The Wi-Fi alliance, which includes Apple, Microsoft, Cisco and Intel amongst its members, announced that they will release a new technology that will make it easier for electronic gadgets to exchange data. The technology will be called Wi-Fi Direct, which will allow each device to act as its own “hotspot“. Wi-Fi Direct is expected to be certified in mid-2010 and will be built into new devices, while older Wi-Fi enabled devices will be able to download a firmware update that would provide older devices with Wi-Fi- Direct capabilities.
Wi-Fi direct will offer the same data transfer speeds currently offered by Wi-Fi and will allow devices to communicate over the range of 300ft . This places the Wi-Fi Alliance into direct competition with the Bluetooth protocol, finally, which has been the leading protocol for short-range peer-to-peer connections. The much loved to be hated protocol is more energy efficient than Wi-Fi but Wi-Fi Direct already comes enterprise ready by supporting the WPA2 protocol and providing the required security for the connection to be trusted and adopted.
While this might be great news for smartphone users, it might also put a dent into the 1$ Billion dollar market of Wi-Fi access points. The prospect of being able to extend your network indefinitely using gadgets and devices that are already available to you is certainly exciting.
This technology is certainly enticing. Beside the fact that it finally resolves issues that Bluetooth had problems with, mainly security and range, its high bandwidth opens up the window for another exciting prospect. Using the WiFi Direct technology anyone can provide wireless access to the entire neighborhood with little to no start-up cost. Maybe, just maybe, it will usher in the age where we are drowned with free wireless Hotspots wherever we go. Now let’s just hope that smartphones batteries become a bit more efficient and provide us with a bit more juice!
Do you currently use Bluetooth? Do you think you will still need to use it after the introduction of Wi-Fi Direct? Will you ever buy another wireless signal repeater?