The list of configurations and features in our Android smartphones is quite extensive and most of them simply go unnoticed when we see them or ignore them deliberately. Wi-Fi Direct has been one of those, but we’ll explain what it is and why you should use it. Here is how to configure it.
What is Wi-Fi Direct?
When someone mentions Wi-Fi, most people immediately think of surfing the Internet, but there is something more than that. Wi-Fi Direct is a certificate from the Wi-Fi Alliance, which includes more than 600 members, including Apple, LG, Intel, Microsoft, and Dell. Currently, a lot of devices are compatible with Wi-Fi Direct, especially tablets, laptops, and digital cameras. The Samsung Galaxy S (launched in 2010) was one of the first smartphones that included this feature, and since Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, all Android smartphones have this function included natively.
Wi-Fi Direct can be seen as a kind of second-generation Wi-Fi since it allows compatible devices that do not have their own Internet connection to establish a mutual connection with those that do (access points, modems or routers). Thanks to Wi-Fi Direct, you can create a wireless network between several devices. In addition, you can use Wi-Fi Direct in combination with Miracast to record on another device with a screen. The latest generation of Wi-Fi Direct also supports NFC.
Why would you use Wi-Fi Direct?
As mentioned earlier, Wi-Fi allows devices without their own Internet connection to connect to one that does. In the case of smartphones and Android devices, you can connect them and transfer files quickly without the hassle of wires. So, is Wi-Fi Direct just a glorified version of Bluetooth? Yes and no. The advantage of using Wi-Fi Direct over Bluetooth is that the Wi-Fi range and transfer speeds are significantly higher than those of Bluetooth. In short, use Wi-Fi Direct if you want a better way to send files from one device to another.
How to set up Wi-Fi Direct
Each Android smartphone that uses Android 4.0 and higher has the functionality of Wi-Fi Direct (with some very rare exceptions). While the user interfaces of the systems may vary, configuring this functionality is relatively simple and unified across all devices. Wi-Fi Direct does not support file transfers natively at this time, so you will need to install a third-party application. We recommend “Send anywhere”.
To activate Wi-Fi Direct, go to Settings -> Connections -> Wi-Fi and then tap the Wi-Fi Direct tab at the top. Your smartphone will start looking for devices to which you can connect.
Unlike Bluetooth, there is no button or anything you need to touch to activate Wi-Fi Direct. Wi-Fi Direct is enabled at the moment you have a stable Internet connection. This does not mean that Wi-Fi Direct is on all the time. Your smartphone only starts searching for nearby devices to connect when you tap the Wi-Fi Direct tab.
Important: You also need to activate Wi-Fi directly on your laptop, TV, printer or any device you are connecting to, in addition to having activated it on your smartphone following the steps above.