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What is Intel WiDi vs WiFi

WiDi (Wireless Display) and WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) are similar in that they both enable wireless communication using radio frequencies, but they differ significantly in their purpose and functionality. WiDi is designed for screen mirroring and content streaming from a device to a display, emphasizing multimedia sharing and presentations. In contrast, Wi-Fi serves as a broader wireless networking technology, facilitating internet access, local network connectivity, and data exchange among various devices.

What is WiDi ?

WiDi is the technology developed by Intel. The feature is built into many of the intel products such as laptops, tablets etc. This technology helps user to connect their PC or any other computing devices such as laptop, tablet with HDTV. Using WiDi user can stream audio, video, images, applications wirelessly from PC/laptop/tablet/smartphone to HDTV with very less latency to provide greater user experience.


How does WiDi Work

Let us understand working principle of WiDi technology based devices.
It uses hardware and software functionalities to compress and transmit video into H.264 format as well as digital audio with upto 6 channels over WiFi connection to WiDi compliant receiver. It does not require any WiFi Access Point or router or hotspot for operation. It uses WiFi Direct for wireless connection. Figure-1 depicts typical WiDi system. As shown normal TV can be made compliant WiDi technology with the help of suitable WiDi adapter. For Windows Operating System 7 and 8 it requires third or fourth generations of CPU (Central Processing Unit).

Intel WiDi 4.2 supports following features:
• HD 1080pixel video
• 5.1 surround sound
• Supports upto 6 multiple audio channels at 16 bits/48 KHz LPCM.
• Supports WiUSB channel

How Wi-Fi works

Let us understand working of wifi network and its devices.
WiFi network requires WiFi router or hotspots to establish the WLAN or WiFi network. Once the router is placed and it is powered ON and it is connected with broadband internet connection, all the other wifi compliant devices such as smartphone, laptop, PC, tablet can share the same internet line. There are different versions of WLAN or WiFi standards 802.11 b/a/g/n/ac/ax/be, each support different data rates and coverage distances.

Difference between WiDi and WiFi

Let us compare WiDi vs WiFi with respect to their functions, use cases, security, network access, range and other parameters.

Feature WiDi WiFi
Full Form Wireless Display Wireless Fidelity
Purpose Allows wireless screen mirroring and content streaming from a device to a display, such as a TV or monitor Provides wireless network connectivity for devices to access the internet and local network resources
Functionality Primarily used for display mirroring and streaming audio/video content between devices Used for wireless data transfer, internet access and communication between devices on a local network
Technology Utilizes Intel's wireless display technology for wireless screen sharing Uses IEEE 802.11 standards for wireless communication, including 802.11ac and 802.11ax (wifi 6)
Frequency 5 GHz (WiDi version 4.2) 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, 6 GHz (wifi-6E)
Standard versions WiDi 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, Miracast Different IEEE 802.11 standards are available (11b, 11a, 11g, 11n, 11ac, 11ax )
Advantages It does not require wifi hotspot or router and works directly with wifi direct. It fullfils high data rate and medium coverage wireless needs without much of the interference at very affordable cost. It requires router or hotspot for operation.
Range Typically has a shorter range, suitable for connecting devices within the same room Can have a longer range
Speed and bandwidth Focused on delivering high quality video and audio streaming, but may not offer the same speed and bandwidth as wifi Offers higher data transfer speeds and more bandwidth for internet access and data exchange between devices
Security Not designed for network security Offers various security protocols (WPA2, WPA3) and encryption methods to protect network traffic
Network access Does not provide internet access on its own; it's a point to point connection for display sharing Provides internet access and local network connectivity for multiple devices simultaneously
Device compatibility Requires compatible devices with intel WiDi support, which may limit its availability on newer devices Supported by wide range of devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, smart TVs and more with standard WiFi capabilities.
Common standards Adhere to Intel's WiDi Standard Follows IEEE 802.11 series of standards
Common applications Used for screen mirroring during presentations, multimedia playback on TVs and sharing content between devices in close proximity Used for internet access, local network file sharing, online gaming, video streaming and various IoT applications

WiDi Applications

Following are the applications of WiDi technology:
• Share your small screen(e.g. mobile) on bigger screen device(e.g. HDTV).
• Establish 2 way connection between smart device and HDTV for real time audio and video experience at fast speed.
• Interact applications (such as social media, music etc.) of smartphone on big screen HDTV.

Conclusion : In summary, Intel WiDi and WiFi are both wireless technologies, but they serve different purposes and have distinct functionalities. WiDi focuses on wireless display streaming and content sharing, while Wi-Fi is a general-purpose wireless networking technology used for internet access and device connectivity within a local network.

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