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Wi-Fi Alliance Promises Simpler Wi-Fi Direct

Austin, Texas — The Wi-Fi Alliance upgraded its Wi-Fi Direct spec to deliver a one-step connection between devices.

Product-certification tests got underway in August, and the first TVs and printers with the optional enhancement could be launched at International CES. Cellphones could arrive this year with the technology, said Edgar Figueroa, president/CEO of the alliance.

The option will deliver a “one-step connect and enable” connection between devices, reducing the number of steps from three, Figueroa said. Devices will automatically detect whether another product is equipped with the Wi-Fi Direct option, and consumers will click an icon to establish the connection and enable security.

Four services can be certified under the new certification regimen:

Wi-Fi Direct Print: Users will be able to print documents directly from a smartphone, tablet or PC with a single command.

Wi-Fi Direct Send: Users will transfer files, including photos, in one step.

Wi-Fi Direct for DLNA: DLNA-enabled devices will discover each other before making a connection to stream content.

Miracast: Screen mirroring will be enabled in one step. Miracast is a Wi-Fi Alliance technology based on the alliance’s Wi-Fi Direct technology.

As an example of the streamlined approach to connecting, Figueroa said current Miracast technology requires consumers with a TV and mobile device to manually discover the TV and manually set up a Wi-Fi Direct connection. Consumers must find the screen-sharing UI of the TV and mobile device and either push a button on both devices or enter a PIN on one device. Users go into a phone’s Wi-Fi settings for setup and, on a TV, go into the TV’s network, display or input settings, depending on the TV.

The procedure must be executed each time the user wants to do screen sharing, Figueroa said.

With the new spec, “we don’t mandate the names of the icons or how users access them, but once they find the icon, [connecting] will be one click,” Figueroa said.