Last Post: November 23, 2010:
You may have heard that the Wi-Fi Alliance officially launched the Wi-Fi Direct certification program Oct 25. For those not familiar with this technology, below is a very simple definition:
[i]Wi-Fi Direct is an emerging technology meant to meet the growing demand for easy, portable wireless network connectivity. Wi-Fi devices will be able to make direct connection groups quickly and conveniently to do things like print, sync, and share content - even when an access point, router, or hotspot is unavailable.[/i]
We all know that Wi-Fi is a WLAN technology, while Bluetooth is designed for WPAN. But it seems WPAN connection can now be made using the faster, further Wi-Fi Direct technology.
A long-standing voice from the industry: Bluetooth will likely be kicked out by Wi-Fi Direct sometime. Response from the Bluetooth SIG is also clear: Bluetooth wireless technology is the most reliable and usable choice for personal area networks.
From security perspective, WFA certifies WiFi Direct functionality, new security threats associated with AP virtualization appears (like Connectify, Intel My WiFi for Win7!)
I work with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi client devices. For reliability, and resistance to interference I'd say the Bluetooth devices do a better job.
Our devices only require modest throughput, so you'll have to temper my response to this question. We get 250+' of range with our CLass 2 Bluetooth devices, along with good battery life.
Originally, I thought that Wireless USB would really take off, but it hasn't seemed to do much. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places though.
If Wi-Fi Direct does make it big, I'm sure my company will get into it. We'll just have to see.
The question is: Does introduction of Wi-Fi Direct mean that Wi-Fi is nibbling away at the WPAN market currently dominated by Bluetooth? Is this a technology issue or market issue, or both?
[url=http://www.bluetooth.com/English/SIG/MikesBlog/Posts.aspx?ID=1854]The Bluetooth SIG showed their attitude[/url] as early as last October when the Wi-Fi Alliance announced they started R&D of Wi-Fi Direct: Wi-Fi Direct has resulted in confusion in wireless industry. And this Oct 26, following the official launch of Wi-Fi Direct, [url=http://www.bluetooth.com/English/SIG/MikesBlog/default.aspx?var=MikesBlog&date=102810]the Bluetooth folks reiterated their opinion[/url] that 'Bluetooth wireless technology is the most reliable and usable choice for personal area networks.'
There are too many BT devices out there to replace them quickly, no matter how hopeful the WFA is.
If the economy was rip-roaring away, it might be a different story.
It's interesting too that in BT v3.0 and 4.0 specs, Wi-Fi is used to provide the high speeds. An access technology that relies on a different access technology to keep up with user demands is pretty lame. I'm just sayin'.
Is Wi-Fi Direct an enterprise-grade technology or just suitable for use in SOHO environment? (Note it supports WPS for easy setup.)
Bickering between the WFA and BT SIG will not stop, for sure...
In my view WPS implies SOHO. An "Enterprise" has network/security personnel who want to "maintain control" and configure devices themselves. I could see this changing over time, but I would expect to hear of some security boo-boos during the transition.
Frankly, from a testing point of view, I like products from www.sena.com like their Parani Bluetooth AP's that give each BT device an IP address.
I expect that there will be some security problems with Wi-Fi Direct, due to unanticipated uses/misuses by the device owners. Hastily or poorly written utilities will also grab a few headlines - eventually they'll get worked out though.
Wi-Fi Direct has been recognized by [i]Popular Science[/i] with the [url=http://www.popsci.com/bown/2010/product/wi-fi-alliance-wi-fi-direct]Best of What's New 2010 Award[/url] only in one month - or 3 weeks, strictly speaking - since the Wi-Fi Alliance officially launched the certification program.
Hmm, Wi-Fi Direct seems the current winner...