The most significant network-related enhancements are about the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Some of these will only be relevant when you connect to Windows Server 2008 R2. It seems as if the Remote Desktop Services is one of Microsoft’s answers to the cloud hype. There are also quite a few improvements regarding wireless, which makes sense considering how important wireless networking has become. Note that I will discuss some of the features here in upcoming series about Windows Server 2008 R2.
Windows Connect Now (WCN) (improved)
WCN supports now Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), an industry standard that simplifies WLAN setup.
Wireless device installation (improved)
- A new a device wizard allows you to connect wireless devices such as printers or network attached storage
- Drivers are downloaded automatically if necessary
One-click access to available networks (Wi-Fi, Mobile Broadband, Dial-up, VPN)
Wireless Device Network (new)
Windows 7 PC acts as a wireless access point
Mobile Link (new)
- Installs wireless data cards without the need of additional software
- Process is similar to connecting to a wireless network
Direct Access (new)
- Remote connection to the corporate network is established automatically whenever Internet is available
- Access to public Web sites is not routed via the corporate network
- VPN is not required
- Requires Windows Server 2008 R2 plus IPv6 and IPsec
VPN Reconnect (new)
Automatically reestablishes broken VPN connectivity
Offline Files (improved)
- Offline files are now copied to the Offline Files cache and then synchronized in the background with the server
- In this way, one doesn’t have to wait for files to be moved to the server after logging on
- Improved management: More Group Policy settings, configurable time and time intervals for synchronization, maximum stale time, etc.
Roaming user profiles (improved)
- Automatically synchronize users’ profiles with the server while users are still logged on
- Users can roam from one PC to another while remaining logged in to both PCs and still have the same consistent environment
- Caches content from remote file and Web servers on a server in a branch location
- The cache can also be distributed across user PCs
- Requires Windows Server 2008 R2
- Automatic link integration into the Start Menu to RemoteApp apps and desktops on Windows Server 2008 R2 servers
- Remote Desktop & Application feed: Allows end users to launch remote applications from a central location.
- Multi-monitor support for virtual desktops
- Support for bidirectional audio: Enables use of microphones for VOIP
- Use of local printer driver possible
- Multimedia redirection
- Aero Glass support
There are a lot more new RDP features. I only mentioned the most important ones here. I will probably write more about them soon. In the meantime, you can check out my article about the Remote Desktop Services, which discusses some the new RDP features in more detail.
If you know of a missing or dropped feature, please leave a comment below or send me a message. Of course, any other response is welcome, too. Please let me know if you have described one the features in your blog or know of a more detailed source. I will add a link then.