Thanks to the Network Location Awareness feature in Windows Vista and Windows 7, Group Policy can respond better to changing network conditions and no longer relies on ICMP (ping) for policy application. Network Location Awareness ensures that a computer is aware of the type of network to which it is currently connected—in other words, whether the computer is on a home, public, or work network—and is responsive to changes in the system status or network configuration. This gives Group Policy access to the resource detection and event notification capabilities in the operating system, allowing Group Policy to determine when a computer is in standby mode or resuming from hibernation, as well as when a network connection has been disabled or disconnected. In cases where the network isn't available, Group Policy won't wait for the network, allowing for faster startup.
Because ICMP (ping) is no longer used for slow link detection, business networks can filter this protocol on their firewalls. Group Policy uses Network Location Awareness to determine the network bandwidth. When mobile users connect to a business network, Group Policy can detect the availability of a domain controller and initiate a background refresh of policy over the VPN connection.
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