16, 2007

Talking about Windows Rally

First off, let me touch base a little bit on what exactly Windows Rally is. Windows Rally is a set of technologies that ship as part of the standards for being a Certified for Windows Vista device. The core set of Windows Rally technologies are:

  • Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD): is the protocol that enables the device to show in Windows Vista’s Network Map including a specific device icon representing that device.
  • Windows Connect Now (WCN): enables the ability to easily and quickly setup a wireless network.
  • Devices Profile for Web Services (DPWS): allows devices to be easily discoverable on your network.
  • Plug and Play Extensions (PnPX): USB-like plug-and-play experience extended to network devices.

You can read a more in-depth overview of the Windows Rally technologies from yesterday’s Windows Rally Press Release (I tried to break down the information and simplify it a bit here).

Windows Rally *really* excites me. I currently have Cat-5 strung across my living room floor connecting my Xbox 360 to my home network. I want to get rid of the cable and run Windows Rally devices such as the Xtreme N Duo MediaBridge from D-Link that was demoed during the keynote. I depend on my Xbox 360 and its Windows Media Extender capabilities for Windows Media Center content like TV shows, music, and photos. That content is streamed across the network. I want to be able to do this without running cable all over the place.

During yesterday’s Keynote, Program Managers Glenn Ward and Jim Barber demoed Windows Rally Technologies:

Video: WinHEC 2007 – Windows Rally Demo

Did you see how fast they setup the Wireless Network with the Certified for Windows Vista networking devices? That is awesome! Using the Windows Rally technologies listed above, devices such as the Media Bridges that were demoed auto-discover and auto-configure for that particular network. The Media Bridges run at 5GHz (running using 802.11 N) – making them immune to interference that is present in legacy networks (like networks running 802.11 G). With networking the Media Bridges together to stream HD content in the demo, the original network that Jim Barber set up at the beginning of the demo was not replaced. The network operating between the Media Bridges and the network set up previously operate side-by-side as they are operating at different levels with one at 802.11 G and 802.11 N.

I look forward to being able to implement Windows Rally and my own house as it looks like a amazing set of technologies that will enable me to get more out of my personal network and network devices.