The amount of content and information about Windows 10 and Windows 10 for Phone from last week’s WinHEC event in China has been impressive. Some of it has been reaffirmation of things that we already knew (like further explanation of the Universal App development) while other news has been fresh like the Windows 10 for Phone hardware requirements. This latest tidbit likely will fall in the “About Time” category for many who have been using Windows Phone for some time. When we see Windows 10 for Phone roll out later this year it will natively support Wi-Fi Protected Setup, or WPS.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with WPS, it is way of securely connecting to your Wi-Fi network without having to enter in a long password. The idea behind it is that you can have a secure network but not be encumbered by a massively long security key, the significant reason people at home do not setup secure networks. While Windows 8.1 supports WPS today, it is not supported in Windows Phone 8.1 so this change will make it easier for users to connect their devices and keep their networks secure.
In the WPS standards there are four ways that you can connect to a network: PIN, Push Button, NFC and the now somewhat depreciated USB method. Microsoft has outlined that they will be using the Push Button method which is the most common way of doing WPS but will also support the NFC flavor as well, something that newer broadband routers are supporting these days. So what does this really mean for you? Take a look at your broadband router. Depending on your provider and the router you have, you will see a WPS button. If you are connecting a new device to your network, during the connection setup you will push this button and your device will be joined to your network securely without you having to enter in any passwords.
Not every router has this so, especially those over 2-3 years old. Most contemporary routers will have it so if you don’t see it, check with your provider to learn about it and what options you may have.
The NFC element that Microsoft is going to support will make it even easier. If your router supports WPS via NFC (very few do right now) then when you enter into range you can quickly access it without having to physically touch the router and a WPS button.
All of this is good news for Windows 10 and Windows 10 for Phone as it shows that Microsoft is thinking about things they need to do today to get the platform up-to-speed when compared to iOS and Android but also trying to do a bit of future proofing.