Intel launches ‘My WiFi’ personal area networking for new Centrino 2 notebooks to create direct connections to Wi-Fi printers, smartphones, projectors and even other notebooks
Running out of USB ports? Getting tangled up in cables snaking all over your desk? Intel is touting Wi-Fi ‘personal area networks’ as the answer for short range and sometimes short term connections to a wide range of devices.
Centrino 2 notebooks equipped with Intel’s new ‘My WiFi’ technology (formerly known under the codename of ‘Cliffside’) will be able to set up a direct Bluetooth-style link with up to eight Wi-Fi devices simultaneously, within a within a three metre radius. At the same time the notebook can remain connected to to a conventional wireless network.
My WiFi relies on new drivers for the wireless component of Intel’s Centrino 2 platform – the WiFi Link 5100 and WiFi Link 5300 adapters – to create a second ‘virtual’ Wi-Fi interface which creates the personal area network, or PAN. The network can be protected by standard wireless security protocols such as WPA, with connections established using Wi-Fi Protected Setup mode.
All connected devices are managed through a Windows Vista program which will come preinstalled on all Centrino 2 laptops. The software records the most recently connected devices, which like Bluetooth devices are initially ‘paired’ to the laptop and can then be set to automatically re-establish the connection each time the notebook and device are within range. Selected devices can be blocked, and location-based profiles support the creation of multiple personal area networks at different locations.
The My WiFi utility, shown here under its earlier codename of 'Cliffside', manages the connection with nearby wireless devices and can also support multiple location-based profiles
Vista’s Internet Connection Sharing can also be used to provide Internet access to devices connected to the notebook. My WiFi can also be used to create a direct connection between two notebooks – similar to an ‘ad hoc’ wireless network but with fewer setup headaches and stronger security.
'Sync, share, show and print' is likely to become Intel's marketing mantra for My WiFi
Intel sees My WiFi as being especially useful to established temporary ‘walk-up’ connections to printers and projectors, in addition to downloading photos from a digital camera, monitoring the feed from a security camera, synchronising your smartphone data or updating the playlists on an iPod Touch.