updated 09:55 am EDT, Mon October 25, 2010
Wi-Fi Direct devices now being certified
The Wi-Fi Alliance today started certifying devices to use Wi-Fi Direct, its new standard for creating point-to-point links. The standard builds on the basic concept behind Bluetooth and lets a Wi-Fi device pair directly with another without having to first join a local network. The method makes it possible to share media from a phone, play multiplayer games or otherwise communicate directly, even when no router exists
The approach potentially trumps its rival since only one of the devices needs to support Wi-Fi Direct to make the connection. Wi-Fi's inherent nature also means it can work up to the maximum distance of Wi-Fi, roughly 300 feet, where Bluetooth can only reach about 33 feet, and transfer at the peak speed of the fastest device in the equation. Every pairing sets up with WPA2 encryption to keep the transfer private.
The initial hardware to work with Direct includes Intel's Centrino 6200 chipset as well as chipsets from Atheros, Broadcom, Ralink and Realtek. Shipping products haven't been mentioned so far and may need updates or fresh implementations.
Wi-Fi Direct may open the door to relatively simple media syncing as it could let a handheld talk directly to its host computer and transfer data far more efficiently. It could also be used in place of Bluetooth to find local players on a platform like iOS.