Rally Vertical Pairing end-to-end experience

Updated: July 29, 2013

This topic discusses the history behind Windows Rally Vertical Pairing and provides some example usage scenarios.

This information applies for the following operating systems:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows 7

History of Rally Vertical Pairing

The Plug and Play subsystem for the Windows operating system automatically detects devices and then locates and installs the appropriate device drivers. This was a breakthrough technology that simplified device installation. It eliminated the requirement to manually edit configuration files that specify the paths to binary driver files and various parameter settings. However, for network-connected devices, Plug and Play does not work because it was not designed to extend over a networking bus.

Windows Vista extended the implementation of Plug and Play to accommodate the installation of network-connected devices. This feature is called Plug and Play Extensions (PnP-X). It lets both UPnP™ devices and Devices Profile for Web Services (DPWS) devices participate in the Plug and Play device installation experience.

Device manufacturers took advantage of this improved network device installation capability by adding PnP-X support to their network-connected devices. Many UPnP and DPWS devices do not require device driver support. However, these devices can still take advantage of the PnP-X discoverability and device notification capabilities by using a dummy driver that Microsoft includes with Windows Vista. Even though a network-connected device might not require a device driver to function, manufacturers have used the dummy driver to bootstrap the device installation process.

However, as wireless networking became more and more popular, consumers encountered problems with installing wireless devices because they were required to configure the Wi-Fi settings on their devices to connect their devices to their wireless networks. Only after a user correctly configured the Wi-Fi settings on his or her device could the user begin the process of discovery and PnP-X pairing with the device.

The Wi-Fi configuration process was confusing enough for device manufacturers to justify developing software that would do most of the work for the consumer. These manufacturers began shipping devices with software on CD-ROMs that users were required to install before they could use the device. Because each device manufacturer shipped different software with its wireless devices, a consumer's computer could fill up with many different one-time-use software packages. Furthermore, there was no consistency among device manufacturers for users to learn how to configure and manage their wireless devices.

Windows 7 improves the wireless device installation experience. Users can easily manage all their devices through the Devices and Printers UI. Furthermore, the Add a Device Wizard gives consumers the only way to discover and install their networked (UPnP and DPWS) and wireless (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) devices. Consumers use Rally Vertical Pairing technology to configure the Wi-Fi settings for a device at the same time as they perform the PnP-X device installation, which can download the appropriate device drivers from Windows Update. Therefore, device manufacturers are not required to ship software to install with their wireless devices.

For more information about UPnP, see UPnP APIs. For more information about DPWS, see Web Services on Devices.

Rally Vertical Pairing usage scenarios

The following scenarios are for a fictitious family that consists of Jane, her husband Bob, and their daughter Amy. They have a Wi-Fi network in their home that they use to share music, movies, and pictures, and to access the Internet.

Initial installation

One day Jane decides to purchase a new Wi-Fi scanner. She goes to her local computer store and purchases a fully featured model. When she returns home, Jane and her family are excited to install the new scanner and start scanning all of their old photographs.

As Jane starts to open the box, she does not realize it but she is about to witness the Rally Vertical Pairing end-to-end experience because the scanner manufacturer implemented Rally Vertical Pairing support in the scanner device. She performs the following very simple steps to perform a first-time installation of her scanner:

  1. Jane removes the new scanner from the box and plugs it into an electrical outlet.
  2. Jane opens the Devices and Printers UI on her computer that is running Windows 7 and clicks the Add a device button. This runs the Add a Device Wizard.
  3. Jane double-clicks the scanner icon that represents her new scanner device.
  4. Jane enters the scanner device’s pairing code, which is displayed on the scanner.
  5. Jane selects which network the scanner to use.

After the installation is complete, a photorealistic image of the new scanner appears in Devices and Printers on Jane's computer and she is ready to scan her old photographs.

Subsequent installations

Jane’s husband Bob and her daughter Amy watched as Jane installed the new scanner on her computer. They are both excited to scan their own photos and documents, so they decide to install the new scanner on their own computers.

Neither Bob nor Amy has ever installed a network device before, so they try to use the same steps that they saw Jane use. Even though her installation involved both configuring the scanner with the Wi-Fi settings and then installing the scanner drivers, the steps are similar for Bob and Amy:

  1. Open the Devices and Printers UI on their computers that are running Windows 7, and then click the Add a device button. This runs the Add a Device Wizard.
  2. Double-click the scanner icon that represents the new scanner.

They both see the photorealistic image of the scanner in Devices and Printers on their computers and can start scanning immediately.

Scenario benefits

In both scenarios, the customer’s experience flow was the same:

  1. Run the Add a Device Wizard.
  2. Select the device.
  3. Answer any questions that are asked.

These scenarios demonstrate the following benefits of Rally Vertical Pairing:

  • There is no ambiguity about what users do to install the device. The steps are similar for both first-time and subsequent installations. In both scenarios users run the Add a Device Wizard.
  • Neither scenario required the customer to install custom software that the device manufacturer provided.
  • The technical details of configuring the Wi-Fi settings and installing the device were abstracted from the customer.

Rally Vertical Pairing is a method that an unconfigured Wi-Fi device uses to communicate its intention to pair itself with a computer that is running Windows. Windows uses this information to evaluate which dependencies must first be configured or connected, such as configuring the device’s Wi-Fi settings before pairing the device with Windows.

Related topics

Using Windows Rally Vertical Pairing to automatically install Wi Fi devices



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