First 'Bluetooth Killer' Wi-Fi Direct hardware gets certified

Wi-Fi Direct certification has begun. The Wi-Fi Alliance announced today that products from Atheros, Broadcom, Intel, Ralink, Realtek, and Cisco will be the first Certified Wi-Fi Direct hardware in the test bed for the new wireless networking standard.

The key feature of the new Wi-Fi Direct standard is that it lets devices with 802.11 wireless radios communicate directly with one another without the need of a wireless router between them. Wi-Fi Direct devices near one another can transfer content at speeds 25 times faster than they could with Bluetooth 2.0. As a result, the standard has been referred to as a Bluetooth Killer in IEEE meetings.

"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."

Because it's a Wi-Fi Alliance software standard, it has the added benefits of legacy compatibility with standard Wi-Fi client devices, support for WPA2 security, and widespread support from the hardware industry.

"Now that the final certification is in place, we expect that Wi-Fi Direct will enhance the tremendous growth of this already burgeoning market," Michael Hurlston, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom's WLAN business said today. "Consumers will be able to connect whenever and wherever they want, unleashing a new realm of applications for device-to-device connectivity."

Broadcom's first Wi-Fi Direct certified product is a multi-antenna dual-band 802.11n PCIe card, but the company's participation in these early stages of development is significant because it's a majority player in the 802.11n Wi-Fi chipset business for mobile handsets.

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