How Will Wi-Fi Direct Benefit Small Business?

Monday Nov 16th 2009 by Jeff Goldman

With Wi-Fi Direct technology, you’ll be able to transfer data between Wi-Fi devices — from your smartphone to a printer in a hotel business center, for example — without logging in to a Wi-Fi network.

Wi-Fi Direct looks like a technology that will make it easier for people to transfer information from one device to another. Jeff Goldman at Wi-FiPlanet.com explains the new protocol and talks about its potential applications.

The Wi-Fi Alliance recently announced Wi-Fi Direct, a new peer-to-peer protocol that will enable direct connections between Wi-Fi client devices, allowing users to do everything from syncing data between a smartphone and a laptop to displaying pictures on a flat screen television or printing them on a wireless printer—all without requiring the user to join a traditional Wi-Fi network.

The WFA intends to finalize the specification by the end of 2009, and to begin certifying products in mid-2010. In the meantime, many chip manufacturers (and Wi-Fi Alliance member companies) are offering their own pre-specification solutions, including Atheros Direct Connect, Intel My Wi-Fi Technology, and Marvell Mobile Hotspot — all of which should be easily upgradeable to the final specification next year.

In fact, interoperability with legacy devices is a key benefit of the protocol: not only will Wi-Fi Direct generally require just a simple software upgrade, but only one of the connecting devices (not both) has to be certified to the new specification.

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