I've got several domain-member laptops which commonly roam to places where there aren't any network ports available. Occasionally, during these times, the laptop may be used by someone who has not logged into it previously - therefore, they cannot rely on cached credentials to allow them onto the system.
We also have a fairly ubiquitous wireless network that allows us to connect using our domain accounts for 802.1X authentication. Under this configuration, the Dell WLAN Card Utility has a feature which allows the system to connect to the wireless network at logon (after the user has entered their credentials) prior to attempting authentication to the domain for local system access.
Here's the option in the configuration screen:
Here's the feature in action, just after submitting user credentials at the login screen. This occurs before allowing the user local access to the system. The computer initializes the wireless adapter, searches for the wireless network, authenticates to the wireless network (presumably with the supplied user credentials), grabs an IP address, and then searches for a Domain Controller. Once the Domain Controller is found, the user (if authenticated) is then logged in to the local system.
The above screenshots are from Server 2003, but I'm upgrading the laptops to Server 2008 and would rather not install the vendor-specific utility if it is not needed. Is this a feature that is built-in to newer versions of Windows? If so, how do I enable it without having to use the vendor-specific configuration utility? Could the configuration be pushed through a GPO?