Print 15 comment(s) - last by EricMartello.. on Oct 26 at 1:18 PM

Wi-Fi Direct Shares over wireless connection peer-to-peer  (Source:
Wi-fi Direct allows devices to directly connect with no hot spot

The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced a new Wi-Fi specification that allows devices to directly connect to each other. The new specification is called Wi-Fi Direct and it has launched today. 

The alliance has started to certify products for Wi-Fi Direct already and so far there are five certified chipsets ready to be integrated into devices from companies like Atheros, Broadcom, Intel, Ralink, and Realtek. The goal of the new specification and hardware is to allow devices to directly connect to each other to exchange data like files and images without needing a hotspot.

The interesting part of the new specification is that only one of the devices needs Wi-Fi Direct. Any Wi-Fi enabled device can connect to the Wi-Fi Direct device and both devices can share data over the connection.

"We designed Wi-Fi Direct to unleash a wide variety of applications which require device connections, but do not need the internet or even a traditional network," said Edgar Figueroa, CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance.  "Wi-Fi Direct empowers users to connect devices - when, where and how they want to, and our certification program delivers products that work well together, regardless of the brand." 

Wi-Fi Direct is a software suite that will "at some point" be offered for download wirelessly to a device. Presumably that will mean existing devices can take advantage of Wi-Fi Direct as well. The new specification is also secure with connections using WPA2 authentication and encryption. These security protocols are automatically part of launching a Wi-Fi Direct connection.

The new specification has other uses as well and Rob Enderle, an analyst from Enderle Group said, "[Wi-Fi direct will evolve into a way for users to] piggyback on a Wi-Fi Direct network connection and then connect to the Web where you might otherwise not be able to."

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By sprockkets on 10/25/2010 11:28:11 AM , Rating: 4
What was ad-hoc then? Been around since day one. Even if you didn't set ip's windows would still see each other on the 169 auto set ip address scheme.

RE: soooooooo
By nolisi on 10/25/2010 2:33:11 PM , Rating: 3
Ad hoc is a Windows configuration for direct network connections. Not all devices (phones, handheld game consoles) have an ad-hoc mechanism built into the wifi client- and even if they do, it still likely requires some basic knowledge of TCP/IP to make it work, be able to transfer files, etc.

This sounds like a fully functional interface that handles everything from establishing the connection to providing an interface for transfering/communicating wirelessly, and will likely have an API that programmers can call so that their apps (such as games) can establish connection.

When I want to transfer files (pictures, apps, vcards) between android phones, I use Bump, which has an interface to select what I want to transfer, and completes the connection (over the wireless network, unfortunately) between my phone and the destination phone without having to configure TCP/IP, or know the destination address of the phone, or use messy netbios broadcasts that may get discarded as a result of firewall or other security settings. This sounds like a solution/spec for all Wifi capable devices that mitigates several of these issues for non technical users.

RE: soooooooo
By wolrah on 10/25/2010 3:28:48 PM , Rating: 2
Ad-hoc is not a Windows-only thing, it is a defined mode of WiFi. The other mode is "infrastructure" mode, which we all know from every normal access point.

I really don't see what this brings over existing protocols. 802.11 ad-hoc for layer 1/2, IPv4 using APIPA and IPv6 with its normal link-local addressing for layer 3, and Bonjour/Zeroconf or UPnP for discovery. Why reinvent the wheel?

RE: soooooooo
By Chaser on 10/25/2010 4:31:49 PM , Rating: 3
read your last paragraph for the average consumer that buys say a "wifi direct" enabled SLR camera.

Paired but not connected.
By priusone on 10/25/2010 10:09:37 AM , Rating: 2
Wish bluetooth was easier to setup for filesharing. Sure, once the software is downloaded, and everything is confugured it works, but isn't "out of the box" easy to use. Hopefully wifi direct will be.

RE: Paired but not connected.
By Flunk on 10/25/2010 10:14:28 AM , Rating: 2
Bluetooth was not designed to share data, it's designed for secure point to point communications. If you want to share something you should be using Wi-Fi anyway.

RE: Paired but not connected.
By twhittet on 10/25/2010 10:34:20 AM , Rating: 1
Agreed - I wouldn't even want to push pictures over a 2.1 Mbit/s connection.

RE: Paired but not connected.
By fuzzlefizz on 10/25/2010 2:59:37 PM , Rating: 2
By the time wi-fi direct devices are out, there will already be Bluetooth 3.0 devices that push out 24 Mbit/s (although we'll need to see what connection speeds wifi direct will be pushing out). And wouldn't be too much later for Bluetooth 4.0

This looks to be a security nightmare!
By frobizzle on 10/25/2010 10:40:30 AM , Rating: 1
I have looked over the information on the web site (though I have not yet read the white papers.) I see no mention of security whatsoever! This looks to be a new handy entry point for malware

Additionally, as only one of the devices has to be WiFi Direct enabled, how long before advertisers start pushing ads to everyone's phone? This sounds like a lose-lose situation all around!

By joey2264 on 10/25/2010 11:07:58 AM , Rating: 3
RTFA! Any Wifi Direct connection automatically uses WPA2 as part of its connection process. Looks pretty secure to me.

By Visual on 10/25/2010 11:28:46 AM , Rating: 2
how is that a new thing?
ad-hoc wireless network, anyone?

granted, support in mobiles has been non-existent, but the standard itself exists.

RE: ad-hoc
By Souka on 10/25/2010 12:31:51 PM , Rating: 2
No doubt.. ad-hoc.

They did say only one device needs to support it.. so it's really a hotspot which allows one other device to connect.

Of if thye both supprot it, a bridge.

Err...isn't this ad-hoc support?
By Wolfpup on 10/25/2010 11:43:14 AM , Rating: 2
Surprised the article doesn't address how this is different.

Good idea
By Tom Kamkari on 10/25/2010 7:09:18 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like a good idea, love to test it out, and see exactly how it is in real world use.

No, it's not "ad-hoc" WiFi
By EricMartello on 10/26/2010 1:18:56 PM , Rating: 2
There seems to be much confusing about WiFi Direct being a new and exciting name for and "ad-hoc" WiFi connection. The functionality is essentially the same, but the key difference is the implementation. Ad-hoc connections depend on the device having support for it, and it was not implemented according to any standards. It's not "windows only", it's more like device-only. The Sony PSP supported ad-hoc wifi connections to allow people to play games without the need for a router...some routers support ad-hoc connections to other routers...but not according to any standard specifications. WiFi Direct is basically just a set of standards that are added into the 802.11 spec to make ad-hoc connectivity universal.

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