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Wi-Fi Direct promises range, bandwidth higher than Bluetooth

by Prasad Krishna last modified Apr 02, 2011 08:13 AM
Sharing, printing and connecting for Wi-Fi devices is going to be more convenient than ever with soon-to-be-launched technology Wi-Fi Direct, which enables devices to connect to each other without a conventional Wi-Fi hub. This article by Ramkumar Iyer was published in the Hindu on 31 October 2010.
Wi-Fi Direct promises range, bandwidth higher than Bluetooth

Screenshot from the Wi-Fi Alliance Website showing a simple Wi-Fi network.

Previously known as Peer-to-Peer Wi-Fi, this new technology will allow the Wi-Fi Direct enabled devices to connect directly to each other anytime, anywhere.

It's much like Bluetooth except that it promises typical Wi-Fi range (up to 200 metres) and bandwidth (up to 250 mbps) much higher than what Bluetooth technology offers.

Moreover, the devices have a quick set-up mechanism, follow the latest security protocols and can easily connect to existing Wi-Fi networks.

Seamless usage

It means that the huge variety of existing Wi-Fi applications can be used with the new technology seamlessly.

The Wi-Fi Alliance — a coalition of technology industry giants that does the research and standardisation in Wi-Fi — announced on October 25 that it had begun certifying devices as being compatible with the new technology protocol. 

According to the Wi-Fi Alliance Website, the technology can be implemented in any device such as cameras, mobiles, laptops and human interface devices.

Single-tech solution

“The Wi-Fi users worldwide will benefit from a single-technology solution to transfer content and share applications quickly and easily among devices, even when a Wi-Fi access point isn't available,” said Wi-Fi Alliance Executive Director Edgar Figueroa in a press release. 

The technology is aimed at both consumer and enterprise applications and has a vast range of applications which aim at making gaming, sharing, printing and remote operations simpler and convenient.

While the Wi-Fi Direct's entry into the market may present new opportunities for application developers, it may be argued that such kind of range and speed can be easily misused.

Security consciousness

Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT-Madras, agrees: “This technology poses a security risk because if just one device in a group is compromised, almost all the devices in the group are at risk too. And this is especially true of organisations, because unlike in the past, wireless data transfers can now take place without the organisation being able to monitor them and particularly over a larger area. 

“People will now have to be more security conscious than ever. Especially, the ones with a previous case of security breach.”

End of Bluetooth?

Wi-Fi Direct not only has all the features of Bluetooth, but boasts superior transfer speeds and range. Does this mean the demise of Bluetooth? 

Experts speculate that Bluetooth will not be affected much.

“In an existing market where there are millions of Bluetooth-enabled devices, it is unlikely that any manufacturer will retire the technology just because of a new one.

“Bluetooth will not be affected much; at least in the next couple of years,” said Sunil Abraham, Executive Director of Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore.

Read the original in the Hindu

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ASPI-CIS Partnership


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