Windows Vista SP1 may dramatically change the way that users can connect to the internet without wires. Vista SP1, upon release, may include Microsoft’s new WWAN framework, which would dramatically improve the reliability of mobile broadband with Microsoft’s operating system.
A WWAN framework removes the need for carrier connection applications, and can increase both the ease-of-use and performance of a wireless networking card. Essentially, aircard manufacturers work with the carrier to create a plug-in (basically an advanced device driver). That then enables the operating system to monitor data speeds and connections, as well as download and install necessary updates.
The WWAN framework Microsoft is working on appears to mirror the WWAN framework that Apple has implemented in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Basic support would be as simple as tweaking an existing driver, whereas complete support would allow for data card activation (such as with CDMA aircards) as well as downloading and installing firmware and roaming list updates automatically. It is not clear if Microsoft will deploy their WWAN framework in Vista Service Pack 1, however, it does appear that they are making efforts to at least add underlying support.
If implemented in that manner, future mobile broadband cards would bundle the MS WWAN framework with the driver installation process for the card itself.