back to article The Wi-Fi Alliance wants to get you off Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi Alliance is looking to push a new platform that will allow devices to share data even when no Wi-Fi network is available. Dubbed Wi-Fi Aware, the platform would have devices share small snippets of data directly to enable applications like multiplayer games, without device upgrades or the need for an access point. …

  1. PleebSmash


    No device upgrades, existing hardware? Wouldn't this eat into power consumption and have shorter range than routers? Doesn't this overlap with Bluetooth and 802.11s? Etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: how-fi

      Yes there is overlap, but they want THEIR standard to be used, not someone else's.

    2. Warm Braw

      Re: how-fi

      Allegedly, it's mostly a software overlay that batches up short status messages and sends them in bursts to reduce power consumption. As the technology is similar to bluetooth beacons, it can also run over bluetooth. However, it appears if you want any actual details you have to fork out $199 for the spec.

      The suggested use cases (random strangers offering to share photographs and advertisers offering you random apps) seem to range from the unsavoury to the foolhardy. But that's the hipster generation for you.

      1. PleebSmash

        Re: how-fi

        The words that caught my attention were "multiplayer games". That implies a pretty stable connection.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: how-fi

      "Doesn't this overlap with Bluetooth and 802.11s? Etc."

      Or maybe they just arrived from the year 2001, because this sounds like ad-hoc to me, and WiFi ad-hoc has been around over a decade (for desktop computing, even longer otherwise).

  2. VinceH

    Tin foil hat time:

    So, if my lightbulb can see next door's fridge, which can see the next door again's games console, which is connected to the internet, then my lightbulb can send data back to home base even if I don't connect it to the internet itself.

    That's not what the article is talking about, per se (and it does mention 'permisions' - which we all know are never, ever ignored, bypassed, changed, or anything, oh no) but it strikes me that the scope for such nefariousness is there with this idea.

    Note: Unless I have no choice, I will never own an IoT lightbulb. It's just a silly example.

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  4. Mark Allen

    Billboards Talking

    This is so the Advertising Billboards can talk back to you like in Minority Report. It says it will be exchanging information about who and where you are... which sounds to me like something for the advertising crowd.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Billboards Talking

      2 "useful" Applications spring to mind.

      1) Games akin to the "zombie" game, where you can have "zombies" finding "humans" to eat "brains" and turn them into "zombies"

      2) Grindr/Tindr hookups.

      In both those cases you would want to be found, other than that there is no way on earth that this can lead to anything good.

  5. Down not across

    To implement the technology, software developers will need to update their applications to utilize the new system. Once activated, the Wi-Fi Aware platform will allow devices to send and receive small packets of data with user information and location.

    All kit can already do adhoc as well as infrastructure mode. I guess the only "new" thing here is these lovely little packets of information who and where, being sent in adhoc fashion (even if the wlan is configured to be infrastructure mode) by some random apps.

    Thanks but no thanks.

  6. bob, mon!

    So, Invasive Ad-Hoc Mode

    This sounds like a standard for malware.

  7. Old Used Programmer

    I wonder how Marriott would react this if it were used in their convention spaces...

  8. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    So what is it?

    802.11 has supported ad-hoc mode since the start, and is supported by every chip AFAIK. And there's 802.11s mesh networking (which is supported directly by a few chipsets, and by many more under Linux's mac80211 layer if the chip can be told to send and receive raw frames without firmware stepping on it's toes.)

    Is this going to be a third standard to do this kind of thing? Or, is it some bit of software standards that sit on top of one of these existing standards so useful work can actually be done? There's some use for this I suppose, because as it stands both Linux and Windows (and Mac, and most systems) by default assume they'll connect to wifi, then be given an IP address by a DHCP server, then usually ignore everything on the LAN and just access the internet. This would have you NOT be given an IP (maybe it'd self-assign a 169.x.x.x address? Or maybe not even use IP at all? I don't know), and primarily toss packets at other machines on the "LAN" (LAN in this case being whatever's "Wi-fi Aware" kit is in range I guess.)

  9. btrower

    Analysis complete

    Here is my analysis:

    Executive Summary:


    Precis: The fact that security was not addressed front and center means they may not understand even a bit what they are doing beyond the hardware and bare protocols.


    I am gratified that others commenting see the problems. Note, though, that the IoT is already upon us and it is just not going away. Most useful things can be used for good or evil. Science and technology are not inherently evil. Cars kill a lot of people but our reaction to that has been to enhance their safety, not to stop using them.

  10. Neoc

    I can hear the sound of knives

    ..VXers sharpening their tools and slobbering over this new vector.

  11. tom dial Silver badge

    This is the wet dream of every SIGINT agency in the world.

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