New Wi-Fi Direct protocol to offer Bluetooth-like connectivity between devices

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The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced it is close to finalizing a new wireless standard that will let devices discover and connect to one another without the need for a router. Dubbed Wi-Fi Direct, the technology seems to compete directly with Bluetooth by allowing peer-to-peer connections between wireless devices but at higher speeds and greater distances than the latter.

Many existing devices embedded with Wi-Fi will reportedly be able to upgrade through software. In other words, this means you could send documents to a printer without routing data through a home network, or back up data to an external hard drive wirelessly. You could even connect a keyboard or mouse to a computer and easily move images and video from a smartphone or camera straight to a TV set with wireless capabilities.

The technology will support standard Wi-Fi data rates and devices will reportedly be able to connect to one another within 100 meters of each other. It also includes WPA2 security and management features for enterprise environments. The Wi-Fi Alliance says it plans to publish the specification as soon as it is finalized and will begin certifying devices for Wi-Fi Direct in 2010.

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