‘Tis the holiday season once again, and you know what that means… Time to check out the Wi-Fi Alliance’s 2011 Wi-Fi and DLNA certified Gadget Guide!
This year’s guide features wireless consumer electronics that not only speak 802.11n, but are compatible with the Digital Living Network Alliance's (DLNA's) certifications for digital home networking. Specifically, DLNA certified device classes include:
* Home Network Devices such as digital media servers, players, renderers, controllers, and printers – for example, network attached storage devices (servers) that make music and video available to TVs and remote speakers (renderers).
* Mobile Handheld Devices, including mobile digital media servers, players, uploaders, downloaders, and controllers – for example, mobile phones that download music and cameras that upload pictures.
* Home Infrastructure Device which bridge network connectivity and media interoperability gaps between Home Network Devices and Mobile Handheld Devices.
In all three cases, DLNA specifications make it possible for devices to discover, connect, and exchange digital media (movies, music, and photos) with each other over wired or wireless networks.
Linking DLNA to Wi-Fi
The Wi-Fi Alliance of course enters the picture by facilitating interoperable communication over 802.11n. This November, the DLNA incorporated the WFA’s Wi-Fi Direct certification into its interoperability guidelines. This move is important because it marries the two programs, enabling seamless wireless communication between digital media devices without requiring an intervening (wired or wireless) router.
Wi-Fi Direct devices announce themselves to other Wi-Fi devices in the area. Users can then view available Wi-Fi Direct devices, request connections, or receive invitations to connect. When two or more Wi-Fi Direct devices connect to each other, they form a Wi-Fi Direct Group, using Wi-Fi Protected Setup to auto-configure WPA2-PSK security.
On to this year’s holiday gifts…
So: What cool new devices might you find in this year’s Gadget Guide for the Wi-Fi enthusiast in your family?
* Wi-Fi capable Media Players such as the Philips Streamium, a music player and Internet radio that can source media from a nearby PC while being remotely controlled from a smartphone app.
* Wi-Fi enabled Mobile Computing devices such as the Sony Tablet S, a media display-optimized tablet that can share and view media with DLNA-certified TVs, PCs, and speakers.
* Wi-Fi capable Smartphones such as the Motorola DROID 3 that bring increasingly powerful CPUs and larger higher-quality displays to render digital media, stored locally or streamed over Wi-Fi.
* Dual-band Wi-Fi routers such as the Linksys E4200 and the Netgear N600 which deliver home network content (including rich digital media) at data rates up to 450 Mbps.
* Wi-Fi enabled printers such as the HP Envy 110, an all-in-one web-connected printer, copiers, and scanner with a high-resolution touch screen for control and web interaction.
* Wi-Fi capable TVs such as the Samsung LED 7900 “smart TV” which includes not only integrated wireless, but a full web browser and a variety of video-on-demand service UIs.
These are just a fraction of over 11,000 Wi-Fi certified devices now listed at the Wi-Fi Alliance’s website. In addition to enterprise and home network and computing devices and DLNA-capable devices, the Wi-Fi Alliance certifies an increasingly diverse array of products, including webcams, gaming devices, single and dual-mode phones, barcode scanners, bridges, repeaters, tablets, hospital beds, motion sensors, vehicle mounted computers, refrigerators, air conditioners, photo frames, projectors, and more.
In short, we are now literally surrounded by Wi-Fi. It’s everywhere. And it’s invisible – unless we leverage WiFi Analyzers and Wireless Intrusion Prevention Systems to keep tabs on what’s within our airspace and what kinds of traffic they are exchanging. IT admins cannot ignore this tidal wave of new Wi-Fi devices. Expect to find at least some of these new Wi-Fi / DLNA gadgets walking through your door in early 2012.
How to secure those Wi-Fi holiday gifts