Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Wi-Fi Direct Overlaps Bluetooth Territory For Connecting Devices

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the wait-till-it-happens dept.

Networking 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."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

P2P=Pirate2Pirate (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29759647)

Admit it. You're all a bunch of thieves.

Re:P2P=Pirate2Pirate (1)

unixcrab (1080985) | about 5 years ago | (#29759681)

I was thinking the same thing. I wouldn't be surprised if the protocol was somehow hobbled to keep the copyright nazis happy.

Re:P2P=Pirate2Pirate (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 5 years ago | (#29760143)

If you are close enough that you can copy songs from my computer over WiFi if I allow it, then you are also close enough to come to my computer, plug in a cheap external drive, and copy the whole lot, again if I allow it.

Re:P2P=Pirate2Pirate (1)

gstep (1583577) | about 5 years ago | (#29760609)

But why would you want to go to the work of lugging around an external drive when you could easily do the same thing wirelessly with no extra devices (assuming similar transfer rates as well)? Also, this would be nice for mobile phones as the size of the content being stored and shared is constantly growing, and bluetooth becomes more and more obsolete because of its low transfer rates.

Re:P2P=Pirate2Pirate (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29759733)

Re:P2P=Pirate2Pirate (2, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | about 5 years ago | (#29760839)

Good thing words can't have two meanings.

Oh wait, they can. And "piracy" has been used to refer to copyright infringement for over three centuries now ("The practice of labeling the act of infringement as "piracy" actually predates copyright itself." [wikipedia.org] ) so I'd say it's a pretty damn well-established term. It's not like "intellectual property" or something that's been coined recently.

Re:P2P=Pirate2Pirate (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762487)

Name: EvanED

Characteristics
STR: 11
DEX: 9
INT: 10
HP: 25

Skills
Looking Shit up on the Internet (14-)
Cursing (15-)

Disadvantages
No Sense of Humor 50
(Always On, Crippling)

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29759653)

Higher speed so you can talk faster.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 5 years ago | (#29760217)

Higher speeds will only make you sound like a chipmunk.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | about 5 years ago | (#29760367)

Higher speed so you can talk faster.

Or do things you couldn't do before, like transfer large files at high rates of speed or stream HD video.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1)

ElSupreme (1217088) | about 5 years ago | (#29760831)

Yeah and mouse faster. I will NOT BUY a USB1.0 mouse EVER. I need 2.0 or 3.0!!!

Sounds good (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29759659)

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.

Also, with phones, bluetooth makes a bit more sense to me, as it seems that (I could be wrong) bluetooth would use less power than wifi, why else its more limited range?

What excites me about this is something I've thought about for a while and mentioned once or twice here -- peer to peer telephony. If it got big enough we could put the cell companies out of business.

Re:Sounds good (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | about 5 years ago | (#29759755)

peer to peer telephony. If it got big enough we could put the cell companies out of business.

<whisper>shut up!<whisper>

Re:Sounds good (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 5 years ago | (#29760103)

Only for very large values of "improved battery performance". Battery powered (i.e., mobile) mesh networks aren't going to replace the current grid this side of Dilithium crystals.

Re:Sounds good (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 5 years ago | (#29760183)

...this side of Dilithium crystals.

Wow. And you thought Li-Ion battery fires were bad. Wait until your iPhone 7GSqqX-aleph gets an antimatter containment failure.

Re:Sounds good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29761941)

I do not want anything with the words "reactor" or "containment field" in my pocket :)

Re:Sounds good (1)

PotatoFarmer (1250696) | about 5 years ago | (#29760501)

Sounds like a good application for something like this [slashdot.org] . An always-on RF transponder would be an excellent case for the sort of steady power draw that nuclear batteries are good at providing.

Re:Sounds good (3, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | about 5 years ago | (#29759767)

Also, with phones, bluetooth makes a bit more sense to me

Indeed. I don't need to use my car's mic/speaker system with my cell phone while the phone is 50 to 100 feet (or more) from the car, but I do want to squeeze as long of life out of my cell phone's battery as I can.

The same applies to my laptop's mouse, or my Wiimotes, or indeed anything else that I have that currently uses Bluetooth.

Mesh WiFi sounds good if it means I can leech WiFi off generous people acting as mobile bridges to their cell provider's unlimited data plan. But in terms of revolutionizing devices, it doesn't.

In related news... (3, Insightful)

mrops (927562) | about 5 years ago | (#29761677)

...as we speak, we have Pre-Wi-Fi Direct hardware available.

In the coming years you can expect
Draft-WiFi Direct
Final Draft-Wifi Direct
and eventually Wifi-Direct hardware from manufacturers

Re:Sounds good (2, Informative)

loftwyr (36717) | about 5 years ago | (#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.

Peer-to-peer cell networks (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | about 5 years ago | (#29760093)

...peer to peer telephony. If it got big enough we could put the cell companies out of business.

I've thought about this too, and it's REALLY cool idea, but I'm not sure if it would work. Even with the internet, not every user's computer is also a server or switch. Phones add the complication of intermittent connections and limited battery power.

Could a mesh network of cell phones function independent of towers? Does anybody who has more knowledge of networking than I do want to chime in?

Re:Peer-to-peer cell networks (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29760207)

What if everyone had a plug-in box in their house to act as a peer?

Re:Peer-to-peer cell networks (1)

pla (258480) | about 5 years ago | (#29760415)

Could a mesh network of cell phones function independent of towers? Does anybody who has more knowledge of networking than I do want to chime in?

One word - Latency.

Good quality voice communication has fairly low bandwidth requirements, but very tight latency limits. Above 20ms, you start to notice the lag. Above 50ms, it gets rather annoying. Beyond 150ms, you wouldn't want to use it for anything but absolute emergencies.

Not to mention, you would have the same problem with finding peers that you do now with finding towers - In densely populated areas, you'll have no problems finding them; In rural areas (the same places you can't get a signal now), you likely won't find enough peers to maintain a connection anyway. The one exception to this, peering would probably help somewhat with dead spots inside areas that otherwise have a great signal (basements in a city, for example).

Re:Peer-to-peer cell networks (1)

emj (15659) | about 5 years ago | (#29761129)

It takes ~110ms for my voip packets to reach South America, and I've not noticed much of a problem. Sure you get a bad connection sometimes but I've always blamed that on jitter/congestion. Are you sure those values are correct?

Re:Peer-to-peer cell networks (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | about 5 years ago | (#29762347)

It takes ~110ms for my voip packets to reach South America, and I've not noticed much of a problem. Sure you get a bad connection sometimes but I've always blamed that on jitter/congestion. Are you sure those values are correct?

Obviously your threshold for good, annoying and unbearable are different than PLA's. Eventually latency gets to a point where there are pauses in conversation long enough that most people would not use it. The gp post seems to set reasonable limits (as best as a layman can tell) for most of society when concerned with local communications. A different set of standards is probably acceptable to most people for long distance communication.

Re:Peer-to-peer cell networks (1)

bn-7bc (909819) | about 5 years ago | (#29761249)

Well ENUM [wikipedia.org] and dyndns can help, and when we get IPv6 (finally no more need for port forwarding etc) it might take off. The question is will cellphone firmware an/or cell operators allow voip?

Re:Sounds good (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | about 5 years ago | (#29760159)

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.

Err, there are a ton of smartphones with wifi...

Re:Sounds good (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29760259)

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

Re:Sounds good (2, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | about 5 years ago | (#29760331)

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.

Re:Sounds good (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about 5 years ago | (#29760373)

Let's pile on here.

My wife's Curve has WiFi, but doesn't make calls on it.

My G1 ditto.

It would be interesting to do P2P, especially when she asks again how to put 'music on her phone'.

And for you pirate-baiters, it's HER music. Written, produced, and performed by her.

Re:Sounds good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29760393)

"...I have yet to see one besides the iPhone with wifi."

Really? Have you looked at other phones? I mean, I know this is a very small nit to pick, but most HTC smartphones, all the new Blackberries, Samsung smartphones, etc. all have wifi. I know that at least HTC was including wifi well before the iphone was a glimmer in Steve's eye. I'm not a hater, i think the iphone is pretty cool.

Re:Sounds good (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 5 years ago | (#29760407)

"Just about all cell phones have bluetooth, but I have yet to see one besides the iPhone with wifi."

are [google.com]
you [google.com]
kidding? [google.com]

Just about every smartphone that exists offers a version with built-in wifi, but the fact that a /. reader thought the iPhone is the only cell phone with wifi just means Apple Marketing is doing a helluva good job.

Re:Sounds good (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 5 years ago | (#29761335)

To be fair, it is possible that the Gentle Slashdot Reader may just live in a region relatively devoid of high tech gear. Perhaps the iPhone really is the only cell phone he's seen that has wifi.

Re:Sounds good (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29761429)

Perhaps the iPhone really is the only cell phone he's seen that has wifi.

Actually, it is. I don't pay attention to phones; I only need one, and I have one. I only knew the iPhone had wifi because someone I know with an iPhone was bragging about it.

Re:Sounds good (1)

steve_bryan (2671) | about 5 years ago | (#29762127)

Were those phones available more than two years ago? That is when the first iPhones and iPod touches became available and loudly proclaimed their wifi capability. Even now almost all the public wifi use is by Apple products including MacBooks, iPhones, and iPod touches according to reports that have been published. It hardly seems appropriate that the original poster be pilloried or that Apple marketing be ascribed some magical power to cloud the minds of the masses.

Re:Sounds good (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 5 years ago | (#29760527)

"What excites me about this is something I've thought about for a while and mentioned once or twice here -- peer to peer telephony. If it got big enough we could put the cell companies out of business."

do you even know what you're talking about? After the "iPhone only cell phone with wifi" comment I'm starting to wonder if you didn't just buy your low 5-digit slashdot account.

You might be able to call someone in the other room with peer to peer, but exactly how would this work across the country when you can't even drive cross country and maintain a simple wi-fi connection when 802.11a/b has been out for 10 years now and 802.11g for 6? [wikipedia.org] . But sure, if this got big enough in 20+ years and everyone was dumb enough to let anyone access their phone (you don't secure your wifi router, right?) maybe then the cell companies would be out of business and we can ice skate in hell.

Sounds good, but is it? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | about 5 years ago | (#29761639)

> peer to peer telephony. If it got big enough we could put the cell companies out of business.

Well, it would only work reliably in places where the density of telephones was fairly significant and constant, like urban areas. So we'd be trading an expensive option which sometimes gives coverage of less populated areas with a cheap option which would give practically no coverage of less populated areas.

Re:Sounds good, but is it? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 5 years ago | (#29761843)

At first you'd have to have dual-use phones that only connect to a provider network if it couldn't find a peer. And if you're in the mountains or somwhere, you'd need a regular carrier.

Upgrade to Ad-Hoc (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29759669)

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

The beef of Bluetooth is in profiles, not the link (4, Interesting)

Zarhan (415465) | about 5 years ago | (#29759685)

Unless they come up with feature equivalent to the tons of profiles [wikipedia.org] that Bluetooth has, I doubt it'll catch on. The nice thing is not the physical link, it's the fact that I can grab any headset and connect it with any phone. I recently bought a new car that has bluetooth-supporting radio, I can pair my Nokia phone with it, and so can my friend with his Samsung phone. The thing can also import names to the hands-free operated phonebook using the SIM access profile.

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?

Re:The beef of Bluetooth is in profiles, not the l (2, Informative)

Yokaze (70883) | about 5 years ago | (#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 [wikipedia.org] . The point is, you get the bandwidth of WiFi for free.

Re:The beef of Bluetooth is in profiles, not the l (1)

plover (150551) | about 5 years ago | (#29760659)

While I really like the profiles and the interoperability, the more devices that you get in your "circle of stuff" the harder it is to have all your devices continue to default to doing the "right thing".

With one phone, one headset, one computer, one handheld, it's pretty simple. With multiple phones sharing a single hands-free provider (as might be the case of a car Bluetooth system), or multiple computers that might share other components (networking, A2DP headsets) it's harder for it to continue to do the right thing without manual configuration steps. Those steps are pretty easy on a general purpose computer, but hard on a limited-interface device such as a headset.

I don't know how a shift to 802.xx would make that better, easier, harder or just different.

Re:The beef of Bluetooth is in profiles, not the l (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 5 years ago | (#29761017)

Probably "none of the above", except that any WiFi-capable unit could talk to any other WiFi-capable unit. So if I want to talk on my car stereo or my small headset today, I need my phone to have Bluetooth, but if I want to copy data from my phone to my computer or vice-versa, I need my phone to have WiFi (*).

If this comes true, then all of my devices use WiFi and I don't need different radios for different purposes. My phone, desktop, car stereo, laptop, headset, keyboard, mouse, etc all use WiFi. If I want my computer to send data to my car stereo, they both have WiFi and I can probably do it.

This is similar to having serial, parallel, FireWire, and USB all consolidating to USB. I don't need 4 different connector types on my computer to connect pretty much any peripheral I damned well please. If it's got "USB" on the label, and has a driver for my operating system, I'm good to go.

So, if anything, the added capabilities of this might make configuring it MORE complex, only because of the new choices available. If you have two headsets, three computers, an access point, three mice, three keyboards, a couple of other cell phones, an iPod, a toaster, and a partridge in a pear tree all in range of your cell phone's WiFi radio, and you hit "discover", you'll have a larger list of things to surf through to find the device you want to connect to. In all likelihood, most profile managers on most platforms will get smart about this and ask what type of device you want to look for, and filter the list accordingly.

(*) yes, I could use a data cable (USB, whatever), but that's not helping the interoperability I'm looking at here.

Re:The beef of Bluetooth is in profiles, not the l (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 years ago | (#29761037)

The nice thing is not the physical link, it's the fact that I can grab any headset and connect it with any phone.

So I'm guessing you've never actually used bluetooth devices?

I've used bluetooth on many different devices. Phones, PCs, cars, ect. I can only think of ONE time that bluetooth has 'just worked'. And by just worked I mean it paired off the start and worked the first time. Second use it just didn't.

I'm not sure what devices you are using, but in my experience bluetooth is a buggy unfriendly useless pile of shit that just adds another transmitter receiver pair to a device which already has two actually useful radios already on it.

Bluetooth pairing and profiles may be a great idea, but if the implementations are any indication of how it would be over wifi, then let the worthless POS die now.

Re:The beef of Bluetooth is in profiles, not the l (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 5 years ago | (#29761263)

Yeah, that's what I thought too. Since more and more devices use both BT and WiFi, why have to power two RF transmitters and associated electronics. BT is a very poor serial link which is only marginally compatible across a wide range of devices. The trick with subbing in WiFi is to get good, power efficient profiles which allows much lower Tx/Rx power for close sources, modulating upwards for weaker connections.

Not to mention that high quality stereo over a multi-Mb connection is going to be much better than anything BT can provide.

Re:The beef of Bluetooth is in profiles, not the l (2, Informative)

Tweenk (1274968) | about 5 years ago | (#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:The beef of Bluetooth is in profiles, not the l (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 5 years ago | (#29761881)

I recently bought a new car that has bluetooth-supporting radio, I can pair my Nokia phone with it, and so can my friend with his Samsung phone. The thing can also import names to the hands-free operated phonebook using the SIM access profile.

Yeah, this has been trickling down through the car market for a few years. My 2005 can do the pairing and the phonebook, and with the car's voice command system I can just push a button then say "Call Home" or "Call Victor" or "Call CowboyNeal" and it finds and dials the number.

Security (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 5 years ago | (#29759695)

Wi-Fi Direct will include support for WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2) and AES encryption for more secure connections and measures are being developed to enable IT admins to exert some control over Wi-Fi Direct networks within their environment.

Please don't "include support"
You're writing the spec, REQUIRE THAT IT BE USED.

We're in the 21st century, security should no longer be an after thought.

-1 Paranoid (5, Funny)

starglider29a (719559) | about 5 years ago | (#29759999)

What, am I to worry if someone takes over my keyboard? How likely is thALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO USat to happen?

Re:-1 Paranoid (2, Insightful)

solkimera (1319365) | about 5 years ago | (#29760075)

The problem is not someone taking over the keyboard . It's wireless key loggers.

I'll tell ya.... (1)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29760131)

As you're typing a memo to your boos, customers, and CCing everyone in the company.

Joe:

We will be making our sales goals for the quarter. I will be needing an increase in our b...utt. I find you sooo sexy and I want your cock. Let's have a threesome with Jane, you know, that old crabby bitty that's been giving me shit since I got into this hell hole of a company. And Joe, I really don't work! I watch gay porn all day and wack off in my office.

...and before you could unplug you machine, the return key is hit and you're either out of a job, or you get promoted but have to "service" the VPs

Re:-1 Paranoid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29761057)

BT or WIFI the medium doesnt matter. They are transmitted over the air and you never know who is listening in.

Re:Security (1)

mpoulton (689851) | about 5 years ago | (#29760083)

Please don't "include support" You're writing the spec, REQUIRE THAT IT BE USED.

We're in the 21st century, security should no longer be an after thought.

What if I don't want to encrypt something? You think I should be required to, even if there's absolutely no reason to do it in a particular application? Encryption is simply not required in every context. Recall that, until the last decade or so, most wireless voice systems used plain analog radios which could be received with common equipment - and it rarely caused problems. I'll choose whether to encrypt, thank you very much.

Re:Security (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | about 5 years ago | (#29760123)

If the encryption is seamless (the way it is with modern cell phones), then there's no good reason not to do it.

Re:Security (1)

profplump (309017) | about 5 years ago | (#29760603)

But all such systems require a trusted third-party or pre-shared secrets to establish trusted authentication in the first place. Encryption not seamless and zero-configuration on your phone, it's just pre-configured before you get it.

Re:Security (1)

tibman (623933) | about 5 years ago | (#29761573)

I thought public-key cryptography largely solved the whole pre-shared secrets thing? Third parties can sign the public key saying "yes, this person is actually who they say they are" but that doesn't improve the security of the data.

I don't know much about encryption on phones : /

Re:Security (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 5 years ago | (#29761897)

That's like saying a cell phone isn't an off-the-shelf part because, before you get it, someone has to build the PCB, install the components and the shell, test it, package it in a box, and put it on a shelf for you.

It doesn't matter what happens in the factory if the product in the hands of the consumer is zero configuration.

Freedom (1)

poptones (653660) | about 5 years ago | (#29760667)

What you are doing is making excuses for the special interests. I use a wireless router on my home network and ANYONE ELSE in the area is free to use it as well. For me having an open hotspot is a political statement as much as it is a matter of utility - what you are saying is I no longer should have that right. Well, you wouldn't be the first - the various **AAs have voiced the same views as well as the governemnt for all sorts of reasons.

Fuck all y'all: I use encryption on MY devices, what others use is up to them.

Re:Freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29760923)

So your political statement is "come download your child porn over my internet connection and it is all cool that the police will be knocking on my door instead of yours"? True you may well get out of it if you can prove it was someone else - but that doesn't negate the fact that it will be one hell of a hassle and at minimum a reputation killer. I'd have an open WiFi too except for stuff like that.

Re:Security (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 5 years ago | (#29760811)

What if I don't want to encrypt something? You think I should be required to, even if there's absolutely no reason to do it in a particular application? Encryption is simply not required in every context.

Then don't encrypt it.
I'm saying that encryption needs to be the default option. Opt-out, not opt-in.

Ubiquitous wireless is the future and that future is going to leak like a sieve unless encryption also becomes ubiquitous.
I don't particularly care if encryption is seamless or programming-the-vcr hard, it eventually has to be done.

"bluetooth uses less power" (4, Informative)

Sandbags (964742) | about 5 years ago | (#29759753)

"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:"bluetooth uses less power" (1)

Teufelhunde (1159113) | about 5 years ago | (#29759871)

But what about for smaller devices? Like bluetooth headsets? The power the wireless transmitter is drawing from these devices is the most critical component of how long they last. To combat that, you want to put two wireless antennas in such a small device? Simply not practical.

Not to mention bluetooth already owns that part of the industry. I don't really see this 'competing' with bluetooth. Bluetooth already makes it almost painless to connect devices, with pairing, profiles, etc.

Perhaps this tech will be useful where a high data transfer rate is needed, but thats as far as I see it going.

Oh, and P.S. I do keep the wifi on my phone off, and it does make a very noticeable difference in my battery life, much more then when I first turned my bluetooth connections off. If you think turning bluetooth off makes a large difference, try turning your wifi off...

Re:"bluetooth uses less power" (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | about 5 years ago | (#29759937)

And could they do wifi chips and antennas this small [sparkfun.com] ?

Re:"bluetooth uses less power" (2, Insightful)

marcansoft (727665) | about 5 years ago | (#29760179)

Pretty close [ikontools.com] .

Re:"bluetooth uses less power" (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 5 years ago | (#29760601)

wonder why they don't make mini 802.11n dongles then? Oh wait, they [ebay.com] do [nexus404.com] .

Re:"bluetooth uses less power" (2, Interesting)

natehoy (1608657) | about 5 years ago | (#29760805)

A bluetooth headset is only going to need the lower-powered antenna, unless you want to increase its range. I think the OP was talking about the PHONE carrying (possibly) two transmitters - one to "replace" Bluetooth for very-short-range transmissions and one to be WiFi.

But you really wouldn't need that - you could simply have a WiFi radio that talks quietly when it's connected to some kind of local device, and more loudly only when it needs to reach a distant access point or something. The radio can always have a sensitive antenna to listen, because that will allow it to hear close/weak devices (headsets) as well as distant/strong ones (WiFi access points).

If anything, this would probably end up saving power, assuming you are interested in having WiFi on your phone, because you don't have to support a WiFi *and* a Bluetooth radio. Just WiFi, and it'll only pull heavy duty power when you want to use it to connect to a distant access point.

Re:"bluetooth uses less power" (2, Informative)

autocracy (192714) | about 5 years ago | (#29759995)

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.

Re:"bluetooth uses less power" (1)

Sandbags (964742) | about 5 years ago | (#29760833)

You're right, the anteanna is not the power draw, the chip and signal strength is. Either way, on my AP, i can dial back the gain and accordingly shorten the transmit range, and the device does draw less power doing so. Our business class HP/procurve APs can do this on the fly via centrally monitored systems in order to provide for signal crossover balancing, to limit chanel interference, and to also boost signal to extend range if another AP goes offline.

Having 2 anteanna and a dual radio device would simply allow both a high and low power signal concurrently (or to power off one when not in use). perhaps a single anteanna could also do that, I don't know, but the idea was lessening the power would work for short range devices. In the dedicated short range device (headset) only a lower power chip would be needed, and power draw should be on par or very near bluetooth draw. For USB wireless, the power can come from the port it;s connected to, and it could have significant dynamic range, possibly covering a whole house or more, or be dialed back to just a single room or PAN.

I also don't know how WiFi behaves when the iPhone is in standby. i know I can queue downloads, or turn on Pandora and put the device to sleep and the signal continues. I'm sure some other apps make occasional use of WiFi. If you have push enabled, and you are connected to a valid wifi base station, I also know it maintains it's activeSync connection over wifi and does not transmit on 3g, even when asleep, i just don;t know if it actively polls for approved networks when it's NOT connected to one when asleep. It;s less battery use to do that then to use 3G, so i would actually hope it is looking for pre-approved networks when asleep.

Re:"bluetooth uses less power" (1)

HamburglerJones (1539661) | about 5 years ago | (#29760855)

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.

Yep, I used to have a jail-broken iPhone, and in order to SSH into it I had to turn the screen on to enable WiFi. Once I had an active connection with it though, turning off the screen didn't kill the WiFi. I think it's the same with any background process - if the email app is updating, it will finish up even if the screen isn't on.

Re:"bluetooth uses less power" (1)

Nethead (1563) | about 5 years ago | (#29761285)

What is this "optimal" HT antenna you speak of?

73, w7com

Proper Brain Preparation (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | about 5 years ago | (#29760245)

On behalf of the zombie coaltion, I'm going to ask you to discontinue your suggestions that transmit power of your microwave devices be turned down. Currently, the power emitted is sufficient to get your brains to just the right consistency and temperature to provide a perfect snack. That will not be the case with lower-power devices, and I, for instance, simply don't think that anyone can appreciate a cold brain.

Re:"bluetooth uses less power" (1)

BOFslime (178524) | about 5 years ago | (#29761143)

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.

This is actually incredibly easy on the android platform, apps made this easier in 1.0, widgets made this accessible from the home screens in 1.5, and 1.6 added native support with a control bar.

It's not a Bluetooth killer. (1)

Seor Jojoba (519752) | about 5 years ago | (#29759879)

Battery life on mobile devices is still a large issue, and if you are just connecting headsets and syncing up with PCs the extra range isn't needed. So WiFi Direct sounds better for some applications maybe. But we are all sick of our phones crapping out after an hour or two of "heavy" use, and trading range for battery life doesn't make sense for nearly all of the existing uses.

Re:It's not a Bluetooth killer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29760275)

Not to mention the fact that I have never seen a bluetooth device fail to function properly, while wifi craps out all the time with rogue APs, incompatible standards, bad drivers, and more.

Aren't they overlooking something? (2, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 5 years ago | (#29760041)

What about the difference between Wi-Fi being DSSS (direct sequencing spread spectrum, meaning it uses one fixed slice of the spectrum) vs Bluetooth's FHSS (frequency hopping spread spectrum, meaning it hops around the spectrum in a pseudorandom way such that multiple bluetooth devices will never interfere with each other)? Unless the new Wi-Fi standard includes something smarter than "default to channel 6" these devices will not be as friendly to each other as Bluetooth.

Re:Aren't they overlooking something? (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | about 5 years ago | (#29760265)

What if they sniff the channels first and pick the least crowded one? My wifi router (Tomato) already does this.

Re:Aren't they overlooking something? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 5 years ago | (#29760481)

It still means a relatively small (11 channels in the US) amount to choose from compared to bluetooth's 79 slices. With few devices, there isn't a problem, but why even bother with it if it can't work in a crowded business meeting where a dozen people each have their phone out, tethered to their laptop, earpiece paired to their phone, mouse tethered to their laptop, wi-fi trying to push a video stream to a projector, etc.

Re:Aren't they overlooking something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29761201)

Add to that the fact that the ranges on WiFi are much longer than the ranges with bluetooth. With bluetooth your competing with every device in your apartment, with WiFi your competing with every device in your apartment building.

Well, they announced the announcement anyway (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 5 years ago | (#29760077)

There are zero technical details. It's difficult to even know what this standard includes. Zeroconf maybe? Maybe not?

All of the articles contain the same information from the press release. I've contacted several of the magazine authors, and none of them know anything either. Not that that stopped them from telling everyone about how great whatever-it-is is going to be.

What you can anticipate ... (1)

testman123 (1111753) | about 5 years ago | (#29760649)

Right, WPS-PBC like operations to perform the link sync and zeoconf at IP level :)

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi_Protected_Setup [wikipedia.org] for details.

The interresting part of the spec is a "group mode" which -if true- is completely different from the AdHoc mode !

If no group is there, then this is cool bu only an improved AdHoc mode and I would so understand why it is supposed to be applicable by software. wpa-supplicant anybody ;-)

Rgs,
TM

Re:What you can anticipate ... (1)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | about 5 years ago | (#29762833)

WPS does little in this scenario. Sure I get to know the WPA2 setup, but I'm not sure that really helps anything. I still need to "find that printer on the net".

From what I can see so far, this is really just a WPS server in a "soft AP" in the devices. Unless the WFA also demands something like zeroconf, I don't see how this is going to work.

I'm also curious about the connection method. If the idea is that you connect to the soft AP using infrastructure mode, how do I get a 'net connection? And if it's not and it's based on ad hoc, is everyone talking to everyone again?

Really, this press release went out way too early.

Wireless devices with Master Mode Support (1)

falckon (1015637) | about 5 years ago | (#29760081)

Correct me if I'm wrong but the technological "leap" here seems to be that any node can be the server of a wireless communication.

Wi-Fi Direct devices can connect in pairs or in groups. With Wi-Fi Direct only one of the devices needs to be compliant with Wi-Fi Direct to establish the peer-to-peer connection. So, for example, a Wi-Fi Direct-enabled mobile phone could establish a connection with a non-Wi-Fi Direct notebook computer to transfer files between the two.

Seems to be suggesting that a Wi-Fi Direct device will host an access point for the notebook computer to connect to. Otherwise how could such communication with a non Wi-Fi Direct node be possible? There are already certain wireless cards that allow running your device in master mode (appearing as an access point) so that others can connect to you. Combined with a repeater configuration and wireless N speeds and you have the equivalent connectivity of Wi-Fi Direct. So is the leap here that it will be made easy and standard?

Re:Wireless devices with Master Mode Support (1)

Ant P. (974313) | about 5 years ago | (#29760607)

Sounds like they've just took a bunch of already existing additions to Wi-fi and trademarked it. Presumably so they can charge royalties for it.

Re:Wireless devices with Master Mode Support (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | about 5 years ago | (#29760631)

One can only hope. Ubiquitous wireless mesh networking would be cool, not to mention very damage resistant. I would love for all my devices at home to be able to use something like this. Imagine your TV streaming Hidef content from your computer in another room, or your appliances all hooked into the home network so you can optimize power draw... essentially making your entire house a small smart grid. If every device that has one of these is given a little bit of router smarts then everything could interconnect and router traffic throughout teh home. There really are a lot of possibilities for tech like this. You could for instance have one in your car and have it connected to your home network. Find where you want to go and your GPS in the car could be automatically programmed to have that destination. Make a new playlist and have the music player in the car automatically updated with the songs you want.

Re:Wireless devices with Master Mode Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29760889)

Ubiquitous wireless mesh networking would be cool, not to mention very damage resistant.

I swear, whoever uses the word "ubiquitous" again is going to lose a gold star.

Re:Wireless devices with Master Mode Support (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 5 years ago | (#29761893)

Actually, I think this is more of a way to certify ad-hoc mode. Infrastructure mode is what the WiFi Alliance tends to test the most, but ad-hoc can be quite iffy - it sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. That and security settings make it somewhat interesting. (Note that ad-hoc mode has been well-defined by the 802.11 spec).

I think this is a way to standardize security and setup of ad-hoc mode devices.

up to 250 mbps? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29760119)

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

MOD PARENT UP (1)

chefmonkey (140671) | about 5 years ago | (#29760627)

I'd mod myself, but I don't have points. "Informative" would be what you're looking for.

Re:up to 250 mbps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29762651)

so what do expect out of a wireless connection? 250gbps = 250 billibits per second?

Re:up to 250 mbps? (1)

majid_aldo (812530) | about 5 years ago | (#29762735)

i understand your point but you can't have a fraction of a bit so it /must/ be mega.

Power Consumption (1)

dlevitan (132062) | about 5 years ago | (#29760127)

The point of Bluetooth is not to transfer gigabytes of data. The point of bluetooth is to be able to connect a headset to a cell phone while barely lowering the battery life. The point of bluetooth is to be able to have wireless headphones that can run on a small battery. Wifi direct will be great for printers and the like, but Bluetooth is not going anywhere.

Re:Power Consumption (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 5 years ago | (#29760681)

"Wifi direct will be great for printers and the like...."

....and cameras and camcorders: imagine a endless storage 1080i HDTV camcorder. That dinky 60gb built-in hard drive full after 6 hrs? No problem: with Wi-Fi Direct just fire up your laptop and stream the video straight to your multi-terabyte hard drive for hundreds of hours of full HD video bliss. Done taking photos of little timmy's b-day? Photos transferred straight to your PC already without a special expensive SD card like eye-fi [www.eye.fi] . You can even select which photos to print out on your camera and have them printed without even touching your PC.

Already Been Done? (1)

Recessive Gene Boy (613781) | about 5 years ago | (#29760713)

I hate to sound like an Apple Fanboy, but hasn't this already been done with Apple's ZeroConf [zeroconf.org] spec? It's not like it's only available for the Mac either. There are implementations for Windows, Linux, and the BSDs. The spec is out there for anyone to use, so it's not like a hardware manufacturer couldn't roll their own implementation. Why do we need yet another specification that does basically the same thing?

Far too slow (1)

ebbe11 (121118) | about 5 years ago | (#29760773)

A speed of 250 mbps is not going to cut it. They need speeds measured in Mbps if it is going to be a success.

Good! Bluetooth sucks (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 years ago | (#29760969)

GREAT! I'm so sick of dealing with shitty bluetooth stacks that don't work reliably. Doesn't seem to matter where the stack is or what it pairs too, the whole system is a horrible buggy pile of partially interoperable shit.

Bluetooth needs to die an incredible fast death.

Bluetooth Improvement (1)

Cyner (267154) | about 5 years ago | (#29761067)

If they want to improve on Bluetooth then switch it off the busy 2450 MHz ISM Band [wikipedia.org] to the practically unused 5150 to 5250 MHz U-NII Low Band [wikipedia.org]

Otherwise, we don't need *another* physical layer spec for the service we already have.

Re:Bluetooth Improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29761363)

Sorry, 5200 MHz is already taken. It's my Wifi network. You guys can keep the 2.4GHz band.

Bluetooth hops while Wifi doesn't (1)

nixbox (797731) | about 5 years ago | (#29761977)

I highly doubt that Direct Wifi will replace Bluetooth. One reason is that Wifi works on a single channel and does not hop and thus is more susceptible to interference. Bluetooth on the other hand hops across different channels to avoid interfering with other protocols and even other bluetooth devices. Also, Wifi is a big power drain as compared to bluetooth.

The great unsolved problem of modern computing (1)

syncrotic (828809) | about 5 years ago | (#29762801)

You have two computers right next to each other. You want to get a file from one to other... good luck with that. For some totally inexplicable reason, this common situation presents us with a problem that's never been adequately solved. I've seen people sitting next to each other with laptops log on to their webmail accounts to send a file. Only to find that they can't, because the file is too large. Etc.

Let's review your options:

USB's architecture means two hosts can't talk to each other.

Firewire isn't common enough a port, and there are two connector types to worry about.

Ethernet is universal, the cables are cheap, and people might actually carry them around. You no longer need to worry about crossover cables, it's the fastest external interface on the modern PC... do we have a winner?

802.11g/n is also universal. Making a peer-to-peer network in windows isn't exactly easy though, and then you have to convince the other guy to disconnect from whatever network he's on, search the area, connect to yours... several minutes of work and a huge pain in the ass.

And all of the above suffer from the problem that they set up TCP/IP connections. Even with the autoconfig addresses that you'll get after Windows gives up on DHCP, two machines connected over TCP/IP have no practical way to talk to each other. What are you going to do, set up an FTP server? Connect to the C$ share of the other machine? Even if you were to do anything like that, you'd still need to ask for the guy's IP address first. Have fun teaching Ted from accounting about ipconfig.

What we need is something that's more than just a TCP/IP connection... something that automatically discovers the devices around you and gives you the option to easily send them a file. The standard has to specify everything right up to the application layer.

So... we need bluetooth. This is exactly the kind of problem it was made to solve.

The potential of it was ruined by two factors. First is that bluetooth continues to be a $30 option (for a $0.30 chip) on a lot of laptops. Second, and more importantly, there's the matter of the windows bluetooth stack; god help us all. Make the machine discoverable, get the other guy to search for devices in the area, pair them, exchange passkeys... all through an interface that, at least on XP, confuses the shit out of everyone.

In order for Wi-Fi direct to be useful, it will have to be more than just another way to establish a TCP/IP connection, and it will have to let go of this ridiculous obsession with security: pairing and discoverability and pass keys and all that nonsense. Christ, just let two machines talk to each other.

Remember IRDA? It wasn't exactly popular, but it worked. Two computers get in range, windows makes a neat little sound, and you get a systray icon you can click to immediately send files. That's the way it should be. The one time I ever managed to use it, it was glorious.

The solution we've managed to come up with in the absence of this capability is sneakernet for the 21st century: the USB flash drive. At least they're cheap and common now... there was a time when two computers sitting next to each other really had *no* options at all. Now we have these... they're not particularly fast, you're likely but by no means guaranteed to have one lying around, and whatever disposable cereal-box prize you're likely to be using will always have just a little less capacity than you need.

Damn it, it's the future. I want to beam files from one computer to another. Why can't I?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?