Wi-Fi Direct allows P2P connections without Wi-Fi hot spots (w/ Video)

Oct 26, 2010 by Lin Edwards report

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Wi-Fi Alliance has begun certifying laptop components incorporating the new Wi-Fi Direct technology, which provides peer-to-peer (P2P) Wi-Fi connections between devices such as cameras and smart phones without the need for a Wi-Fi access point or Wi-Fi network.

Chief Executive Officer of the Wi-Fi Alliance, Edgar Figueroa, said the new technology was groundbreaking and would, for example, allow a salesperson making a sales presentation by using a smart phone or laptop to send slides or video to a projector without the need for wiring. Another example is a camera taking pictures on the upper deck of a cruise ship, which could instantly upload picture data to a laptop on the deck below. The technology would also allow people to play a game in real time on separate hand held devices, even in places with no Wi-Fi hotspot, such as on a train, Figueroa said.

Data is transferred at up to 250 Mbit/sec over a range of about 180 meters without the need for a Wi-Fi access point. In a pair of devices only one of them needs to have Wi-Fi Direct installed. P2P communication would be initiated by entering a personal identification number or pressing a button on the Wi-Fi Direct enabled device, and then the second device would present a screen requesting permission to connect to the first. The technology also includes power-saving features aimed at extending .

Like other P2P networks, the security may be a concern for some, but Figueroa said the technology includes WPA2 and , that “security is baked into every connection,” and security protection is automatic and does not need to be set up manually. The certification specification also focuses on corporate security. It allows companies to designate parts of the corporate wireless LAN to allow Wi-Fi Direct communication, or to block its use entirely.

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The Wi-Fi Alliance has already certified five products (mostly laptop components) as Wi-Fi Direct ready. The products include an Intel Centrino internal PCI half mini card, Broadcom and Ralink PCI half mini cards, and Realtek and Atheros PCI mini cards. Wi-Fi Direct technology is expected to appear in the near future in many portable devices such as , MP3 players and cameras, and in devices such as television sets.

The Wi-Fi Alliance is a global non-profit trade association of over 350 companies. The Wi-Fi Certified program began in March 2000 to help ensure the quality and interoperability of devices.

Explore further: Time Warner Cable says outages largely resolved (Update)

More information: www.wi-fi.org/Wi-Fi_Direct.php

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User comments : 8

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Eikka
not rated yet Oct 26, 2010
How is this different from setting up an ad-hoc network?
freemind
5 / 5 (1) Oct 26, 2010
How is this different from setting up an ad-hoc network?

Ad-hoc networks' highest level of security is WEP. Wi-Fi Direct supports WPA2. Another thing, Wi-Fi Direct devices can also simultaneously connect to existing wireless networks.
Eikka
not rated yet Oct 26, 2010
Ad-hoc networks' highest level of security is WEP.


That's only a problem for older operating systems like Windows XP. WPA2 is available for ad-hoc networks.
CreepyD
3 / 5 (2) Oct 26, 2010
Awesome, we could finally see the end of Bluetooth. I hate bluetooth!
Skultch
5 / 5 (2) Oct 26, 2010
Great....more interference. Areas already congested on the 2.4 band are going to suffer even more since this will certainly be at higher power than Bluetooth and on the same exact channels. :( Oh look, 5 GHz, too....awesome. Older laptops without antennae diversity are going to suffer.

The only way I see this not interfering with enterprise networks is if they use channel shifting, or slightly off band, links. There is nothing in their white papers or FAQ that suggests they are doing this.

I know these people are smart and all, so I'll have a wait-and-see approach, but I'm not optimistic.
Royale
not rated yet Oct 26, 2010
that's a great point Skultch, as if 2.4Ghz isn't already overcrowded. I think physically in order for them to be properly off band (assuming software can't achieve that, they would have to be fractal antenna, but designed differently). I suspect that that would mean they could only be one band or at the very least fractally, it would put them off-band for everything else. (i.e. getting onto existing wireless infrastructure). I guess I'll need to "wait-and-see" too.
PinkElephant
4 / 5 (1) Oct 26, 2010
@CreepyD,

Bluetooth isn't going away. It fits a very different usage profile (wireless headphones, personal-area network, etc.) where ultra-short range and ultra-low power are required.

Wireless USB appears to target short-range applications (such as room-wide or house-wide networks.)

This new Wi-Fi Direct, being just a variation on Wi-Fi, is a medium-range standard (building-wide/neighborhood-wide.)

Then at long-range we have stuff like WiMax or something analogous.

Each has its niche and purpose.
jeffpinkham
not rated yet Oct 27, 2010
My friends at GreenPacket have been doing that for a long time.
It's great that this technology is becoming mainstream