Communication Services and Networking (Windows CE 5.0)

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Microsoft® Windows® CE provides networking and communications capabilities that enable devices to connect and communicate with other devices and people over both wireless and wired networks. The following list shows the tasks that Windows CE networking drivers, protocols, and application programming interfaces (APIs) enable:

  • OEMs can create network-connected devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), smart phones, digital cameras, and gateways.
  • Independent software vendors (ISVs), carriers, and enterprises can create rich network-aware applications and services using APIs and services such as Extensible Markup Language (XML), SOAP, Winsock, Message Queuing (MSMQ), and Media Sense.
  • Independent hardware vendors (IHVs) can create networking drivers using Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS) 5.1 and NDIS test tools — for example 802.11, Bluetooth, GPRS, CDMA, and Ethernet.

Windows CE also includes wireless features such as Bluetooth, 802.11 (802.1x, Extensible Authentication Protocol and 802.11 automatic configuration), and Media Sense; server features such as Remote Access Service (RAS)/ Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Servers, and services and APIs such as the RTC Client API, Winsock 2.2, and Object Exchange Protocol (OBEX). In addition, Windows CE includes an updated TCP/IP stack and Network Driver Interface Specification 5.1. The network user interface has also been updated to enable certificate logon, discovery of devices over Bluetooth, and setup of 802.11 networks.

The following illustration shows the communications and networking architecture for Windows CE. The table following the illustration describes each feature in the architecture.


The following table shows each communication feature in alphabetic order, describes the feature, and links to the feature's main topic.

Feature Description
802.1x Authentication Automatic Configuration enables seamless roaming from one 802.11 network to another. It also simplifies user configuration of 802.11 networks.

802.1x enables authentication and automatic WEP key management for 802.11.

Bluetooth A short-range wireless technology that enables data communication between devices. It also provides the capability for using a Bluetooth-enabled cellular phone as a data modem, exchanging information with other Bluetooth devices, and providing network access.
Dial-up Networking Consists of RAS client API and the Point to Point Protocol (PPP). PPP is a set of industry standard framing and authentication protocols that enables dial-up networking through any server that supports PPP.

The RAS client includes AutoDial, which allows a user to set up a dial-up network connection to dial automatically when network resources are required.

For Windows CE, RAS and PPP support Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) and RAS scripting.

Domain Discovery Enables a Windows CE device to discover an Active Directory server to query.
Extensible Authentication Protocol Standardized support mechanism for authentication schemes such as token cards, certificates, Public Key, and S/Key. EAP is extensible enabling OEMs to plug in additional authentication schemes.

For Microsoft Windows CE, 802.1x, PPP and PPTP support EAP.

File Server The file server enables clients to access files and other resources from a server over a network using TCP/IP.
FTP Server A sample server used for transferring files to and from remote computer systems over a network using TCP/IP.
Infrared Communications Many Microsoft Windows CE–based devices have an infrared port compliant with the Infrared Data Association (IrDA). The IrDA specifies standards for hardware specifications and software protocols.
Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) A collection of technologies that work together to enable multiple devices on a private network to share a single Internet connection.
L2TP/IPSec The Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) is an industry-standard Internet tunneling protocol that allows users to access a private network by setting up a tunnel through a public network or by using a virtual private network (VPN) connection. L2TP uses the authentication and compression mechanisms of Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP). L2TP relies on IP Security Protocol (IPSec) to encrypt PPP frames.
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) Client A Lightweight Database Access Protocol (LDAP) and API to query add and remove entries in any LDAP-compliant directory such as Microsoft Active Directory®.
Native 802.11 A wireless LAN framework that is targeted to improve 802.11 end user experience, lower 802.11 device and infrastructure deployments costs, and provide richer differentiated functionality in Windows by enhancing features like security power management, roaming, load balancing, Quality of Service (QoS) and location awareness. In this release, a reference implementation of a wireless access point using Native 802.11 is included.
NDIS Support in Windows CE The standard network driver architecture for all Windows-based OSes. NDIS 5.1 supports 802.3 (such as Ethernet, 802.11, and HPNA), IrDa, WAN, and 802.5 media types.
Network Bridging Interconnects network segments in a multiple-segment network by forwarding frames from one segment to another.
Network User Interface (NetUI) Enables users to configure network connections such as dial-up networking (such as modems), direct connections (such as serial and/or USB) as well as LAN connections (such as 802.11). In addition, the network UI enables discovery and bonding of Bluetooth-enabled hardware. A Systray icon is also provided to show network status.
Network Utilities (IpConfig, Ping, Route) Utilities for troubleshooting various network problems.
Object Exchange Protocol (OBEX) An efficient, compact binary protocol that enables a wide range of devices to exchange data spontaneously in a simple, efficient manner. This protocol works with Bluetooth and IrDA.
Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet (PPPoE) Provides the ability to connect a network of hosts over a simple bridging access device to a Remote Access Concentrator.
PPTP Enables an encrypted connection using a security infrastructure so a user can communicate or exchange data with another IP-connected device or remote network.
Print Server The print server enables clients to access printers from a server over a network by using TCP/IP.
RAS Server/PPTP Server (Incoming) A remote server that enables clients to create dial-up RAS or Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections.
Real-time Communications (RTC) Client API The Real-time Communications Client API enables instant messaging services, Voice over IP (VoIP) communication to other SIP-enabled devices, and calls to PSTN telephones.
Serial Communications Serial I/O is the simplest form of communication supported by Windows CE. It includes the serial port driver and support for infrared communications.
Services.exe Provides a services loader allowing servers to be loaded, started, and stopped dynamically. It also provides the ability to load servers dynamically based on network requests to the device.
Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) Monitors remote connections to the network.
TCP/IP A set of protocols that allow cooperating computers and devices to share resources across a network. It includes support for the following protocols:
  • Internet (IP)
  • Address Resolution (ARP)
  • Internet Control Message (ICMP)
  • Internet Group Membership (IGMP)
  • Transmission Control (TCP)
  • User Datagram (UDP)

TCP/IP also supports name resolution and registration, and DHCP, and includes Internet Protocol Helper APIs that gives applications easy access to TCP/IP services.

Telephony API (TAPI) Manages phone connection and disconnection and is required for call setup and modem support. TAPI includes Unimodem, which supports AT command-based standard modems.
Telnet Server A sample server that allows remote administration through a standard telnet client.
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) Provides an architectural framework for creating self-configuring, self-describing devices and services. Networks managed by UPnP require no configuration by users or network administrators because UPnP supports automatic discovery. UPnP enables a device to dynamically join a network, obtain an IP address, and convey its capabilities on request.
Voice over IP Phone Services Includes the VoIP Application Interface Layer (VAIL) and the sample telephony user interface (TUI), which aid the development of Voice over IP (VoIP) applications.

The VAIL abstracts the lower-level interface provided by the RTC Client API to provide developers with programming constructs better suited to use in VoIP applications.

The TUI provides a full-featured UI that demonstrates how to use VAIL and other Windows CE technologies to build a VoIP device.

Web Server (HTTPD) A lightweight HTTP server that provides a means for configuring a headless device from remote locations and offers ASP and ISAPI Secure Socket Layer support.

Web server also supports:

  • Active Server Pages (ASP), which provides a server-side scripting environment to create and run dynamic, interactive Web server applications.
  • NTLM, which is a challenge and response authentication protocol compatible with Microsoft LAN Manager.
  • Schannel, which is a protocol for authentication and encryption using SSL 2, SSL 3, and Transport Layer Security (TLS/SSL 3.1) public key-based protocols.
  • Web Administration ISAPI Extensions, which provides the means to remotely configure a device, and provides device browsing, file uploading and downloading, and registry editing.
Windows Networking API/Redirector (SMB/CIFS) Manages network connections and accesses remote file systems and printers.
Windows Sockets Supports multiple protocol stacks. Winsock 2.2 provides enhanced capabilities over Winsock 1.1, including installable service providers for additional third-party protocols, as well as Media sense. Winsock 2.2 is available in both headless and display-based devices.
WPA An implementation based on a subset of the IEEE 802.11i standard. This framework, together with Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and the Message Integrity Check (MIC) algorithm Michael, provides enhanced security for wireless networks.

See Also

Internet Protocol Version 6 | SOAP Toolkit | Message Queuing | RNDIS Driver Implementation Guide | Component Services (COM and DCOM)

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