Companies making Wi-fi easier, goodbye Bluetooth?

Business Week is reporting that a consortium of companies which includes the likes of Intel, Cisco, and Apple is set to release new technology called 'Wi-Fi Direct' which will turn a slew of gadgets into hotspots.

Wi-fi (when considered 'outside' as in not at work or at home) is currently only available to the general laptop, netbook or phone user in a disjointed array of pubs and cafe's across the globe where users can intermittently enjoy broadband out of the confinement of offices and houses. Wi-fi users who like to get out of the office can fret no more however, because come mid-2010, a technological upgrade will make it easier for users of consumer electronics to exchange files between electronic gadgets.

Yesterday, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced plans saying that its members will release technology that effectively turns gadgets into mini access points. These gadgets, equipped with the new technology will then able to create wireless connections with other Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets or broadband modems within a radius of about 300 feet.

This new technology named "Wi-Fi Direct" will be built directly into consumer electronics and automatically scan the vicinity for existing hotspots along with the numerous Wi-Fi equipped devices, including phones, TV's, computers and gaming consoles. Users with existing Wi-Fi-enabled technology will be able to upgrade to the new standard. Whilst this is positive news there are concerns that the companies involved may be overlooking the fact that these new plans will reduce the need for the more traditional router.

"The feature also could disrupt usage of wireless Bluetooth technology that, for example, helps users of the Apple iPhone play games with each other outside a wireless network. In the future, some consumers may use Wi-Fi Direct instead. Though Wi-Fi connectivity tends to drain battery life faster than Bluetooth, it's also faster and allows for transfer of richer multimedia content like video."

Intel seem to be serious about the success of this project and are, according to Business Week, already briefing retailers as to the finer details of the plans. This is part of a plan by the Wi-Fi alliance to back the plans with a major marketing scheme. Intel will also heavily promote the capability in the first quarter of 2010 as it unveils its next-generation Wi-Fi chip package for computers.

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16 Comments

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Yes. Actually the standard Wi-fi does not create an access point and to create an access point you must buy a router. But the next generation which is Wi-fi Direct will also make an access point for you so that you don't need bluetooth ever.

Bluetooth is just horrible. And the wild array of other wireless devices needs sorting, every mouse/keyboard/mic/etc. doesn't not need its own mini wireless receiver. When can someone please standardise that - heck it would be a good start if individual companies could standardise themselves even.

Out of curiosity, what's wrong with Bluetooth? I have a pair of Bluetooth headphones, use a Bluetooth mouse, and would probably use a Bluetooth keyboard if anyone made one with good design. About the only thing wrong with Bluetooth that I can think of is that manufacturers prefer to use their own proprietary wireless, but I don't think Bluetooth can be blamed entirely for that.

When we can use Wi-fi instead of bluetooth and there is no need for an extra protocol, so we remove Bluetooth and after that we have only one protocol which is wi-fi.

"Whilst this is positive news there are concerns that the companies involved may be overlooking the fact that these new plans will reduce the need for the more traditional router."
That is a good point to bring up plus the fact that what kind of new security threats will this bring to the devices? What will make Wi-Fi Direct work for the masses is less complicated setups and not having to worry about security protocol configuration. As it stands the average user has no idea how to setup a secure Wi-Fi router which is why it is so easy to never have to pay for Broadband when living in a apartment complex or even use your neighbors connection. I'm sure there will be a buffer overrun style hack for this new standard. I can see their point in creating and endorsing this new standard but with all communication protocols there is a security risk.

SERGioooo said,
Same here:D What's goin on with u ppl??

It's not exactly the same.

Although, I really don't see how WiFi users are going to be able to "fret" any less, because their devices still need to be connected to an internet-connected device if they want to be online. Connecting a PC to a gaming console might be great without the use of a router for media sharing, but that console and that PC will still need to connect to the net for online gaming for example, meaning a router/modem will still be needed.

Good! The Bluetooth protocol is a good example of how not to design a protocol.

The WiFi Alliance have done a better job, and reused existing protocols instead of designing a slew of profiles loosely based on one generic profile by committee.