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+ - Don't Get Started: Wifi Direct

Submitted by
hazydave
hazydave writes "Wi-Fi Direct is coming.... but really, why? There's all this effort in the industry to create this new specification. But I don't think it really addresses the problem.

The goal, it is claimed, is that Wi-Fi Direct will make Wi-Fi work like Bluetooth. You'll be able to easily connect your smart phone, camera, printer, keyboard, mouse, and your toaster oven without any fussing. And they'll all start magically speaking the same language.

But dig a little deeper, and they seem to be solving the wrong problem. Sure, Bluetooth does this... any Bluetooth device can master a PAN, and talk to seven other devices. But that's not really the special sauce in Bluetooth — Profiles are what make Bluetooth work.

Wi-Fi devices don't naturally do this while PAN thing, and we don't want to change the protocol or hardware. So the brilliant solution here: every Wi-Fi Direct device will now be its own Access Point and Router. Really? Do I really want my keyboard, mouse, or toaster oven to run a Wi-Fi Access Point? Or even my Printer? Is this really a common problem?

I mean, sure, occasionally I'm caught in the wild without a hot spot. There are plenty of solutions for that, if you have a PC and just need things connected up over 802.11. But 99.9% of the time, I have Wi-Fi devices on the net already. I introduce my devices once, they're hooked up. I already have those passwords installed, remembered, etc. The connectivity just works. I don't have to go find my printer and introduce it to my phone or camera, they already know each other, and they're on a clear channel.

Do I really want additional APs magically appearing all over my home or office, competing for already crowded spectrum? Nope. Imagine the plight of apartment dwellers, already dealing with scarce clear channels, now dealing with multiple spontaneous APs from every toaster oven that happens to get near a smartphone. Do I want to trust that my printer's Wi-Fi Direct protocol doesn't open another avenue for evil into my network? It really doesn't seem to be needed.

And further, this really doesn't solve any problems. The trick isn't getting my devices connected, not even slightly. It's that whole "language" thing. When I first read about Wi-Fi Direct, I figured, oh, that's decent of them, they're adding a few Bluetooth-like Profiles to Wi-Fi. This would let dumb devices that can get on your net do seemingly smart things. So, for example, your camera could print directly to your printer. Or my smartphone and GPS get together about phone book sharing.

Sorry. That's not what this is doing. This is only about building little access points into every compliant device. And as a result, maybe deciding that 802.11 is a one-size-fits-all protocol. I'm actually kind of glad, for power and security reasons alike, that mice, keyboards, and other small things are on Bluetooth or some other protocol.

What do you all think?"

+ - Connectify Subverts Dorm Room Limitations->

Submitted by
hazydave
hazydave writes "Connectify 3.0 is a new version of an application that creates a virtual Wifi hotspot on a Windows 7 PC. When he made the Dean's List last fall, I set the previous version up on my son's PC, to let him hook up his iPod Touch or X-Box 360 via Wi-Fi. Looks like the Connectify people have realized this use, they say: "Many Schools and private institutions have restrictive limits on the amount of devices an individual can have registered to their wireless networks. In this day and age, these quotas are quickly exceeded by the wide variety of Wi-Fi enabled devices (such as smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and gaming systems) we use on a regular basis. With Connectify running on a laptop or desktop PC, you can circumvent these limits and securely connect any number of devices to your personal Wi-Fi network." For the kid, the dorms at Richard Stockton College allow only a single wired connection, and wireless routers or APs are specifically illegal. The new version has apparently been well tested with most gaming systems and other non-PC devices. They're also running a back-to-school promotion, complete with a marketing video and a discount on the "pro" version of the software. Worth checking out... hope the RAs don't start to get wise to it."
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