Thursday, 15 October 2009

Easier Wi-Fi on the way

wi-fi devices
A new technology called Wi-Fi Direct is on the way (expected mid 2010) which will allow regular electronic devices to act as wireless hotspots.

For most non-technical people, setting up a wireless network at home is considered a hassle. You need to setup an access point to which all the wireless devices like your laptop need to connect to, in order to go online or communicate with each other.

Turn gadgets into wireless access points

However, with Wi-Fi Direct it will be possible to turn a gadget into a wireless access point so you'll be able to connect one device directly to another which would e.g. make file sharing much easier to do. This technology will effectively allow Wi-Fi clients/devices to create adhoc peer-to-peer networks among one another.

Wi-Fi Direct will be built into consumer electronics in the future and scan the surroundings for other wi-fi enabled devices it can connect to (similar to bluetooth and quite frankly, bluetooth is much slower than wi-fi so it's bye-bye to bluetooth as well). This can e.g. include phones, computers, TVs and gaming consoles.

If you already have a wireless network, you will be able to upgrade to Wi-Fi Direct through a simple software upgrade at the time.

Consumer devices are not only used to access the internet; a lot of users would want all their devices to access each other directly as well and this technology will make that easy to do.

With Wi-Fi Direct you could eventually turn all cellphones and television sets into wi-fi hotspots. Imagine your TV having wi-fi capability - you'll be able to transfer photos from wi-fi enabled cameras, camcorders and laptops to the TV with ease, using no wires at all. Very convenient!


I have a wireless network setup at home using a wireless router and although the router is used to access the internet, it has many other functions as well like routing traffic to different computers on the network but most importantly... for security reasons. The hardware firewall on the router prevents most unwanted prying eyes from taking a peek at my network.

So although it will clearly be convenient to enable consumer devices to connect to each other directly through this new Wi-Fi Direct technology, I'm just wondering how this will affect the security of these devices since they won't necessarily be hiding behind a router anymore. The level of encryption between the ad-hoc devices will be crucial. I wouldn't want any device to become vulnerable for the sake of convenience.

Related links
Wi-Fi Alliance® announces groundbreaking specification to support direct Wi-Fi connections between devices - Wi-Fi Alliance
Wi-Fi Alliance Announces Wi-Fi Direct Spec - PCWorld


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