Feeds

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

The days of complementing Bluetooth are over

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.