Wi-Fi Alliance improves Wi-Fi Direct certification to support new services

The Wi-Fi Alliance added an optional set of services to its Wi-Fi Direct certification program, all of which are aimed at reducing operations to a single step.

The first TVs and printers supporting the optional services could be launched at International CES in January, while cellular handsets supporting the new services could hit the market this year, Edgar Figueroa, alliance president and CEO, told Twice.

A notable improvement is that applications will be able to initiate a Wi-Fi Direct connection between devices from various brands without requiring the user to configure a connection. Further, compatible devices can now "discover, connect and do" in a single step and immediately implement interoperable services for several common tasks.

The underlying platform enabling the new enhancements got its start two years ago when the Wi-Fi Alliance created a dedicated task group aimed at developing a multi-vendor interoperable applications platform for Wi-Fi Direct.

The four services certified in the updated program are: Wi-Fi Direct Send, which enables one or more devices to send and receive content with minimal user interaction; Wi-Fi Direct Print, which allows a user to print documents directly from a smartphone, tablet or PC with a single command; Wi-Fi Direct for DLNA, which lets devices supporting DLNA interoperability guidelines discover each other before connecting to stream content; and Miracast, which enables devices to implement updated Wi-Fi Direct device and service discovery mechanisms to enable screen mirroring and display in one step.

The alliance is also offering a Wi-Fi Direct Toolkit that will offer a developer interface to the platform for use when building applications to run on Wi-Fi Direct connections.

The enhancements "provide immediately useful solutions for product vendors, as well as a new platform for developer innovation, making Wi-Fi Direct more valuable to industry and end users alike," according to Philip Solis, research director at ABI Research.

The first products to support the new service enhancements, and which comprise the test suite for interoperability certification, include the Google Nexus 10, Marvell Avastar 88W8797 802.11 a/b/g/n reference design, Mediatek MT6592+6625 phone, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-based Linux Android system with XSPAN 802.11n connectivity; Realtek 2x2 11a/b/g/n/ac minicard; and Seiko Epson 100-120v, 100w, WFDS PWG raster print service reference design.

ABI estimates that 2 billion Wi-Fi Direct devices have shipped to date, and that 81 percent of all Wi-Fi devices will be Wi-Fi Direct-enabled by 2018.

Wi-Fi Direct products that have gained certification include TVs, mobile phones, printers, PCs and tablets, as well as silicon from Wi-Fi chipset vendors. More than 6,000 certifications for Wi-Fi Direct have been completed since the initial program launch in October 2010, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance.

For more:
- see this Wi-Fi Alliance release
- see this Twice article

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The Wi-Fi Alliance started certifying Wi-Fi Direct products in 2010