Networking / Beginners

Installing Networking Components

If you want to install networking on a computer, you must install Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) networking and a network adapter. Windows Vista uses TCP/IP as the default wide area network (WAN) protocol. Networking is normally installed during Windows Vista installation. You can also install TCP/IP networking through local area connection properties.

Working with TCP/IP and the Dual IP Stack

The TCP and IP protocols make it possible for computers to communicate across various networks and the Internet using network adapters, whether network interface cards, USB-attachable network adapters, PC Card network adapters, or built-in adapters on the motherboard. Windows Vista has a dual IP layer architecture in which both Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) are implemented and share common Transport and Frame layers.

IPv4 and IPv6 are used in very different ways. IPv4 has 32-bit addresses and is the primary version of IP used on most networks, including the Internet. IPv6 has 128-bit addresses and is the next generation version of IP.

IPv4's 32-bit addresses commonly are expressed as four separate decimal values, such as or The four decimal values are referred to as octets because each represents 8 bits of the 32-bit number. With standard unicast IPv4 addresses, a variable part of the IP address represents the network ID and a variable part of the IP address represents the host ID. There is no correlation between a host's IPv4 address and the internal machine (MAC) address used by the host's network adapter.

IPv6's 128-bit addresses are divided into eight 16-bit blocks delimited by colons. Each 16-bit block is expressed in hexadecimal form. With standard unicast IPv6 addresses, the first 64 bits represent the network ID and the last 64 bits represent the network interface. An example of an IPv6 address follows:


Because many IPv6 address blocks are set to 0, a contiguous set of 0 blocks can be expressed as "::", a notation referred to as the double-colon notation. Using double-colon notation, the two 0 blocks in the previous address are compressed as follows:


If there were three or more 0 blocks, they would be compressed in the same way. For example, FFE8:0:0:0:0:0:0:1 becomes FFE8::1.

When networking hardware is detected during installation of the operating system, both IPv4 and IPv6 are enabled by default and there is no need to install a separate component to enable support for IPv6. Windows Vista's modified IP architecture is referred to as the Next Generation TCP/IP stack. Table below summarizes the key TCP/IP enhancements implemented in the Next Generation TCP/IP stack. Table below summarizes the key TCP/IP enhancements that are specific to IPv6.

Key TCP/IP Enhancements in the Next Generation TCP/IP Stack

Features SupportedDescription
Automatic Black Hole Router DetectionPrevents TCP connections from terminating due to intermediate routers silently discarding large TCP segments, retransmissions, or error messages.
Automatic Dead Gateway RetryEnsures that an unreachable gateway is checked periodically to determine whether it has become available.
Compound TCPOptimizes TCP transfers for the sending host by increasing the amount of data sent in a connection while ensuring other TCP connections are not impacted.
Extended Selective AcknowledgmentsExtends the way Selective Acknowledgments (SACKs) are used, enabling a receiver to indicate up to four noncontiguous blocks of received data and to acknowledge duplicate packets. This helps the receiver determine when it has retransmitted a segment unnecessarily and adjust its behavior to prevent future retransmissions.
Modified Fast Recovery AlgorithmProvides faster throughput by altering the way that a sender can increase the sending rate if multiple segments in a window of data are lost and the sender receives an acknowledgment stating only part of the data has been successfully received.
Neighbor Unreachability Detection for IPv4Determines when neighboring nodes and routers are no longer reachable and reports the condition.
Network Diagnostics FrameworkProvides an extensible framework that helps users recover from and troubleshoot problems with network connections.
Receive Window Auto TuningOptimizes TCP transfers for the host receiving data by automatically managing the size of the memory buffer (the receive windows) to use for storing incoming data based on the current network conditions.
Routing CompartmentsPrevents unwanted forwarding of traffic between interfaces by associating an interface or a set of interfaces with a login session that has its own routing tables.
SACK-based Loss RecoveryMakes it possible to use SACK information to perform loss recovery when duplicate acknowledgments have been received and to more quickly recover when multiple segments are not received at the destination.
Spurious Retransmission Timeout DetectionProvides correction for sudden, temporary increases in retransmission timeouts and prevents unnecessary retransmission of segments.
TCP Extended StatisticsHelps determine whether a performance bottleneck for a connection is the sending application, the receiving application, or the network.
Windows Filtering PlatformProvides application programming interfaces (APIs) for extending the TCP/IP filtering architecture so that it can support additional features.

Key TCP/IP Enhancements for IPv6

Features SupportedDescription
DHCPv6-capable DHCP clientExtends the DHCP client to support IPv6 and allows stateful address autoconfiguration with a DHCPv6 server.
IP SecurityAllows use of Internet Key Exchange (IKE) and data encryption for IPv6.
IPv6 over Point-to-Point Protocol (PPPv6)Allows native IPv6 traffic to be sent over PPP-based connections, which in turn allows remote access clients to connect with an IPv6-based Internet service provider (ISP) through dial-up or PPP over Ethernet (PPPoE)-based connections.
Link-Local Multicast Name Resolution (LLMNR)Allows IPv6 hosts on a single subnet without a DNS server to resolve each other's names.
Multicast Listener Discovery version 2 (MLDv2)Provides support for source-specific multicast traffic and is equivalent to Internet Group Management Protocol version 3 (IGMPv3) for IPv4.
Random Interface IDsPrevents address scanning of IPv6 addresses based on the known company IDs of network adapter manufacturers. By default, Windows Vista generates random interface IDs for nontemporary autoconfigured IPv6 addresses, including public and link-local addresses.
Symmetric Network Address TranslatorsMaps the internal (private) address and port number to different external (public) addresses and ports, depending on the external destination address.

Installing Network Adapters

Network adapters are hardware devices that are used to communicate on networks. You can install and configure network adapters by completing the following steps:

  1. Configure the network adapter following the manufacturer's instructions. For example, you might need to use the software provided by the manufacturer to modify the Interrupt setting or the Port setting of the adapter.
  2. If installing an internal network interface card, shut down the computer, unplug it, and install the adapter card in the appropriate slot on the computer. When you're finished, plug in and start the computer.
  3. Windows Vista should detect the new adapter during startup. If you have a separate driver disk for the adapter, you should insert it now. Otherwise, you might be prompted to insert a driver disk.
  4. If networking services aren't installed on the system, install them as described in the next section.
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