Hear that Bluetooth? That's the sound of competition... finally. After years of waiting for some sort of serious rival in the short-range communication realm, the Wi-Fi Alliance is doing what it should've done eons ago. Starting sometime in mid-2010 (if all goes to plan, of course), a Wi-Fi Direct specification will be published, enabling WiFi'd devices to connect to one another without some sort of WLAN hotspot nearby. Previously, the standard was codenamed Wi-Fi peer-to-peer, as it gives printers, mobile handsets, human interface devices, cameras, laptops and a host of other wireless wares the ability to talk to one another without first consulting an access point. We're told that devices will be able to make "one-to-one" connections or talk amongst a group, and WPA2 security will be bundled in to keep the ill-willed sniffers at bay. Call us crazy, but we get this feeling we're going to dig this protocol -- now, if only we could actually count on seeing shipping products before we're too old to enjoy it, we'd be set.
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WI-FI ALLIANCE® ANNOUNCES GROUNDBREAKING SPECIFICATION
TO SUPPORT DIRECT WI-FI CONNECTIONS BETWEEN DEVICES

Upcoming Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ Wi-Fi Direct program will make it easy to connect devices directly to one another in a new kind of Wi-Fi network

Austin, Texas, October 14, 2009 – Wi-Fi devices will soon be able to connect in a new way that makes it more simple and convenient than ever to do things like print, share and display. The Wi-Fi Alliance is nearing completion of a new specification enabling Wi-Fi devices to connect to one another without joining a traditional home, office, or hotspot network. The Wi-Fi Alliance expects to begin certification for this new specification in mid-2010, and products which achieve the certification will be designated Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Direct.

The specification, previously code-named "Wi-Fi peer-to-peer," can be implemented in any Wi-Fi device, from mobile phones, cameras, printers, and notebook computers, to human interface devices such as keyboards and headphones. Significantly, devices which have been certified to the new specification will also be able to create connections with hundreds of millions of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED legacy devices already in use. Devices will be able to make a one-to-one connection, or a group of several devices can connect simultaneously.

"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," said Wi-Fi Alliance executive director Edgar Figueroa. "The impact is that Wi-Fi will become even more pervasive and useful for consumers and across the enterprise."

The specification targets both consumer electronics and enterprise applications, provides management features for enterprise environments, and includes WPA2® security. Devices which support the specification will be able to discover one another and advertise available services. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Direct devices will support typical Wi-Fi ranges and the same data rates as can be achieved with an infrastructure connection, so devices can connect from across a home or office and conduct bandwidth-hungry tasks with ease.

"With Wi-Fi technology already shipping in millions of consumer electronics devices and handsets every year, this is a terrific innovation for the industry," said Victoria Fodale, senior analyst and market intelligence manager at In-Stat. "Empowering devices to move content and share applications without having to join a network brings even more convenience and utility to Wi-Fi-enabled devices."

The Wi-Fi Alliance plans to publish its peer-to-peer specification upon completion, and will begin certifying devices for the Wi-Fi Direct designation in 2010. Only Wi-Fi Alliance member companies will be able to certify devices to the new specification.

About the Wi-Fi Alliance
The Wi-Fi Alliance is a global non-profit industry association of hundreds of leading companies devoted to the proliferation of Wi-Fi technology across devices and market segments. With technology development, market building, and regulatory programs, the Wi-Fi Alliance has enabled widespread adoption of Wi-Fi worldwide.
The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ program was launched in March 2000. It provides a widely-recognized designation of interoperability and quality, and it helps to ensure that Wi-Fi enabled products deliver the best user experience. The Wi-Fi Alliance has completed more than 6,000 product certifications to date, encouraging the expanded use of Wi-Fi products and services in new and established markets.
Wi-Fi®, Wi-Fi Alliance®, WMM®, Wi-Fi Protected Access® (WPA), the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo, the Wi-Fi logo, and the Wi-Fi ZONE logo are registered trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance; Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™, Wi-Fi Protected Setup™, Wi-Fi Multimedia™, and the Wi-Fi Alliance logo are trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

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Wi-Fi Direct enabling P2P communications amongst WiFi wares, scaring Bluetooth half to death