WiFi Direct to Offer Consumers More Flexibility

wifiThis looks to be a welcome change coming down the pike. The WiFi Alliance is announcing that a new technology, WiFi Direct, will become available in 2010. Essentially WiFi Direct will turn most WiFi equipped devices into a hot spot making it easier to share files and communicate among devices. The direct connection between devices is indeed promising, and it will most likely make the next era of WiFi communications a bit easier for those who have fears of routers and the like. Of course you’ll still want a router in your home, I’m guessing, even though the new technology which will be built into consumer devices will scan for existing hot spots and devices close by.

The really good news about this is that it appears that owners of many WiFi equipped devices will be able to take advantage of this by a software upgrade and not have to necessarily spring for new devices.

Let’s just hope that we don’t see a whole new range of DRM to keep things from moving back and forth between devices freely.

Press release after the jump.

Upcoming Wi-Fi CERTIFIEDâ„¢ Wi-Fi Direct program will make it easy to connect devices directly to one another in a new kind of Wi-Fi network

Austin, Texas, October 14, 2009 - Wi-Fi devices will soon be able to connect in a new way that makes it more simple and convenient than ever to do things like print, share and display. The Wi-Fi Alliance is nearing completion of a new specification to enable Wi-Fi devices to connect to one another without joining a traditional home, office, or hotspot network. The Wi-Fi Alliance expects to begin certification for this new specification in mid-2010, and products which achieve the certification will be designated Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Direct.

Advertisement

The specification, previously code-named “Wi-Fi peer-to-peer,” 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. Significantly, devices that have been certified to the new specification will also be able to create connections with hundreds of millions of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED legacy devices already in use. Devices will be able to make a one-to-one connection, or a group of several devices can connect simultaneously.

“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.”

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.  Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Direct devices will support typical Wi-Fi ranges and the same data rates as can be achieved with an infrastructure connection, so devices can connect from across a home or office and conduct bandwidth-hungry tasks with ease.

“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.”

Advertisement

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.

Comments

  1. Sumocat says

    I don’t see many worthwhile ways to avoid routers with this. If you want to share an Internet connection, a routing system would still be required. One of the connected computers could act as a router, but that’s just a router of a different name.

    The real breakthrough, I think, is that it offers Bluetooth-type connectivity without the data restraints. It’s suitable to transmit HD video from a PC to a wifi-equipped monitor, send massive print jobs directly to a printer, or play uncompressed audio to headphones. Going to be harder to justify Bluetooth after this gets put into place… unless the inevitable DRM limitations foul those possibilities.

  2. turn.self.off says

    one may not avoid a router, but one do avoid a AP, in that if this becomes wide spread, anything with a ethernet port and a wifi antenna can become a AP.

    also, a welcome anything that will allow a common file browse/transfer standard, either by way of wifi, or generic enough to work on any network connection.

    right now the “best” options are smb and ftp, and both have issues, imo…

    however, if its going to handle keyboards and maybe even handsfree, we need to see wifi radios that are short range and low power…

Leave a Reply