What's New

Windows Server 2003 introduces a whole new array of networking and communications technologies. In keeping with the traditions of networking and communications, most of these new technologies are referred to by incomprehensible acronyms: UPnP, SIPS, BITS, and so forth. In this chapter, however, we'll lift the veil of mystery and show you how these new technologies will make an impact on your network.

Perhaps the most important new networking technology in Windows Server 2003 is IPv6. You're no doubt familiar with TCP/IP, but you're most likely familiar only with IPv4, the version of the IP protocol that has been around since the explosive growth of the Internet in the early 1990s. Although that explosive growth made IP familiar to millions of people, it also presented some significant challenges. Most importantly, everyone realized that the IPv4 protocol's addressing scheme wasn't designed to support the number of computers that are now on the Internet. As a result, the number of available IP addresses has been rapidly decreasing over the past few years, requiring many Internet service providers (ISPs) to severely ration the IP addresses they issue and requiring networking innovators to create many new technologies to work around the lack of available addresses. IPv6 is designed to fix all that, with an enormous new addressing space and, of course, new concepts to remember.

Windows Server 2003 also includes all the networking improvements originally introduced in Windows XP Professional, such as improved wireless support, new networking diagnostic tools, and much more. Many of these features are more suitable for a client operating system such as Windows XP Professional than for a server, but you might find applications for them in your environment. Some of the most important new Windows Server 2003 networking technologies include

  • Support for the IPSec network security protocol over Network Address Translation (NAT)? This is a capability that improves the security of virtual private networks (VPNs) and other communications. Windows Server 2003 also supports IPSec with the included Network Load Balancing (NLB) service, allowing farms of Windows Server 2003 computers to receive IPSec traffic.

  • Support for Point-to-Point over Ethernet (PPPoE)? This allows Windows Server 2003 to connect directly to many broadband service providers, especially cable and xDSL providers, without the need for additional software. PPPoE is a popular protocol in the broadband market because it enables providers to dynamically provide IP addressing information to clients over a high-speed Ethernet connection.

  • Enhancements to the Internet Authentication Service (IAS), Windows's bundled RADIUS-compatible authentication service.