First demonstrated at CES 2010, Wi-Fi Direct has taken another step to become part of the Wi-Fi usage spectrum.
The Wi-Fi Alliance, the group that tests and certifies Wi-Fi products to make sure they interoperate, announced today that it has begun certifying products capable of making Wi-Fi-based device-to-device connections and designating them Wi-Fi Certified Wi-Fi Direct.
Traditionally, Wi-Fi clients need to connect to a central place, called an access point, before they can connect to one another in their "infrastructure" mode. Other than that, they can also connect in pairs via a mode called "ad-hoc," which is limited both in range and throughput speed.
Wi-Fi Direct, on the other hand, allows Wi-Fi devices to connect to one another without an access point at the same speed and range of the infrastructure mode. They can also establish a connection much faster via Wi-Fi Protected Setup, a method that enables connecting devices by pressing a button. In other words, Wi-Fi Direct allows Wi-Fi products to connect much like Bluetooth devices but at a much faster speed and a much longer range.
With this flexibility, Wi-Fi Direct devices fill an important hole in daily usage: directly connecting devices for applications such as content sharing, synching, printing, and gaming anywhere, without users having to carry along an access point.
According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, another advantage of Wi-Fi Certified Wi-Fi Direct devices is the fact that they can work with traditional Wi-Fi Certified devices, as they act as a mini access point, to which traditional Wi-Fi products can connect.
The Wi-Fi Alliance say that it formed the test suite for the certification program by using the following products, which are also the first that are designated Wi-Fi Certified Wi-Fi Direct:
- Atheros XSPAN dual-band 802.11n PCIe mini card (AR928x)
- Broadcom BCM43224 dual-band 802.11n 2x2 MIMO PCIe half mini card
- Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200
- Ralink MIMObility 802.11n 2x2 PCIe half mini card
- Realtek RTL8192CE-VA4 HM92C00 PCIe mini card
The group used the Cisco 2106 Wireless LAN Controller and Cisco Aironet 1240 Series Access Points for the certification test suite.