Feeds

Wi-Fi Alliance readies peer-to-peer wireless tech

The days of complementing Bluetooth are over

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Peer-to-peer, personal area Wi-Fi, anyone? That's what the Wi-Fi Alliance will soon be touting, pitching a direct-connection extension of the WLAN technology as an alternative not only to Bluetooth but also Wireless USB.

The WFA said yesterday that it was "nearing completion" of the specification, though it doesn't expect to be able to certify devices' compatibility with the new spec and interoperability with each other until the middle of 2010.

Essentially, Wi-Fi Direct will allow devices to talk to each other one-to-one on an ad hoc basis rather than over a network connection. It will also support one-to-many connections.

Links can be protected using WPA 2 security, the Alliance said.

The underpinning transport will presumably be 802.11n - using a single antenna, we'd say, to help keep the power requirement as low as possible - with the Wi-Fi Direct specification centring on how devices can discover nearby compatible gadgets and negotiate connections with them while hiding the complexity from users.

The WFA anticipates gadgets like cameras, phones, games consoles, TVs, music players and the like will use Wi-Fi Direct in place of Bluetooth, so the UI will be need to be simple and straightforward. It will also have to work with UI-less devices like mice and keyboards - both targets for Wi-Fi Direct.

It's not yet clear whether such devices will need just one Wi-Fi adaptor for networking - which many of them already possess - and for Direct links, or they will need a second radio for the peer-to-peer tech.

A single radio will appeal to vendors, who are always keen to keep the number of components in their products down, for cost reasons. For punters, the pitch is data transfer speed, which the WFA claimed would match what you get from WLANs today. Wi-Fi is already well ahead of the peak 3Mb/s you get with Bluetooth Extended Data Rate.

Ironically, Bluetooth 3.0 has a "high speed" component which sits on top of Wi-Fi. It is also supposed to have an ultrawideband component, but its future is murky following the March 2009 decision of the WiMedia Alliance, to body behind the foundation UWB technology, to disband. The WMA left its work in progress with the Bluetooth SIG and the Wireless USB Promotor Group. The latter was using WiMedia's tech is its own radio layer.

Unlike Bluetooth 3.0, Wireless USB is available to use in products right now, and the USB Implementers Forum website currently lists 119 of them. But the technology is hardly ubiquitous. Not so Wi-Fi, which is commonplace, and so perhaps stands a better chance of broad adoption. Wi-Fi is well known as a wireless technology - mention USB and everyone thinks of cables.

But the sheer volume of legacy devices means that Bluetooth won't be going away any time soon, no matter how superior the WFA's alternative turn out to be. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
Surprise: if you work from home you need the Internet
Buffer-rage sends Aussies out to experience road rage
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
MOST iPhone strokers SPURN iOS 8: iOS 7 'un-updatening' in 5...4...
Guess they don't like our battery-draining update?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.