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Wi-Fi Direct mimics Bluetooth but with faster speed, longer range

The world might have moved closer to becoming an actual wireless society today. The Wi-Fi Alliance announced that it has begun to certify new products as being capable of making device-to-device Wi-Fi connections, and labeling those products “Wi-Fi Certified Wi-Fi Direct.”

Wi-Fi Direct is a new technology that allows for connections to be made between devices, without the presence of a traditional network or central Wi-Fi access point. While similar in function to existing Bluetooth technology, Wi-Fi Direct is promising faster connection speeds – up to 250mbps – with a range of up to 200 yards.

In an era where juggling digital content between multiple devices is an everyday routine, the technology has miles of potential – if it can catch on with manufacturers. Just imagine some of the theoretical implications: Printers printing photos sent directly from a camera; home stereos playing playlists through a connection with a MP3 player; laptops transmitting the Sunday paper to an e-reader from the other side of the house and two floors down; and so on.

The Wi-Fi Alliance says that the technology will make device-to-device connections both easy and safe through a “push-button set up mechanism” and by making use of the latest WPA2 security.

“We designed Wi-Fi Direct to unleash a wide variety of applications which require device connections, but do not need the Internet or even a traditional network,” said Edgar Figueroa, CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi Direct empowers users to connect devices – when, where and how they want to, and our certification program delivers products that work well together, regardless of the brand.”

Only one device in a connection will need to be Wi-Fi Direct capable so long as the other device or devices in the connection can pick up a Wi-Fi signal . For example, a Wi-Fi Direct certified printer should be able to connect with a smartphone and print a photo from the phone, so long as the phone can connect to Wi-Fi.

The alliance has announce several devices as already Wi-Fi Direct certified, including an Atheros PCIe Mini Card, a Realtek PCI mini card, and a Broadcom PCIe Half Mini Card. We imagine more companies will jump aboard the Wi-Fi Direct train before the holidays.