Latest posts by Joseph Moody (see all)
- Outlook attachments now blocked in Office 365 - Tue, Nov 19 2019
- PolicyPak MDM Edition: Group Policy and more for BYOD - Tue, Oct 29 2019
- SmartDeploy: Easy software and OS deployment - Tue, Oct 1 2019
From the Modern user interface to vastly improved connection speed, Windows 8 is the always on/always connected OS. With great features, one must have great management.
Windows 8 wireless settings and standard users ^
First, the Modern network panel allows for standard users to configure nearly every setting that would be needed for a remote worker. Standard users can join, forget, and modify wireless networks. Right clicking on existing connected networks even allows for standard users to modify the network precedence established by prior action. The network adapter continues to scan for other available networks even when connected to this less desirable network profile.
Windows 8 Wireless Network Properties
Windows 8 Airplane Mode ^
As in Windows 7, standard users can still perform Network Diagnostics, release/renew an adapter’s IP address, and flush the DNS Resolver cache. However standard users could not disable/enable physical adapters. With the introduction of Airplane Mode, standard users can disable all wireless communication without needing to actually disable adapters.
Windows 8 Airplane Mode
Windows 8 Connection Manager ^
While these improvements will certainly make life easier for the mobile user, the additional management comes in the form of a host of new Group Policy settings. The two common questions I consistently see are:
How can I prevent users from using a hotspot when connected to our domain?
How can I have Windows use only the wired network when connected to a wireless network?
Both of these things can now be easily done with Group Policy! Under Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Network, one can now manage the Windows Connection Manager and set the network cost for WLAN and WWAN connections.
Windows 8 Connection Manager - Group Policy
Within the Windows Connection Manager folder, we have the following two settings:
- Prohibit connection to non-domain networks when connected to domain authenticated networks
- Minimize the number of simultaneous connections to the Internet or a Windows Domain
Because these settings are administrative templates, we do not have to worry about settings being left of the machine if our policies ever need to change.
Windows 8 wireless connection cost ^
Mobile networks can get expensive. With Windows 8, different network types can be assigned different cost metrics. When this is configured, mobile devices will use the most efficient network type for your organization. A welcomed inclusion is the ability to disable mobile broadband when the client moves to a roaming network. By default, users can connect to roaming networks. If this setting is enabled, clients are prevented from automatic and manual connections to a roaming network.
Prohibit connection to roaming Mobile Broadband networks
Specific cost values can be set for WLAN and WWAN connections. Connection cost can be set to these values:
Windows 8 wireless connection cost
Because Windows 8 supports 3G and 4G networks, one can configure individual cost values for the different connections types.
WWAN Media Cost
The ability to more granularly manage network selection is a very welcomed addition to Windows 8. Being able to prevent in-house hotspots on domain machines is sure to please the security side of IT and the ability to manage network cost will make Finance quite happy as well. Throw in the fact that savvy mobile users can resolve more of their own issues and we have a great package!