Wi-Fi Direct aims to be the 'Bluetooth Killer'

Imagine a wireless home network where devices communicate directly with one another instead of through the wireless router -- a sort of mesh network without the need to switch to ad hoc mode. Today the Wi-Fi Alliance announced it has almost completed the standard which could make these a reality: Wi-Fi Direct.

Wi-Fi Direct was known as "Wi-Fi Peer-to-Peer," and has repeatedly been referred to in IEEE meetings as a possible "Bluetooth Killer." By means of this standard, direct connections between computers, phones, cameras, printers, keyboards, and future classes of components are established over Wi-Fi instead of another wireless technology governed by a separate standard.

Even though the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands are often dreadfully overcrowded in home networks, the appeal of such a standard is twofold: Any certified Wi-Fi Direct device will be able to communicate directly with any legacy Wi-Fi devices without the need for any new software on the legacy end, and transfer rates will be the same as infrastructure connections, thoroughly destroying Bluetooth. The theoretical maximum useful data transfer for Bluetooth 2.0 is 2.1 Mbps, while 802.11g has a theoretical maximum throughput of 54 Mbps.

"Wi-Fi Direct represents a leap forward for our industry. 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. The impact is that Wi-Fi will become even more pervasive and useful for consumers and across the enterprise," Wi-Fi Alliance executive director Edgar Figueroa said in a statement today.

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