Create a wireless PAN with Centrino 2 and share data on multiple devices


One of the challenges we mobile folks face daily is connecting our devices to work together and share data. Sometimes we use wireless Bluetooth connections but with many peripherals, we have to pull a USB cable out of the gadget bag. What a shame that we can’t use the WiFi connection that’s likely already in our computing device, right? And while it’s not too hard to share a WiFi connection with other computers, most folks don’t realize that this functionality is built in to both the Windows and Mac operating systems.

Intel’s looks to be taking advantage of this situation with their new Centrino 2 platform and their WiFi Link 5000 card. With this hardware, you create a wireless PAN, or Personal Area Network over WiFi for your devices. This lets your notebook become a WiFi access point for your other WiFi-enabled devices, but more importantly, lets you quickly share data between those devices. The above video shows a fantastic application of the PAN: snap a picture on a digital camera and it immediately shows up on a PC within the PAN. It reminds me of one of the Microsoft Surface examples using a camera… just without the "surface". [Note: I’m assuming that the camera being used has an EyeFi card, which adds WiFi to cameras with a special SD card.]

This definitely looks like a nice networking solution for file transfers as well since the wireless PAN supports speeds up to 54 Mbps. Wireless printing, media streaming and more looks possible as a native Centrino 2 function… very interesting. I’m thinking that I could share my 3G connection over WiFi with this solution and no additional hardware.


funny thing is that wireless pan was supposedly what bluetooth was to be all about, to the point of the bluetooth chips themselves being very cheap.

but for some unknown reason, every phone or laptop producer ended up only including bluetooth in their high-end products. and no built in bluetooth in desktops, set top boxes or similar, at least not the cheap ones.

end of story, bluetooth becomes a suit&tie thing only, unless your a geek.

this basically turns wifi into bluetooth. but being wifi, its much more power hungry for the job it does.

but then bluetooth sig recently had plans to make bluetooth and wifi cooperate so that when bluetooth needed to do some heavy lifting, it would set up a temporary wifi connection, and then drop right back to just bluetooth when done.

btw, any info on the protocols in use? will they be easy to implement in a open and free (both beer and freedom) manner?

if this is going to be a wintel only, its really not going to take off…

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