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Know The Lingo — What Is WiDi?

By: , CTS-D
Technology Evangelist — C2G

Technical lingo is a kind of shorthand that's used to express concepts common to that specific topic or area of study. Technical lingo is important because it provides a very precise or unique "shorthand" description of a device, effect or concept. Unfortunately, if you aren't comfortable and familiar with the lingo of a topic it can be a tall hurdle to communicate efficiently with folks who consider the jargon of their field to be "self-explanatory." In this series of articles we'll lift the veils of misunderstanding from the lingo of the A/V industry.


WiDi is a trade name for Intel® Wireless Display technology. Intel unveiled this A/V connectivity system at the January 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). WiDi technology is now in its fourth generation, but both consumer and commercial industry awareness and acceptance of the technology remains low. Intel's WiDi software is not supported by Apple Mac devices, but it is included in most Windows® 7 and nearly all Windows® 8.1 OS products—including tablets and phones. Apple and Android smartphones and tablets can connect to a WiDi receiver or WiDi-enabled display by using an app such as Intel's Pair & Share or (for Android only) by using Intel's TelePort Extender.

WiDi creates a peer-to-peer direct connection between devices without the need for a wireless access point or router. Devices such as smart phones, tablets, A/V receivers and display monitors typically have the inherent ability to connect to an 802.11 wireless network access point in order to leverage Internet functionality and feature sets. WiDi leverages this existing hardware ability through the use of an embedded software access point (soft AP) in the device's operating system. When a WiDi device (Tx) enters the range of a WiDi display (Rx), it can connect with that device directly. Connection and setup is simplified and is similar to a Bluetooth® user experience.

WiDi operation takes place using 802.11n duplex radio communications between the transmitting source and receiving sink. It's vital to recognize that this communication link does not leverage, nor does it need network access. While the connection uses 802.11n- 2009 connectivity and protocols in the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency bands, the communication link is direct from device to display.

Intel mandated inclusion of WiDi technology in many industry products. At the 2013 CES show, Intel® announced that companies which use the Ultrabook name or new 4th generation Core vPro Haswell internals must include Wireless Display as standard. To further improve market penetration, Intel created a Pro version of WiDi, specifically tailored for enterprise applications. WiDi Pro supports the expected "duplicate mode," where the same content appears on the laptop screen and the presentation display at the same time. However, in many professional applications it is sometimes necessary to present the audience with one screen while simultaneously referencing speaker's notes on another. This is known as "extended mode," and it's also possible using WiDi and the WiDi Widget app for PC.

WiDi 3.5 is the technology upon which Miracast® is based and Miracast is backward compatible with most WiDi features.

This white paper is for informational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. C2G makes no guarantees, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness or reliability of the information found in this document.