WiFi Goes Virtual in Windows 7

Most everyone is familiar with virtualization when it comes to operating systems. However, what about the idea of virtualizing the WiFi adpater card, thus turning one piece of hardware into virtually an unlimited number of WiFi radios? According to Long Zheng, the idea of Virtual WiFi was first explored by Microsoft Research and is now an official feature of Windows 7.   To make this feature work, WLAN vendors will be required to add these new features to their existing drivers. To be Windows 7 logo certified, all WLAN vendors must support the Virtual WiFi functionality.

Long has a lot more on this new feature and explores the possibilities in more depth.

Comments

  1. GoodThings2Life says

    This would really come in handy where I work, because I have setup a private/secure network that is part of our work domain, but I also have a public/unsecure network for guest visitors that only provides Internet access on an isolated VLAN. Being able to virtualize my wireless adapter to connect to both for diagnostic and testing would be such a time saver for me.

  2. Clayton says

    Why this wasn’t done ages ago is beyond me. It seems like connecting to multiple networks would be a functionality built into wireless adapters from the beginning!

  3. Tim says

    As the article says, connecting to two networks simultaneously is not very useful for most users, since the average user is just using wireless for getting online. However, the possibility of mesh networks where signal can travel from access point to access point (in this case wifi card to wifi card) until it reaches its destination has lots of possibilities for range extending and signal boosting.

  4. blash says

    And no one is interested in combining the bandwidth from two different networks for their machine, i.e. if one network will give you 100 KB/s download and a second network would let you download at 200 KB/s download that you would now be able to connect to both for a combined 300 KB/s download? Or does it just not work like that?

  5. Modnar says

    @blash it depends on the OS and the application but it is possible.

    I do remember trying this on xp ages ago and if I remember correctly there is a somewhat noticeable connection quality loss for a constant connection (eg games)

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