How long were the 802.11g
wireless products in development? How many people were on the
We have been developing our wireless networking products for more than
three years. Some of the components of the 802.11g products, such as the
easy to use Setup Wizard, Broadband Network Utility (BNU) and
Auto-Update feature, have been in development since the beginning. The
hardware development specific to 802.11g started later. Many talented
people contributed to the development of these products.
How is the technology
contrast between 802.11b and 802.11g? Did the faster speeds present any
802.11g is a next generation wireless networking technology that
operates at the same frequency (2.4GHz) as 802.11b. Because it operates
at the same frequency and supports the same data modulation scheme,
802.11g is backward compatible with 802.11b. The key benefits to
separate our 802.11g products from our 802.11b products are its
increased throughput, enhanced security and the CE platform. While
802.11b has a maximum speed of 11Mbps, 802.11g can transfer data at up
to 54Mbps. Our 802.11g products support WPA, have a commercial grade
hardware SPI firewall, and feature advanced parental controls built on
the Windows CE platform running inside our Base Station. The features
and functionality included in our newest lineup of home networking
products take advantage of the latest wireless technologies. Four new
802.11g products — the Wireless Base Station, Wireless PCI adapter,
Notebook adapter and USB
— provide easy
installation, high performance and improved security features. An easy
Setup Wizard, Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and premier parental controls
enable users to experience wireless
freedom at up to five times the speed of a typical 802.11b home network.
Supporting WPA, Parental Controls and
other advanced features presented some development challenges - but they
were all successfully resolved by leveraging the Windows CE platform
inside of our Base Station. The Base Station runs on Windows CE.net 4.2.
Where do you see the future
of Microsoft's involvement in wireless networking heading?
According to Gartner analysts, Wi-Fi
adoption will increase ten-fold in the next four years. Microsoft
continues to examine the evolution of wireless technology. We will
closely watch standards-based solutions, fully ratified by IEEE
What was it like developing
the Xbox Live adapter? Did you actually have some fun on the job testing
It was great working with the Xbox Live team to develop the Xbox
Wireless Adapter. Xbox developed the software setup, and Microsoft
Hardware developed the hardware and then integrated the hardware,
software and firmware. Everyone on the product testing team had fun
because their job involved playing great Xbox Live games such as Mech
Assault and NFL Fever 2004. The best part for me was when I
got to replace the 20 foot Ethernet cable in my condo with the XWA and
play Xbox Live wirelessly at home.
What advantages does the
newly released USB 2.0 Desktop adapter have over its predecessor?
This adapter allows consumers to connect additional desktop computers to
their wireless home networks by taking advantage of easy-to-access USB
ports found on most computers today. The new Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter
capitalizes on 802.11g by taking full advantage of its speed, and is
backward compatible with 802.11b Wi-Fi networks as well as most USB
ports (2.0, 1.1, 1.0). The new Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter also comes
equipped with Microsoft’s critically acclaimed software with default
security. The adapter provides flexible support for all popular wireless
security protocols including Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and Wired
Equivalent Privacy (WEP), meant for the home or small office, as well as
802.1x, designed for the enterprise environment.
features are built in to the Microsoft Wireless G network products?
Microsoft Wireless-G products come equipped with WPA, which essentially
means increased security for people using the wireless features of
Windows XP. In comparing WPA to WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), the big
difference with WPA is that the encryption key used for each packet is
different and unrelated to any other key. Therefore, it is not possible
to figure out the pre-shared key by only looking at encrypted packets.
There are also other additions with WPA to prevent forged packets and
replay attacks. The Microsoft Wireless-G Base Station also includes a
robust commercial grade hardware SPI firewall - to protect customers
from Internet intruders - and advanced parental controls.
What do you feel makes these
Microsoft broadband networking products superior over its competitors?
Microsoft set out
enable all users – from the expert to the novice – to bring simple,
seamless and secure wireless connectivity into their home or small
unique Setup Wizard
makes it easy for anyone to setup a wireless home network in about 10
default wireless encryption
sets Microsoft apart from the rest, with an unparalleled hardware
firewall, hacker-proof features and parental controls.
Most routers or gateways
on the market today come with wireless encryption turned off. Wireless
encryption in the Microsoft home networking products is turned on
automatically in the software set-up because we believe this feature
reduces the likelihood of human error during the set-up process.
our Proprietary Auto Update
service takes the guesswork out of maintenance and keeps you up-to-date
with ever-changing software enhancements and technological advances.
What do you like best
about your job?
I truly enjoy developing and launching products that I am passionate
about, and I am passionate about Wi-Fi. I have seen how it can change
the way people access the Internet, increase their mobility and
productivity, and allow them to experience wireless gaming. Microsoft is
dedicated to providing a quality customer experience with each product
they make, and I am proud of the strides we have made in solving
problems such as ease of setup and security.
Do you have anything else
We have received great feedback from the press, retailers and customers
about this product line. We launched our Wireless-G products in
September, and by October they were the #2 selling 802.11g brand in U.S.
retail. We have market data that shows we are the easiest product to
setup, and we feel great about the impact we have made on wireless
Interested in doing an interview?
contact us for more information.