Microsoft is releasing new features in Windows 8 that make it easier to connect to non-Wi-Fi mobile broadband networks, and to manage all wireless connectivity options. The move reflects the growing popularity of mobile broadband and may correct a glaring weakness in Windows-lack of native support for non-Wi-Fi networks. That weakness has meant that Windows users had to find and install their own device drivers for mobile broadband connections.
That challenge in turn likely meant that many users with mobile broadband devices with Windows 7 and previous software versions were not taking advantage of the increasing presence of mobile broadband coverage. Windows 8 includes a dedicated, native mobile broadband driver that Microsoft says already complies with many different mobile devices.
The company also said the latest version of Windows allows easier switching between mobile and Wi-Fi networks, a feature that could become a must-have at a time when mobile data users are seeing more reason to switch to Wi-Fi coverage to save data plan usage when they can. User can set their own network connection priorities, and as Windows learns their preferences, it can speed up re-connection to these networks when coming out of stand-by mode.
Windows 8 also includes a console for managing all mobile broadband device connection settings and radios. Within this management console is the ability to track data usage on mobile network so that users know how close they are getting to their plan limits. It sounds like Microsoft is not only acknowledging the now pervasive nature of mobile broadband, but also the fact that connecting to these networks comes with its own set of limitations.
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