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. ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
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.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.