Feeds

Wi-Fi starts getting chummy with its peers

Sinks teeth into Bluetooth market

Boost IT visibility and business value

The Wi-Fi Alliance has started certifying devices as being compatible with the new Wi-Fi Direct protocol. The protocol allows devices to connect to each other without an access point.

The technically literate might cry that ad-hoc connections have been part of Wi-Fi since its inception, but this is different - although not very different. Using Wi-Fi Direct, users can browse nearby devices and connect to them at the push of a button, automatically encrypt those connections - and even bring other devices into a little group. It's just like Bluetooth, only faster.

But that's not how the Wi-Fi Alliance sees it of course. In the world of the Alliance there is no Bluetooth, and the things that Bluetooth is used for are just impossible without Wi-Fi Direct - as the promotional video demonstrates:

So now we have the first Wi-Fi-Direct-supporting Wi-Fi cards, and a couple of access points (which surely defeats the object, though who are we to say). But it will be a while before Wi-Fi Direct is ready to replace the incumbent Bluetooth.

Bluetooth leaps about the 2.4GHz band like a gnat on speed, while Wi-Fi of all flavours sit on a single channel and interference be damned. Bluetooth also has an extremely comprehensive sniffing protocol by which devices can be filtered by capability or familiarity, something that has been refined over many years. It now even allows devices to create an ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection, if speed is that important to them. Wi-Fi Direct leaves all that to the software, which risks presenting the user with an inconsistent experience.

But Bluetooth has never really taken off in the USA, partly because in Europe the phone shops demanded that operators gave support for Bluetooth in handsets ('cos the margin on a Bluetooth headset is so attractive). American shops didn't have such sway with the operators and even now Bluetooth isn't widely used.

Wi-Fi is a very respected brand, and that's worth a lot. Taking on Bluetooth directly does risk complicating the experience, and it will be a brave manufacturer who decides to drop Bluetooth support on the basis that Wi-Fi can now do everything. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore
Fresh round of network stats fisticuffs possibly on the cards here
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
What's the nature of your emergency, Vodafone?
Oh, you've dialled the wrong number for ad fibs, rules ASA
EE network whacked by 'PDP authentication failure' blunder
Carrier is 'aware' of cockup, working on a fix NOW
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?