Wi-Fi Direct Brings P2P Transfer To Wi-Fi Devices, Rivals Bluetooth - HotHardware
Wi-Fi Direct Brings P2P Transfer To Wi-Fi Devices, Rivals Bluetooth

Wi-Fi Direct Brings P2P Transfer To Wi-Fi Devices, Rivals Bluetooth

There was once a time where the Bluetooth SIG was looking into pairing BT devices with Bluetooth, and even now, Bluetooth 3.0 relies on 802.11n for high-speed transfers. But we get the feeling that Wi-Fi wouldn't think twice of stabbing that "other" short-range communication protocol in the back, as evidenced by a new release by the kind folks over at the Wi-Fi Alliance.

The Wi-Fi Direct program, as it's so innocently called, could honestly spell the death of Bluetooth. We know, we know--BT has a solid following, but it never has worked perfectly well 100% of the time. Connection drops, short ranges and pairing conflicts always held it back, while Wi-Fi seemed to creep into the hardest of hearts with ease. Formerly known as Wi-Fi peer-to-peer, the new solution aims to enabled Wi-Fi devices to speak directly to one another without first needing to route signal through a WLAN router or other access point. In other words, Wi-Fi is about to do what Bluetooth has been doing for years.

The Wi-Fi Alliance expects to begin certification for this new specification in mid-2010, and we suspect products certified will ship shortly thereafter. We're told that the spec can be implemented in any Wi-Fi device, from mobile phones, cameras, printers, and notebook computers, to human interface devices such as keyboards and headphones. Devices will be able to make a one-to-one connection, or a group of several devices can connect simultaneously. The specification targets both consumer electronics and enterprise applications, provides management features for enterprise environments, and includes WPA2 security. Devices that support the specification will be able to discover one another and advertise available services.

Honestly, this has the potential to really change how we see Wi-Fi devices and how we look at ad hoc connections. Leeching off of someone else's connection could get a whole lot easier, and device-to-device sharing could be revolutionized. Needless to say, we're excited, and you should be too.

"Wi-Fi Direct represents a leap forward for our industry.  Wi-Fi users worldwide will benefit from a single-technology solution to transfer content and share applications quickly and easily among devices, even when a Wi-Fi access point isn't available," said Wi-Fi Alliance executive director Edgar Figueroa. "The impact is that Wi-Fi will become even more pervasive and useful for consumers and across the enterprise."

 "With Wi-Fi technology already shipping in millions of consumer electronics devices and handsets every year, this is a terrific innovation for the industry," said Victoria Fodale, senior analyst and market intelligence manager at In-Stat. "Empowering devices to move content and share applications without having to join a network brings even more convenience and utility to Wi-Fi-enabled devices."

The Wi-Fi Alliance plans to publish its peer-to-peer specification upon completion, and will begin certifying devices for the Wi-Fi Direct designation in 2010.  Only Wi-Fi Alliance member companies will be able to certify devices to the new specification.

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Anyone know the power consumption difference between BT and Wi-Fi? As to devices using which protocol could achieve longer battery life.

On a side note, saw the other day about a nuclear battery the size of a penny that is 10^6 times longer lasting than chemical cells. So soon enough we shouldn't have to care about power consumptions.

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>> ...saw the other day about a nuclear battery the size of a penny that is 10^6 times longer lasting than chemical cells...

I saw the same story, but I'm completely skeptical of these announcements at this point. We've heard almost exactly the same story from someone new ever couple of years for the last 20 years.

I'm now waiting for an actual battery manufacturer to make an announcement... not some researcher who might just be pushing their patents and trying to get more funding.

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In case people are wondering, here's the story about the penny-sized nuclear batteries.


Since you can use this one device for both connecting to the internet and for short range connections (ala Bluetooth), it should cut down on energy and size requirements. In a few years, internet capabilities will be standard on phones anyway, and perhaps this Wifi Direct chip will be as well.

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