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Wi-fi Direct devices enable wireless powerhouse

Posted: 12 May 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Wi-Fi direct? wireless networking? connectivity?

Wi-Fi Direct is software that sits on top of IEEE 802.11x silicon, making Wi-Fi Direct's success dependent on the 802.11x chip solution.�Because it is software and not a change to the silicon, it does not require a new IEEE specification, and is governed instead by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the Austin, Texas-based trade association.

Wi-Fi Direct creates a powerful Wi-Fi solution and enables the premier wireless networking standard to add peer-to-peer capability, with no need for a Wi-Fi access point.�This creates a complete wireless standard and brings Wi-Fi into competition with specifications such as Bluetooth.�Likewise, the marginal cost of Wi-Fi Direct-enabled silicon over basic Wi-Fi silicon is minimal.

"Wi-Fi Direct enjoys wide backing from Wi-Fi silicon vendors.�Companies such as Atheros, Broadcom, CSR, Intel, Marvell, Qualcomm, Ralink, and Realtek all have plans for widespread release of Wi-Fi Direct-enabled silicon," said Brian O'Rourke, research director of In-Stat.

He added, "In fact, many of these companies received Wi-Fi Direct certification for at least one chip solution in the fourth quarter of 2010, shortly after the specification was released by the Wi-Fi Alliance in October. In terms of adoption by 802.11x type, 802.11a/g chip vendors are not likely to add Wi-Fi Direct, as the standard has a limited life span remaining. However, it will be seen in the vast majority of new 802.11n silicon beginning in 2011.�And it will be standard in 802.11ac silicon as it begins to ship."

However, it is said that the adoption of Wi-Fi Direct software in Wi-Fi silicon is half the battle to ensure its success among consumers.�Another issue will be making the Wi-Fi Direct standard useful with application programming interface (API) software.�APIs ease the connection between devices, and increase the usability of Wi-Fi Direct for consumers.�Without solid APIs, Wi-Fi Direct will be useful than the current 802.11x ad-hoc modethe first, complex, little-used attempt at Wi-Fi peer-to-peer connectivity.

According to In-Stat, "Wi-Fi chip vendors are already delivering API solutions.�For example, Broadcom has announced its Maestro API suite, Atheros has Direct Connect, and Qualcomm has introduced AllJoyn.�Nevertheless, there is a danger in Wi-Fi silicon vendors creating APIs.�A rival company may be hesitant to use one of these solutions for fear of helping, and possibly becoming dependent on the competition.�And without widely accepted APIs, it will be difficult for a Wi-Fi Direct ecosystem to develop.�This could create an opening for a third-party software vendor to provide an API."

"Wi-Fi Direct devices came to market in very small numbers in late 2010, a result of the 21 Wi-Fi Direct-certified products approved by the Wi-Fi Alliance in the fourth quarter of 2010. Many more products will hit the market in 2011.�The first applications to adopt Wi-Fi Direct include mobile PCs, mobile phones, and digital televisions (DTVs).�These devices share a trait: they are the respective centers of the PC, CE, and mobile device clusters, and they ship in the hundreds of millions of devices annually.�So it makes sense for Wi-Fi Direct to start with these applications, and then move to the rest of the PC, PC peripheral, and CE ecosystems.�Ultimately, we expect Wi-Fi Direct to be successful and that, by 2014, all Wi-Fi devices that ship will be enabled with Wi-Fi Direct, creating a one-stop shop for wireless networking and connectivity." said O'Rourke.





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