Wi-Fi Alliance starts certifying tunnel technology for better wireless performance

Tunneled Direct Link Setup can improve performance for applications such as media streaming

The Wi-Fi Alliance has launched a program to certify products that support TDLS (Tunneled Direct Link Setup), a technology that allows devices to automatically create a link between each other after accessing a wireless network, removing the need to transmit data through the access point, and avoiding delays caused by congestion, the organization said on Thursday.

The new TDLS certification program can improve performance for applications such as media streaming, without requiring user intervention, according to Wi-Fi Alliance.

A direct link between wireless devices may sound reminiscent of the functionality offered by Wi-Fi Direct.

But the two technologies are complimentary, according to Wi-Fi Alliance. TDLS operates in the background of a Wi-Fi network to optimize performance, while Wi-Fi Direct devices can connect to one another while on the go, even when there is no wireless network available. Also, TDLS can operate within a Wi-Fi Direct network.

Many products will be certified for both TDLS and Wi-Fi Direct, but the two technologies will be used in different situations, Wi-Fi Alliance expects.

The certification program is available for TVs, smartphones, tablets, cameras, printers, PCs, projectors, and gaming devices. It won't be necessary to buy a new access point or wireless router for TDLS to work.

TDLS is based on the IEEE 802.11z standard, and the automatic link configuration is done in a couple of steps. The discovery process begins when one device sends a discovery request to another device, via the network they are connected to. If the target device is also TDLS compliant, then it sends a response directly to the initiator, providing information on its capabilities, including supported rates and channels.

The communication between the two devices -- for example, a TV and a tablet -- can also measure the relative signal strengths of the access point and the TDLS device and decide whether a direct link would be beneficial or not.

Besides streaming video and audio, TDLS can also be used to improve the performance of wireless data back-up, printing and file transfers.

Certified products can operate over a 802.11n network, as well as previous wireless standards.

The Wi-Fi standard used to communicate is the fastest available on both products, even if the network's access point only supports a lower-bandwidth version of Wi-Fi. The same goes for security; the most secure option is chosen irrespective of what the network is capable of.

TDLS also has integrated power saving mechanisms to improve performance on battery-operated devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The first products to be approved are part of a test suite which includes wireless chipsets from Broadcom, Marvell, Ralink and Realtek.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?