Epson plans Windows Rally wireless products

Microsoft technology makes it easier to install wireless networked devices

Japan's Seiko Epson is planning to develop a range of products based on a Microsoft's Windows Rally technology for wireless networked devices.

Windows Rally is one of a number of new technologies in the Vista operating system and is meant to simplify setup, security, and management of networked devices. Within the Rally family of technologies is Windows Connect Now for easy Wi-Fi setup; Plug and Play Extensions (PnP-x) for easy installation of networked-connected devices; and the Link Layer Topology Discovery protocol for easy discovery of networked devices.

Products making use of the technology will be able to detect devices on the network and then automatically install drivers and configure ports so they are ready for use. Control of devices on the network like printers and scanners will also be possible.

Epson, which is one of the world's largest makers of computer printers, said on Thursday that is has licensed the technology from Microsoft and joined a Microsoft program that will see engineers from the two companies work together on products from the initial design stage.

The company didn't provide any details of products that will include Windows Rally but printers are a likely candidate. At the WinHEC engineering conference in the U.S. Epson demonstrated a multifunction printer with the Rally technology, it said.