I wanted to open the WNDP QoS blog with an introduction to the program and problem space our technologies provide a solution for. Hopefully this will set the tone for further entries, which myself and other members of the team will post. The network QoS (Quality of Service) program is part of core Windows networking (NDIS, TCP/IP, etc.) and we have expertise in the network aspects of AV (Audio/Video) streaming and all areas of QoS in general.

 

While a very powerful QoS platform has been available since Win2k, it was designed to be general (and hence sometimes difficult to integrate into existing apps). For Vista, we re-focused the QoS program on relevant customer scenarios in the home and enterprise, and have added many exciting new technologies beyond that of classic network QoS. In the home, we have created a platform called qWAVE, or Quality Windows Audio/Video Experience. qWAVE is specifically focused on streaming multimedia and real-time content over wireless (and wired) home networks. Some new technologies that qWAVE provides are:

 

  • Auto-discovery of end-to-end QoS capability (whether the network support prioritization)
  • End-to-end bandwidth estimation
    • Maximum capability of the path, i.e. the bottleneck bandwidth
    • Real-time available bandwidth (how much is available given existing network traffic)
  • Intelligent packet prioritization
  • Congestion notification
  • Flow shaping (throttling)
  • Distributed admission control (including caching to improve performance)

 

These technologies become especially important for the digital home, where a myriad of traffic from different applications (data, gaming, voice, video) and devices are sharing the same network. The problems are compounded when the network is wireless!

 

We've been working on these technologies for the past three years and are super excited to provide them in Vista for all to use. Please stay tuned as we'll be posting often about how all this stuff fits together, why it's important, and essentially why you should care.

 

- Gabe