The curious invasion of my network from Peloton's Ruby

I picked up a physical copy of a CD earlier today and with Amazon’s MP3 AutoRip service was able to download the MP3s right away. I snagged the MP3s and was going to store them on my Plex server and opened up Network and was kind of awestruck as there were 2 devices on my network that I didn’t know: “ruby” by Peloton International (I don’t own a Peloton - although I think they are pretty cool) and a network connected Bravia TV (I also don’t own one of these and/or if I did would never let it broadcast out). I immediately logged onto my router and checked the MAC addresses and didn’t see anything connected at all for these two devices. Bewildered, I went back to the Network tab and tried to figure out how I saw these. My main box is only networked via cable and doesn’t have wifi so that this box couldn’t be accepting connections for these two devices, yet here they were. The only thing I could tell about them was their mac addresses so I started to google and saw what I could find. Eventually, I got to the docs for an API that Windows 7-10 uses called Windows Connect Now. From the docs:

“Windows Connect Now (WCN) provides a simple and secure mechanism for network access points and devices (like printers, camera, and PCs) to connect and exchange settings. This API is the Microsoft implementation of the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)/Wi-Fi Simple > Configuration (WSC) protocol, which was created by the Wi-Fi Alliance as a solution for home networking and small businesses. This technology is not intended for enterprise scenarios.”

So the key here is that it is looking over WPS/WSC protocol and it is walking to your lead router when it does this. My router won’t list these devices because they are not authenticated on the network. However, they CAN be authenticated as this protocol is just asking “who is out there that can connect” vs “who is connected.” So I think that Windows 10 is going to the router, grabbing a list of potential devices and then displaying that in network settings. The way it gets this is via WPS on the router. I recently installed a new router, so I went to the settings and low and behold I didn’t cut off WPS on the router. I switched off WPS. Seems to have cleared these guys up. It is good to know though that I have a neighbor somewhere that I can ask about their Peloton though.