On January 20, Billy Anders, a group program manager on Windows devices and networking team, authored a blog post sharing the work done to Windows 8's wireless networking for both mobile broadband and Wi-Fi networks to make it easy for you to use 3G and 4G connectivity along with Wi-Fi."
"Typically, mobile broadband devices come with radio and connection management software. Prior to Windows 8, you needed these applications to compensate for functionality not provided natively in Windows. The new Windows 8 network settings allow you to turn individual radios on and off (Wi-Fi, mobile broadband, or Bluetooth), as well as disable all radios at once with the new "airplane mode"," Anders said.
Adding, "Windows 8 provides native radio management to eliminate the conflicts and confusion, and to provide a consistent experience for controlling your radios without the need to install additional software. This is new for PCs even though it has obviously long been available on today's mobile phones (or Windows Mobile phones, going way back)," he said.
With Windows 8, we made things simpler and more intuitive by fully integrating mobile broadband. When you're ready to connect to a mobile broadband network, you simply insert your mobile broadband device or SIM card into your Windows 8 PC and we take care of the setup. If you've a carrier-unlocked mobile broadband device that supports carrier switching (this includes most mobile broadband users outside the US), Windows 8 has native support that allows you to select and connect to any supported carrier from within the Windows UI," added he said.
"If you purchased and activated a data plan along with your SIM or mobile broadband device, all you need to do is connect to the network and we get out of the way, allowing you to do what you want to do. And, if you don't have a data plan and would like to purchase, then simply click the "Connect" button for the mobile operator you want, and we automatically direct you to their mobile broadband app or website, where you can select a data plan (for example, a time-based, limit-based, or subscription-based plan), and, your mobile operator provisions your PC over the air for their network, including information about your data plan details and Wi-Fi hotspots."
The operator's mobile broadband app is available via the "View my account" link, or from the app's tile on the Start screen. Here, you can see how much data you've used, pay your bill, manage your account, and get customer support.
Anders also revealed that "Windows 8 includes support for popular Wi-Fi hotspot authentication types, including WISPr (Wireless Internet Services Provider roaming), EAP-SIM/AKA/AKA Prime (SIM-based authentication), and EAP-TTLS (popular on university campuses)." Addin, he said "Windows manages the authentication for you when you come within range of a Wi-Fi network that uses one of these methods, so you won't have to re-authenticate each time (for instance, by going to a web page)."
"On a PC that has both mobile broadband and Wi-Fi, we'll move you from MB to the less costly Wi-Fi network automatically whenever Wi-Fi is available, again reducing your mobile broadband usage and your potential for bill shock," he said.
He notes, another way "we optimize your bandwidth usage is by changing the Windows Update download behavior. For users, who've turned on automatic updating, Windows Update will defer the background download of all updates until you connect to a non-metered network, such as your home broadband connection. This doesn't apply to fixed-line broadand."
And, to help you manage your mobile broadband data usage, "mobile operators are allowed to alert you as you approach your bandwidth cap."
The Windows 8 task manager provides more granular information if you want to know how much data a particular app has consumed on the network.
Watch the video below that demonstrates some of the new wireless networking features and enhancements in Windows 8: