Turn your laptop into a smart Wi-Fi access point with Intel’s upcoming Cliffside technology

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Shanghai (China) – Connecting your laptop to a Wi-Fi access point is pretty easy, but how do you connect your computer to a myriad of other devices like wireless cameras and printers?  To answer that tough question, Intel has been developing its ‘Cliffside’ technology which basically turns your computer into a software-based access point.

Ok, so you’re probably thinking – “Soft AP has been around for ages”, but Intel Product Manager Ashish Gupta told TG Daily that it goes beyond just being a software access point.  The technology combines Bluetooth-like ease of use with Wi-Fi speed and security.  Cliffside-enabled computers will created a personal area network of wireless devices much like Bluetooth.
Laptops will automatically see nearby devices and a pop-up window will appear requesting that the user accept or deny the device.  If the window isn’t answered in time, then the default is to deny the device.

What about security?  Gupta said Cliffside will use whatever security is available like WEP or WPA, but that in the end everything has to work with the lowest common denominator.  “If your laptop uses WEP and the camera doesn’t, then they won’t connect,” Gupta told us.

Gupta took a snapshot of us at the Intel Developer Forum in Shanghai and then wireless sent the picture to a nearby laptop.  He then printed the picture to a wireless Lexmark printer that was just to the left of the printer.  All the devices had been connected to the laptop through the Cliffside ‘Central Point’ application.

Gupta told us that Cliffside should be enabled on Centrino notebooks within 12 months.

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