Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Virtual LANs? Meet Virtual Wi-Fi


Microsoft Research introduces an experimental virtualization package for Wi-Fi adapters: This software for Windows XP allows you to have multiple logical copies of a single Wi-Fi hardware adapter but use these logical copies to connect to different physical Wi-Fi networks. One example the research team poses is connecting with one instance of a Wi-Fi card to an ad hoc game-playing box (oh, I don't know--an Xbox?) while also connected via infrastructure mode to a Wi-Fi gateway that hooks into the Internet.

The team also mentions two interesting applications: using a "thin pipe" for diagnosis by allowing a connected machine to hook into diagnostics without losing its connectivity, which would then make it harder to diagnose certain problems; and multiple simultaneous network connections for improving throughput without additional radios.

This is exciting stuff. I have no idea how performance suffers and whether all cards will support. The research teams lists several cards of varying vintages going way back to 1999, and their software worked with all of them. Neither WEP nor 802.1X (nor ostensibly WPA, which isn't mentioned by name) are supported in this early version. [link via Endgaget]

[Wi-Fi Networking News]


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