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Wi-Fi Direct creates peer-to-peer links, rivals Bluetooth

updated 08:10 am EDT, Wed October 14, 2009

Wi-Fi Direct standard due in mid-2010

The Wi-Fi Alliance today unveiled a new standard it hopes will make Wi-Fi the de facto standard for peer-to-peer wireless. Known as Wi-Fi Direct, it will turn any supporting device into an access point and let it auto-discover other compatible hardware nearby. The technique will not only simplify ad hoc networks, reducing the need for a dedicated router, but will let peripherals use Wi-Fi where they couldn't have before: cameras, mice and other devices could work without needing any special setup.

The implementation potentially threatens Bluetooth as it fulfills largely the same role but transfers at Wi-Fi speeds, which in the case of 802.11n can be 30 times faster than 3Mbps Bluetooth in real-world conditions. However, Bluetooth typically uses much less power and is more likely to be used for input and other devices that aren't dependent on speed.

The Alliance expects a quick turnaround for Wi-Fi Direct and should see it built into shipping products by mid-2010. However, many Wi-Fi devices will be firmware upgradable. Intel plans to promote the standard when it introduces an updated Wi-Fi chipset early next year, alongside the launch of its Arrandale notebook processors.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Tanker10a

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Hasn't Airport been operating this way since way back?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Airport

    No. You would need to change your wireless settings to become an ad-hoc network. Then it acts as both. Other computers then need to specifically 'join' your network. And, at that point, you're just sharing your network connection.

    This is more about auto-discovery, auto-connection, and real peer-to-peer connections. Like Bluetooth does (well, bluetooth on most phones, at least).

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