What Is Wi-Fi Direct?

Wi-Fi Direct enables mobile phones, cameras, printers, PCs, and gaming consoles to establish their own Wi-Fi networks without access to the internet. Connect other Wi-Fi Direct devices together via device settings to transfer or display material quickly and simply. Do you want to know how you can take advantage of this technology? Then read our guide and learn everything about it.

Ben Grindlow

Ben Grindlow is the founder of ProXPN, a company that provides reviews about VPN products and services. Ben's interest in cybersecurity and privacy led him to start ProXPN, which has become one of the most well-respected VPN providers in the world. Ben is passionate about his work, and he is constantly exploring new ways to improve ProXPN's in-depth guides.

Last updated: 10:10AM 7/5/2022

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We expect our technology to be capable of a lot. We expect to be able to connect devices to other devices with ease, sometimes across great distances. We no longer accept plugging in a USB cable to connect our phones to our computers. And, for the most part, technology allows this.

One way our technology allows us to do this is by using WiFi Direct. WiFi Direct is a peer-to-peer connection, essentially a way that two devices can connect directly to each other without needing to use an internet connection. From an outside perspective, this is comparable to Bluetooth, but in reality, it is ten times faster than Bluetooth 5.0, and almost twenty times faster than Bluetooth 4.0. WiFi Direct also has a greater reception than Bluetooth and can send more information.

How does a standard Wi-Fi connection work?

To connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, you need to set up a Wi-Fi network. For this, you need a modem, a router, and an access point. Most routers in use – especially ones from Internet providers – will contain all three of these.

Given we often use ‘router' to mean all three of these, a quick summary has been provided.

  • A modem takes the signal from your internet provider and translates it into a signal that your devices can understand.
  • A router is fundamental for the formation of a local network. It assigns the IPs of all the devices that connect to it. Without this, data would not be sent through the right connection and won't be able to find your device.
  • An access point takes this signal and converts it to a wireless signal, allowing for wireless network access for all nearby devices.

WiFi is constantly developing, especially in terms of speed. It has standards assigned to it by IEEE and the Wi-Fi alliance will put its trademark on any device that meets these standards.

How Wi-Fi Direct works

The Wi-Fi Alliance created Wi-Fi direct. It uses the same underlying technology as Wi-Fi networks, and so can be seen as second-generation Wi-Fi. The key difference is that if you wish to send a file, you can use Wi-Fi direct to send it straight from one device to another, instead of having to send it via a router.

While, obviously, an access point is still needed to establish the connection, one device acts as the access point while the other device connects to this directly, without going through your local network. You can use this to connect directly to multiple devices, without needing to use a router.

Wi-Fi Direct also has a comparable range to standard Wi-Fi; this is up to two hundred meters, although walls and other obstacles can interfere with this.

What isWi-Fi Direct used for?

Wi-Fi Direct devices have a lot of functionality and Wi-Fi Direct can be used for almost anything that Wi-Fi could be used for, from file transfer to screen sharing and even to play games with friends.

It is commonly used in wireless printers as wireless printing jobs often require us to transfer files quickly, often large files and it's useful if printer access does not require a wireless connection to the local wireless router.

It is also often used to stream content from mobile devices to smart TVs, or for screen sharing in this manner. You can even use it with multiple Wi-Fi direct devices to form a local wireless network with no external internet access, or a Wi-Fi Direct group. A Wi-Fi direct group will normally be managed by a laptop or computer, but any Wi-Fi direct enabled device could be connected, whether these are digital cameras or your friends' laptops for playing games together.

How can Wi-Fi Direct be used on smartphones?

Most modern smartphones are Wi-Fi direct enabled. Apple devices have a slightly different way of using it to Android devices, but both will be compatible devices.

On an Android phone, you can turn Wi-Fi direct on by going to Settings > Wi-Fi > More Settings > Wi-Fi Direct.

Apple devices are slightly different. Instead of using pure Wi-Fi Direct connections, Apple uses AirDrop, which makes use of both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies. Unfortunately, this only works between iOS devices and cannot be used to send files to an android smartphone or other android device.

Device-to-device communication is very useful on a mobile device and can allow you to easily connect your personal devices to each other to share data and some services.

Wi-Fi Direct Disadvantages

Wi-Fi Direct requires no internet connection, quickly transfers data, and has a long range, which makes it ideal for many situations. However, there are disadvantages too.

The main issue with Wi-Fi Direct is security Wi-Fi Direct connection can have very weak security protocols and open you up to hackers. This is not so much due to Wi-Fi Direct, but the security of the hardware that is running it. While some

How to safely use Wi-Fi Direct

As with anything, there are steps you can take to increase your safety while using Wi-Fi Direct. Some of these are listed below.

  • Do not connect to strange devices. If you connect to a device you do not recognize, you may actually be connecting to a network of several devices instead of a single device, or the person on the other device may use the connection to steal data from your devices.
  • Avoid using Wi-Fi Direct in public areas. Even if you do not connect to other devices knowingly, having Wi-Fi Direct enabled in public can provide a backdoor to hackers.
  • Only make a connection to newer Wi-Fi Direct devices as they will have more security options.
  • If at all possible, do not transfer sensitive data using Wi-Fi Direct file sharing, even to known Wi-Fi Direct devices.
  • Do not allow automatic connections to Wi-Fi direct devices or any other devices.


Wi-Fi Direct is a very young technology. Wi-Fi devices have been around since the early nineties, while Wi-Fi Direct support would not be available for another twenty years. Despite this, Wi-Fi Direct connections are proving to be very useful as our world becomes more and more connected.

Hopefully, you now understand how this technology works and how you can use it to form your own network without being connected to the internet.

Frequently asked questions

According to this site, the range of WiFi-direct mobile phones is approximately 200 feet (~60 meters), whereas Bluetooth can reach 30 feet (10 meters).

If you're using the PIN Method of WPS, double-check your input. Other devices are attempting to join the Wi-Fi Direct network at the same time. Make sure no additional devices are connecting to the Wi-Fi Direct network and then try to set up the Wi-Fi Direct settings again.

In a nutshell, Wi-Fi direct enables devices with no internet connection to connect to one that does. Android smartphones and gadgets can be connected and data may be swiftly sent across without the use of cables.

While Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth both provide connections, they are also significantly more powerful than each other, capable of transferring data at a faster rate and with greater volume. In the right conditions, Wi-Fi Direct may transmit data 10 times quicker than traditional Bluetooth on your Android device.

Wi-Fi Direct has few security advantages over other technologies, but it does come with a number of security concerns. It might be dangerous when you're also using a device linked to another network.

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