Microsoft Windows CE 3.0  

NDIS Network Drivers

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Windows CE Platform Builder version 2.0 and later supports the Network Driver Interface Specification (NDIS). NDIS refers to the interface by which one or more local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) adapter drivers communicate with one or more underlying network adapters, with one or more overlying protocol drivers, and with the operating system. The Windows CE communications architecture provides support for NDIS version 4.0. Windows CE version 3.0 supports an array of new features that include intermediate drivers, NDISWAN, Toen Ring, an improved binding of adapters, a layered miniport structure, and an enhanced testing application (NDISTest).

The network driver interface specification (NDIS) is the mechanism by which the Windows CE operating system (OS) supports network connectivity. NDIS provides a pair of abstraction layers that are used to connect networking drivers to protocol stacks, such as TCP/IP and Infrared Data Association (IrDA), and to network adapters, such as Ethernet cards. NDIS presents two sets of application programming interfaces (APIs) for writers of network drivers: one set interfaces to the networking protocol stacks and one set interfaces to network interface cards (NICs).

Windows CE versions 2.0 and later implement a subset of the NDIS 4.0 model that is used by Microsoft Windows NT, enabling OEMs and independent hardware vendors (IHVs) to port existing Windows NT networking drivers to Windows CE. The full NDIS supports several types of network drivers, but Windows CE versions 2.0 and later support only miniport drivers and intermediate drivers, but not monolithic or full NIC drivers.

For miniport drivers, Windows CE is largely source-code-compatible with Windows NT. This means that, with a few exceptions, Windows CE and Windows NT support identical NDIS APIs. Consult the Microsoft Windows NT Device Driver Kit for extended information on how to write a miniport driver. Because full documentation is available in the Microsoft Windows NT Device Driver Kit, this documentation does not discuss at length the process of writing miniport drivers. Miniport drivers are complex pieces of software, and for this reason Microsoft recommends that you adapt one of the sample miniport drivers or port an existing miniport driver from another OS, such as Windows NT, rather than writing one from scratch.

For a complete list of the NDIS APIs that are supported on Windows CE, including information on the minor differences between the Windows CE API and its Windows NT counterpart, consult the Microsoft Windows CE API Reference.

 Last updated on Tuesday, July 13, 2004

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