Despite a month-long moratorium on new coding, Microsoft's XP Home Networking Team sent out alerts this week about a new beta program aimed at improving the Wireless home networking experience. In meetings with the company late last year, members of the team told me that the feedback they had gotten on XP's home networking components indicated that they had some work to do, and this beta program is the first visible result of that feedback. The invite-only beta program is set to begin in April and end quickly, probably by early May.
Participants in the Wireless Home Networking beta must have a broadband Internet connection and at least two PCs that can be wirelessly connected. The company prefers that testers do not have an existing home network, as it would prefer its new home networking wizards to get a more valid workout. And the beta is aimed at home users with no networking experience, as that is the target market for the eventual improvements.
On thing that's still unclear is how the results of this beta will be marketed. It's likely that Microsoft will release updated XP home networking components for free, but it's also possible that this work could see the light of day in a future refresh of XP that might ship later this year.