At the TechEd conference this week in Orlando, Florida, Microsoft will unveil a simplified network architecture that will appear in Windows NT 5.0 next year. Before NT 5.0 is released, however, Microsoft will improve networking in Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95 with a series of add-ons. These add-ons include the following:

  • "Steelhead" - a software-based routing technology.
  • Active Telephony - an ActiveX-based object model for telephony.
  • Microsoft Management Console network management "snap-ins."
  • Native ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) support. An early version of this support is now available in the NDIS (Network Driver Interface Specification) 5.0 Device Driver Kit (DDK).
  • A networking upgrade pack for Windows 95 - this add-on for Windows 95 will include new network drivers and the ability to remotely access private networks over the Internet. It also features Winsock 2.0 and PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) and fixes to the TCP/IP stack.
  • Communications Server - an add-on package for Windows NT 4.0, due this year, that includes Internet Proxy Server 1.0, a RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) client, Telephony API 2.1, and token-card support.
The next version of TCP-IP, version 6, is not expected to be available for the launch of Memphis (the next version of Windows 95) or Windows NT 5.0. The next version of PPTP, known as L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol), will not be available in Memphis, but will be included in Windows NT 5.0. Expect more news this week as Microsoft announces and demonstrates these technologies for the first time