Is Bluetooth on Its Way Out?
The inexorable march of technology made wires and cable obsolete in the wake of Bluetooth and may soon do the same to the short-range wireless protocol. The Wi-Fi Alliance this week announced Wi-Fi Direct, a new short-range wireless standard capable of performing many of the same tasks as Blutooth, but at Wi-Fi speeds.
Essentially, Wi-Fi Direct turns supporting devices into access points, allowing them to connect to one another without joining a traditional network. They’ll support typical Wi-Fi ranges and the same data-transfer rates, which in the case of 802.11n is some 30 times faster than the three megabits per second for Bluetooth.
“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,” Wi-Fi Alliance Executive Director Edgar Figueroa said in a statement. “The impact is that Wi-Fi will become even more pervasive and useful for consumers and across the enterprise.”
And Bluetooth inevitably less so. Especially since Wi-Fi Direct will be available as a software upgrade for existing Wi-Fi devices. Why wait around for high-speed Bluetooth, which itself will rely on Wi-Fi for high speed data transfers, when you can use Wi-Fi Direct for your personal area network?