Most of the Wi-Fi users would have wondered atleast once why they are not able to connect their wi-fi enabled laptops and transfer files with their friend’s laptops. It is after all natural to expect a Bluetooth/LAN kind of functionality from WiFi devices.
This soon might become possible as Wi-Fi alliance is pushing for Wi-Fi direct (or Wi-Fi Adhoc) enabled devices as early as first quarter of 2010.The Wi-Fi direct will allow computers/devices to talk without a need for a wireless Hub / Wireless router. Currently Wi-Fi devices need to be connected to a Router/Hub to share data and communicate.
But with Wi-Fi Direct protocol the future devices can discover and automatically authenticate as in the case of current bluetooth technologies.
There are currently other limitations like you can have atmost one connection anytime in the Wi-Fi devices, For example I can only connect to one Wi-Fi network at any time. When we allow ad-hoc connections, the ability to connect to your internet and print at the same time from a Wi-Fi enabled printer becomes relevant. But whether this shortcoming will be addressed in near future is still a big question.
This new technology is expected to make the bluetooth technology which is a shorter range technology irrelevant in the long run.
More details and updates on Wi-Fi Direct can be accessed in Wikipedia’s article here