vPro platfroms with no LAN (WLAN only) – AMT limitations


Some new vPro platforms heading our way in 2013 may not have LAN port on-board, therefore only WLAN will be available. This configuration implies of course that Intel AMT will connect via WLAN only.

In general, LAN-less platforms are becoming common in the emerging Ultrabook segment, as Ultrabook requirements put limitations on traditional LAN solutions both in power consumption and in physical size. While the LAN solutions are evolving to handle those new requirements (still LAN is the most reliable and fast communication method in wide use) there are vPro Ultrabooks with WLAN only, and more platforms are anticipated.

Most capabilities of vPro platform are available on the WLAN only systems, including security use cases and the majority of automation use cases. I would like to take this opportunity to remind the AMT IT manager of the key differences between LAN and WLAN in terms of AMT usage:

  • Provisioning:
    • Host-based Configuration (HBC) is the only remote Setup and Configuration method supported in WLAN**
    • HBC over WLAN enables the AMT in Client Control Mode, for which user consent is required for healing scenarios (e.g. KVM or IDE-R). Indeed user presence for some of these use cases fits well with the mobile Ultrabook use models, but this is still a limitation to consider.
    • Notice that provisioning the AMT for Admin Control Mode is still available through local provisioning
  • The vPro based capability "System Defense", enabled by ecosystem solutions like McAfee ePO Deep Command, will not function on WLAN-only systems.

** Note: Usage of a docking station that makes AMT available through Intel LAN is not considered as WLAN only as long as system is docked.