Searching for a Wi-Fi hotspot on those increasing number of occasions when the need to update a Facebook profile while out and about outweighs all other concerns is much easier than it used to be, but can still be a trial. Now that the Wi-Fi Alliance has started certifying products capable of communicating with each other without the need to join up to a home, office or hotspot network, that tiresome search may soon be a thing of the past.
At any one time, a young American could be carrying around over a thousand songs, in the region of 50 videos and a vast stockpile of photos on digital devices, according to research recently undertaken by the Wi-Fi Alliance and Wakefield Research. If said youngster wanted to send any of those files to friends, then there are a number of existing technologies that allow such a transfer to take place. But if the device doesn't have Bluetooth, or the manufacturer didn't think to include 3G or other network capabilities, or for some bizarre reason there just isn't a stable signal anywhere to be found, then options soon run out.
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However, all that's about to change. The Wi-Fi Alliance has designed a device-to-device wireless technology that will signal other enabled devices in the area to let them know that it can make a local connection without the need for a central network. The first products certified for Wi-Fi Direct are the Atheros XSPAN Dual-band 802.11n PCIe Mini Card (AR928x), Broadcom's BCM43224 Dual-Band 802.11n 2x2 MIMO PCIe Half Mini Card, the Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200, the Ralink MIMObility 802.11n 2x2 PCIe Half Mini Card and Realtek's RTL8192CE-VA4 HM92C00 PCIe mini card.
These products, along with the Cisco 2106 Wireless LAN Controller and Cisco Aironet 1240 Series Access Points, will form the test bed for the blossoming certification program.
Wi-Fi Direct devices will benefit from the latest WPA2 security protection and will be able to share content, synchronize with other devices, send documents to a printer wirelessly, and enjoy multi-player gaming sessions – all with a similar throughput and range to existing Wi-Fi products. With "82 million Wi-Fi-enabled portable consumer electronics and 216 million Wi-Fi-enabled handsets set to ship this year," the Alliance says that consumers can look forward to being able to connect with a huge number of digital devices.
More information on what to expect, how it all works and so on is available from the Wi-Fi Direct website.