Many people have never heard of WiFi direct, while those that do don’t know what it does or how to use it. When you hear WiFi, what first comes to your mind is browsing the internet. Wi-Fi Direct is like a second-generation WiFi. It has over 600 members including LG, Apple, Dell, Intel, and Microsoft among others. Most devices manufactured recently are WiFi Direct compatible. You’ll find it on your laptops, tablets, mobile phones, and even digital cameras. After it was first used on the Samsung Galaxy S in 2010, many other smartphones included it in the package. In this article, we’re going to be showing you how to use the WiFi Direct on your phone.
What is WiFi Direct?
WiFi Direct is just like WiFi. It is a connection that allows your device to connect to another device (instead of connecting to the internet). This device-to-device connection is done without a nearby centralized network. One device is the access point while the other will connect to it using WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) and WPA2 (WiFi Protected Access) security protocols. So, your connection is safe.
Many people have confused WiFi Direct for Bluetooth, even arguing that they work the same way. But, this is not entirely true, as there are huge differences between both of them. The first time we used WiFi Direct, we noticed that it was much faster than Bluetooth. While Bluetooth will take several minutes to send a file, WiFi Direct will transfer the same file from one device to another within seconds. This implies that WiFi Direct can handle information ten times faster than Bluetooth. So, if you want to transfer huge files, don’t think of Bluetooth first.
Because WiFi Direct is very secure, users are very comfortable sharing files when there is no WiFi network available. It can link to more than two devices, building a safe data-sharing hub. If you’re looking for a device that has WiFi Direct around you, just put on your WiFi. These devices will pop-up if WiFi direct is enabled. It usually starts with DIRECT, then you’ll see the name of the person or product after.
How WiFi Direct Works
There are various standards put in place to ensure that WiFi Direct can share data seamlessly between devices. They include:
- WiFi: A device using WiFi Direct can function as an access point, just like with WiFi-enabled devices. They use the same technology to connect with wireless routers.
- WPA2: WiFi Direct uses WPA-2 encryption to secure your data.
- WiFi Protected Setup (WPS): WPS connection is not secure as it uses a vulnerable pin method, but WiFi Direct uses it to connect two devices automatically.
- WiFi Direct Device and Service Discovery: This is what allows two devices to discover each other before they connect. With this service, you can also filter available WiFi Direct devices to see only those that can do the task you want (applicable to wireless printers).
What Devices Can You Use WiFi Direct on?
WiFi Direct has been available for a decade now. When it was first released, you would rarely find any device that used it. People didn’t even know what to do with it. But, since the 2011 Digital Living Network Alliance (DNLA) update which showed how to use the feature, more devices started including them. Even some Android devices with Android 2.3 and Apple devices with IOS 7 use WiFi Direct. If you’re using iPhone, your WiFi Direct goes by AirDrop and AirPlay.
WiFi Direct is not limited to smartphones. Other entertainment devices like Xbox, Roku, and Chromecast also use it. You can also connect your device to many smart TVs using WiFi Direct. Other devices you can connect with include wireless keyboards, headsets, and printers.
Benefits of WiFi Direct
The benefits of WiFi Direct makes it so obvious that it is much better than Bluetooth. These days, people have been using WiFi Direct for:
- File sharing: As mentioned above, WiFi Direct is one of the best ways to share files between the two devices. If you can’t set up wired connections between multiple devices, WiFi Direct is a feasible way to get the job done fast.
- Playing games: You don’t need WiFi to play games with your friends. If there’s no WiFi connection to play multiplayer games, you can connect with Direct.
- Printing: If you want to print, you can use WiFi Direct to connect your smartphone or any other device with your wireless printer.
- Syncing: You can sync your device with another device to update your media. So, if someone has music playlists you like, you can simply use WiFi Direct to get them on your phone too.
- Screen-sharing: WiFi Direct has been used for a lot of screen-sharing tasks including playing mobile games on your PC and sharing slideshows or photos on big screens.
How Secure is WiFi Direct?
We mentioned earlier that your WiFi Direct has some security features such as the WPA2 protected access security protocol. However, there are security risks when using Direct. Your connection becomes risky when you connect to a device that is connected to another network. If your device is using the older WPS protocol, then your connection can be hacked and an outsider can get into your device. Connecting with WiFi Direct means the other party can access your information (if you’re not careful enough).
When using WiFi Direct, you can either decide to make temporary or persistent connections. In persistent connections, both devices store the connection data. So, when next you want to connect, you don’t have to set it up again. This type of connection is riskier, and you should only use it with trusted devices like those you use at home. Temporary connections are more secure because they do not share connection data. So, you have to follow the same steps to connect both devices anytime you want to perform any data sharing activities.
If you still use old WiFi Direct connections, you should change to newer ones to ensure your data is safe. Also, don’t use WiFi Direct in public locations, as hackers are getting even smarter and can try to hack into your device over WiFi
Do You Want to Connect Your WiFi Direct to Another Device?
The mode of connection may differ based on the type of devices you want to connect. For some, you have to scan a QR code to connect, while others involve pressing buttons, entering numerical pins, and many involve using multiple techniques (for tighter security). Some devices (very few) even connect automatically. So, if you want to connect to another device, simply follow the guidelines that pop up when you put on your WiFi Direct and enjoy swift data and file sharing.