This week it was announced that new improvements are coming to The Wi-Fi Alliance’s peer-to-peer technology Wi-Fi Direct. The service allows a variety of machines – including printers, PCs, phones and TVs – to communicate one-to-one without the need for a LAN, and the planned enhancements promise to make that action even easier.

The Alliance claims to have certified more than 6,000 products as Wi-Fi Direct-capable over the last four years, IDG News Service reported. Next week, the group plans to introduce four new mechanisms to make carrying out basic tasks simpler over Wi-Fi Direct. Adding the services to a certified device is optional, but they allow users to “discover, connect and do” certain functions with a single click, according to president and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance Edgar Figueroa.

The new services will make a variety of tasks simpler, but especially focus on simplifying the ability to share and print documents from mobile devices. The enhancements include:

  • Wi-Fi Direct Send: This feature will allow content to be quickly sent and received by one or more devices while keeping user interaction to a minimum.
  • Wi-Fi Miracast: Enables screen mirroring and display sharing in a single step when devices have implemented the updated device and service discovery mechanisms of Wi-Fi Direct.
  • Wi-Fi Direct for DLNA: Simplifies the process of allowing devices supporting Digital Living Network Alliance interoperability to find each other before connecting to stream content.
  • Wi-Fi Direct Printing: Allows users to print documents directly from PCs, tablets and smartphones with a single command.

New services remove previous complications
With the previous iteration of Wi-Fi Direct, a user could send a presentation from a computer to a Wi-Fi-enabled projector over the service as long as both devices were equipped with the basic technology. But after the initial connection, a variety of additional steps were required that made the process confusing for users. In the past, vendors weren’t developing enough Wi-Fi Direct implementations between products from different vendors, and because of poor interoperability some devices that were advertised as Wi-Fi Direct clients wouldn’t always be able to connect with a user’s device. The new services aim to improve interoperability between vendors’ products.

The new services do not require any additional hardware, allowing upgrades to be provided for products already in hand. The Alliance is making applications available for each of their services to vendors, so only a user interface will need to be created. According to Figueroa, the organization is also making a toolkit available so similar capabilities can be built for other processes in a standardized way.

The simplicity offered by the Wi-Fi Direct service is making devices with the capability increasingly popular, according to a recent study by ABI Research. The firm estimates that 2 billion Wi-Fi Direct certified devices have been shipped to date, RCR Wireless News reported. Over the next four years, ABI expects 81 percent of devices with Wi-Fi capabilities to be certified for Wi-Fi Direct.