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New for Network Drivers

Windows Vista supports a completely new model for network drivers and includes many significant enhancements and new capabilities for network drivers. The major additions include:

  • The new Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS) version 6.0

  • Native 802.11 Wireless LAN

  • Network Module Registrar

  • Winsock Kernel

  • Windows Filtering Platform

NDIS 6.0

Windows Vista includes the Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS) version 6.0.

The following NDIS 6.0 features improve performance and scalability:

  • NET_BUFFER data packaging

  • Improved send and receive paths

  • Enhanced run time reconfiguration abilities

  • Improved scatter/gather DMA support

  • Efficient filter drivers

  • Receive-side scaling

The following NDIS 6.0 features simplify driver design:

  • Easier initialization

  • Versioned interfaces

  • Simplified reset handling

  • NDIS interface services

  • Easier-to-write filter drivers

For more information about NDIS 6.0, see Introduction to NDIS 6.0.

Native 802.11 Wireless LAN

Windows Vista supports a completely revised driver model for 802.11 wireless LAN (WLAN) devices. This new driver model is called Native 802.11 and provides support for the following:

  • Sending and receiving 802.11 media access control (MAC) service data unit (MSDU) packets and MAC management protocol data unit (MMPDU) frames.

  • Access to 802.11 management information base (MIB) objects through Native 802.11 object identifiers (OIDs) for set and query requests.

  • Extending the operating system's 802.11 functionality, including replacing or adding cipher and authentication algorithms.

For more information about Native 802.11, see Native 802.11 Wireless LAN.

Network Module Registrar

The Network Module Registrar (NMR) is an operating system module that facilitates the attachment of network modules to each other. Each network module registers itself with the NMR, specifying the characteristics that describe the network module. The NMR initiates attachment between pairs of registered network modules that can be attached to each other. After they are attached, the network modules can interact with each other independently of the NMR. The NMR also facilitates detachment of attached pairs of network modules when one of the network modules deregisters with the NMR.

For more information about the NMR, see Network Module Registrar.

Winsock Kernel

Winsock Kernel provides support for network sockets in kernel mode. WSK exposes an interface that is similar to user-mode Windows Sockets 2. Familiar socket operations, such as socket creation, binding, connection establishment, and send and receive data transfers, are supported by the WSK interface. WSK also supports asynchronous I/O, using IRPs and event callbacks for enhanced performance.

For more information about WSK, see Winsock Kernel.

Windows Filtering Platform

Windows Filtering Platform callout drivers extend the capabilities of the Windows Filtering Platform by inspecting and processing the network data in ways that are beyond the scope of the standard filtering functionality. Callout drivers are typically used for tasks such as deep inspection, packet modification, stream modification, and data logging.

For more information about WFP callout drivers, see Windows Filtering Platform Callout Drivers.

IP Helper

A new set of APIs is available to retrieve and modify configuration settings for the TCP/IP transport on the local computer. Both kernel-mode and user-mode APIs are available and function similarly. For descriptions of the user-mode APIs, see the Microsoft Windows SDK documentation.

For more information, see IP Helper.



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