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Networking Portables Wireless Networking

Wi-Fi Direct Overlaps Bluetooth Territory For Connecting Devices 152

Reber Is Reber writes "The Wi-Fi Alliance announced a new wireless networking specification which will enable devices to establish simple peer-to-peer wireless connections without the need for a wireless router or hotspot. Wi-Fi Direct has a wide array of potential uses, many of which encroach on Bluetooth territory and threaten to make the competing wireless protocol obsolete. 'Wi-Fi Direct represents a leap forward for our industry. Wi-Fi users worldwide will benefit from a single-technology solution to transfer content and share applications quickly and easily among devices, even when a Wi-Fi access point isn't available,' said Wi-Fi Alliance executive director Edgar Figueroa. 'The impact is that Wi-Fi will become even more pervasive and useful for consumers and across the enterprise.' Ad hoc wireless networking has always been more complex and cumbersome than it is worth, and it maxes out at 11 mbps. Wi-Fi Direct will connect at existing Wi-Fi speeds-- up to 250 mbps. Wi-Fi Direct devices will also be able to broadcast their availability and seek out other Wi-Fi Direct devices. Wi-Fi Direct overlaps into Bluetooth territory. Bluetooth is a virtually ubiquitous technology used for wireless connection of devices like headphones, mice, or the ever-popular Bluetooth earpiece sticking out of everyone's head. Bluetooth uses less power, but also has a much shorter range and slower transfer speeds. Wi-Fi Direct can enable the same device connectivity as Bluetooth, but at ranges and speeds equivalent to what users experience with existing Wi-Fi connections."
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Wi-Fi Direct Overlaps Bluetooth Territory For Connecting Devices

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  • Upgrade to Ad-Hoc (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2009 @01:33PM (#29759669)

    Looks to me to be an upgrade to Ad-Hoc.

  • by Sandbags ( 964742 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @01:38PM (#29759753) Journal

    "Bluetooth uses less power" Well, yes and no.

    At full transmit power, yea, by a lot. Dial back the dB of the anteanna, and you can make WiFi would for very similar, and possibly less power draw.

    If an intelligent WiFi driver is added, power use could by dytnamic, scaling up and down based on range and interference, for the direct connect devices. A multi radio device could potentially use 2 anteanna, one for short range and 1 for traditional AP connections, simultaneously, and might have a quite reasonable power draw compared to using both WiFi and bluetooth concurrently.

    Since it has yet to be released in such a fashion, we don;t really have any good data on the energy draw.

    A simple P2P only connection, without WiFi otherwise active, yea, bluetooth is probably going to use less power. How many of us have WiFi enabled devices where the WiFi is not left on 24x7 when the device is on regardless of the connectivity, so one could easily argue that WiFi P2P has 0 additional power draw, and simply turning bluetooth on would draw more power.

    I can turn off WiFi on the iPhone, but it's a pain to have to do so all the time. It's worse on most other devices... With WiFi on 24x7, my phone outlasts my use needs each day. turning off bluetooth (which i did recently when I cruched a headset and had to wait a few weeks to get a new one) improved the battery life dramatically.

  • Re:Sounds good (Score:3, Informative)

    by loftwyr ( 36717 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @01:39PM (#29759771)
    There are lots of phones with WiFi and many more that can get it though third pary add-ons. The iPhone was hardly the leader in that.
  • by autocracy ( 192714 ) <> on Thursday October 15, 2009 @01:55PM (#29759995) Homepage
    The antenna isn't what determines the amount of power used to transmit. A suited antenna can make a transmitter more efficient; alternately, it can be so badly tuned that the transmitter fries because most of the energy is reflected back. My handheld amateur radio can transmit on 2 meters at .05, 1, 2.5 or 5 watts. Regardless of power used, unless the load is so big it would melt the antenna, the same antenna is optimal regardless of the power input. I know my Linksys access point could have its settings changed and the transmitter powered adjusted at will.

    In terms of the iPhone, my understanding is this: the WiFi system is only on when the phone is active (lit screen). Nothing ever wakes the iPhone by WiFi. I don't feel up for testing it because I'm not at home, but you can check this by trying to ping your phone when it is asleep. The bluetooth system is always listening (it takes power to listen, so this draw is constant even when the phone is in your pocket) because devices will initiate a connection to the phone. The same with the cellular bands so you can receive calls.
  • up to 250 mbps? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2009 @02:03PM (#29760119)

    250 mbps = 250 millibits per second. That's slow.

  • Re:Sounds good (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2009 @02:13PM (#29760259)

    my t-mobile wing has wi-fi and i can use it to tether my laptop to it

  • by Yokaze ( 70883 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @02:16PM (#29760319)

    > Of course, if they'll just use the profiles part of bluetooth spec and change the physical radio interface to 802.11...well, I guess you could do that, but what's the point?

    The Bluetooth SIG already coopted WiFi as an alternate media Here you go []. The point is, you get the bandwidth of WiFi for free.

  • Re:Sounds good (Score:3, Informative)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @02:17PM (#29760331) Journal

    But I think it will be a while, at least for the phones. Just about all cell phones have bluetooth, but I have yet to see one besides the iPhone with wifi.

    Then you haven't been looking. T-Mobile offers a Wifi UMA service (Hotspot or whatever they are calling it this week). There are a few blackberries, Nokia and Samsung phones that support this. However, this is traditional WiFi, not any kind of peer-to-peer capability and battery life with the WiFi radio turned on is about half without WiFi.

  • by Tweenk ( 1274968 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @04:16PM (#29761743)

    Very true. Similarly, the success of USB is not in using the same plug for everything but in standard device interfaces. You can grab any USB HID device and it will work everywhere, because one can write an unified driver for all current and future USB HID devices. Same for USB mass storage, audio, etc.

  • Re:Sounds good (Score:3, Informative)

    by spxero ( 782496 ) on Thursday October 15, 2009 @05:52PM (#29763161) Journal

    No, they weren't the leader, but they sure as hell simplified it- I used two Windows Mobile phones (AT&T Tilt for personal, Sprint Mogul for work) for quite a while, and the wifi was always buggy or a pain to configure (one work network is static devices only, which is a lot of settings changes in WinMo5/6). With my iphone, I get to create per-network IP settings, something that Windows has yet to accomplish without third-party tools.

    And my iphone is unlocked and using bossprefs. The the wifi toggle (and bluetooth, location, etc.) is just a swipe across the top away. The palm pre isn't as easy to work with, but still light years ahead of WinMo, and I've yet to get my hands on an android device to test, but for me the iphone had done the best out of the bunch. The iphone isn't the only one, but so far the best.

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith