WiFi alliance begins Tunneled Direct Link Setup certification, hopes to improve media streaming

You can thank the WiFi alliance for a number of things, and soon you can add TDLS to that list. That's Tunneled Direct Link Setup, if you were wondering, and it's a standard for creating direct links between devices. If this sounds familiar, that's understandable, but TDLS has its own tricks, like working in the background of a network to optimize performance, and it can even work over a WiFi Direct connection. For example two compliant devices can measure the signal strength on the network, and determine if a direct link would be better or not. TDLS also allows devices to communicate at the fastest standard available (802.11b / g / n etc.) even if this is superior to that available on the rest of your hardware. As this is a client-based protocol, you won't need to upgrade your access point either. If this hasn't got implications for better media streaming written all over it, we don't know what has. Especially as the certification is available to TVs, tablets, phones, cameras and gaming devices. There's only a handful of test products sporting the official approval at this time, but with names such as Broadcom, Marvell and Realtek in the mix, it shouldn't be long before it starts finding its way into front rooms and pockets proper.

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Wi-Fi Alliance® now certifying Tunneled Direct Link Setup

Certified devices form higher-performance links to support video and other demanding applications

AUSTIN, TX, August 23, 2012 - The Wi-Fi Alliance® today announced that it has launched the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ TDLS program. TDLS (Tunneled Direct Link Setup) devices are able to automatically create a secure, direct link between them after accessing the Wi-Fi® network, removing the need to transmit data through the access point. In today's Wi-Fi networks, faced with increased traffic and more demanding applications, TDLS links between devices improve overall network performance, reduce latency caused by heavy AP traffic, and avoid interference, thereby improving the user experience.

The new certification program will provide networks and users with the following benefits:

Increased performance: TDLS links optimize the performance of applications running over Wi-Fi networks by avoiding delays caused by queuing and congestion through an AP
Ease of use: TDLS links are formed automatically, with no user action required to set them up
Optimized communication: TDLS-linked devices are able to communicate using the highest-performance technology common to them, even if the network's AP only supports a lower-bandwidth form of Wi-Fi
Highest available security: TDLS links are protected by the highest level of security supported by both devices, even if the network's AP does not support that level of security
Power saving mechanisms: When battery-operated devices participate in a TDLS link, they can take advantage of advanced mechanisms to save power

"The new TDLS certification program will improve the user experience with advanced applications such as media streaming, without requiring user intervention," said Kelly Davis-Felner, marketing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance. "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED TDLS is another example of how Wi-Fi technology keeps pace with the evolving demands of the marketplace."

The certification is only for client devices, such as tablets, handsets, notebooks, and consumer electronics. TDLS-certified devices can operate over Wi-Fi CERTIFIED n technology, as well as previous versions of Wi-Fi. It is not necessary to upgrade to a new AP in order to benefit from TDLS features. TDLS-certified devices are suitable for use in both enterprise and consumer networks.

Although TDLS forms a direct link between two client devices, TDLS is not the same as, nor does it replace, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Direct™. TDLS operates in the background of a Wi-Fi network to optimize performance, while Wi-Fi Direct-certified devices can quickly connect to one another while on the go, even when a Wi-Fi network is unavailable. Many devices will be certified for both solutions and use them in different situations.

The first products to be designated Wi-Fi CERTIFIED TDLS, and which form the test suite for the certification program, are:

Broadcom® Dual-Band 11n Half MiniPCI
Marvell® Avastar® 88W8787 Wireless Chipset
Ralink® 802.11 a/b/g/n Dual Band Station
Realtek® 2X2 a/b/g/n miniCard Reference Design

More information on Wi-Fi CERTIFIED programs, a list of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED products, technical specifications, white papers, and more is available at www.wi-fi.org.

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