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Microsoft just made this 'huge change' to its Windows 11 subsystem for Android

Windows Subsystem for Linux gets advanced networking on ARM devices and VPN support.
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Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on
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Image: Getty

Microsoft has updated its Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) on Windows 11 with a "huge change to networking" – thanks to new functionality available in its Advanced Networking feature. 

Windows Subsystem for Android allows Windows 11 devices to run Android applications that are available in the Amazon Appstore

Microsoft rolled out advanced networking in May for its subsystem for running Android apps on Windows 11 PCs. 

SEE: Microsoft launches Entra: A new identity and access family of products

That change allowed Android apps to connect to smart devices on the same local network as a Windows PC. Advanced networking was also made 'on' by default for newer x64 Windows builds for PCs with Intel and AMD chips.

The "huge change to networking" in the latest release of WSA includes Android app access to local network devices for ARM computers. Also, WSA now has support for IPv6 and VPN (virtual private network) connectivity, according to Microsoft's Windows blog covering WSA's July updates

Advanced networking allows users to set up smart home devices such as speakers and security cameras with a compatible Android app. As Microsoft explained in May, users can then play conent on a speaker on the same network, or set up a security camera or other smart home device, so long as it has a compatible Android app. 

Another change Microsoft notes is that WSA now has the same IP address as the host machine/computer rather than its own IP address. This change is reflected in the developer section of the WSA Settings app by the removal of the the WSA virtual machine's IP address.

WSA runs in a Hyper-V VM for compatibility with open-source Android and Windows device interfaces, such as mouse and keyboard. Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) also runs in a VM. Users need to install WSA and the Amazon App Store from the Microsoft Store, and also enable virtualization in Windows 11 to run WSA and Android apps on it. 

Microsoft launched the WSA preview last October with support for processors from AMD, Intel and Qualcomm. With Intel technology, WSA can run apps that were made for Arm only on hardware with Intel and AMD chips. 

At the moment only US users can install Android apps from the Amazon Appstore preview, but Windows users in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom will be able to test the preview by the end of 2022.   

SEE: Windows 11: Microsoft gives Notepad an update it thinks you will enjoy

While Microsoft has enabled IPv6 and VPN Connectivity, some VPNs still have stability issues when Advanced Networking is enabled in the WSA Settings app. 

Microsoft has also added AV1 Codec support, updated WSA to Chromium WebView 101, and applied the May Android kernel patches. 

These updates are available in WSA version 2205.40000.14.0, which is shipping to US Windows 11 users in all Windows Insiders channels. More details are available in Microsoft's blogpost

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