The smartphones that we use today transform our deary and mundane lives into smart progressive life experiences, because of the features and the apps that they offer. They have already made a few articles of daily use like watches or cameras almost redundant.

And as technology breaks new barriers, the comprehensive list of features on our smartphones gets longer!

While some huddle comfortably into what is commonly known, there are some questions like “What is WiFi Direct” that don’t really entice us to explore them in more detail!

With WiFi Direct, its name probably is the unfortunate culprit. We subconsciously only process the WiFi part and leave it at that. So it’s something to do with the internet, isn’t it, and let it go. Many fail to take notice of it nor don’t want to explore what the “Direct” part really stands for.

That’s the dilemma we are going clear up in this article! So read on to know to answer questions like What is WiFi Direct, How does it work, Which devices can you connect through it and much more.

What is Wi-Fi Direct?

What is WiFi-Direct?

Wi-Fi Direct is the most accessible wireless way to connect the various devices that you may be using.

It does not matter if it is a smartphone, a tablet or a printer, with the Wi-Fi Direct these can all be networked together to perform tasks quickly. Almost all the new modern devices support it is likely to be found in a few older one’s models too.

The best advantage is that no router or a single access point is needed to connect Wi-Fi Direct in multiple ports in various devices.

To understand its functionality, one may compare it to how Bluetooth works, but WiFi Direct is way faster and reliable.

The second and the biggest advantage of WiFi direct is that it doesn’t need any internet connection and will work irrespective of the device manufacturer. It helps in establishing a peer-to-peer (P2P) connection with the minimal setup.

Wi-Fi Direct has become a standard feature in smartphones and other devices including portable media players. It is easy to find printers, scanners and other devices using Wi-Fi Direct.

It is similar to the ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection mode, but the difference is Wi-Fi Direct can automatically discover devices and connect to them. The following graphic illustrates the difference between WiFi and WiFi direct quite well.

How Exactly Does Wi-Fi Direct Work?

How WiFi Works?

Wi-Fi Direct device itself works as an access point (something like a router) where any other Wi-Fi enabled devices can connect to it. Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is used to establish a connection between two devices where WPA2 encryption is used to make sure the most secure encryption method. (You can refer to our article about WPS to know more about how that works).

In Wifi Direct, devices do not need any access point; instead, the Wi-Fi Direct devices will negotiate a link when they connect for the first time to check which device can be an access point and then connect automatically from teh next time if you set it up that way.

wifi direct windows 10
Wifi Access (Left) vs Wifi Direct! (Right)

The two devices can use Near Field Communication, Bluetooth, or a button press from both the devices to connect to each other.

Setting up WiFi Direct in Windows 10

It seems similar to ad-hoc connection, but Wi-Fi Direct is different in terms of having two useful functions; Wi-Fi Direct Discovery and Service Discovery. Using these functions, a Wi-Fi Direct device can know which types of devices are available nearby and what they intend to offer.

Suppose, you want to print an image, this discovery and service mode will only show you the devices that can perform the print task for you.

Which devices support Wi-Fi Direct?

wifi direct android
Setting up WiFi Direct on an Android Device

Wi-Fi Direct is a part of Samsung smartphones since the Android version 2.3 on the Galaxy S2 conditions applied it can only connect to Samsung devices only. Google offers Wi-Fi Direct support to all the Android version since Android 4.0.

Game Consoles like Xbox One, NVIDIA support Wi-Fi Direct. Some TVs brands that include Wi-Fi Direct are Sony, LG, and Philips. (Please do check if a particular model of the mentioned brands carry this feature or not)

The Wi-Fi Direct is already being used by File Go app by Google to transfer files (at an amazing speed). Roku 3’s remote uses WiFi Direct to communicate with the player directly instead of using old methods like IR Blaster or Bluetooth.

Uses of WiFi Direct

The primary goal behind the Wi-Fi Direct is quite simple; to render the most hassle-free connection to devices like smartphones, tablets, printers etc. by simply bypassing the need for an internet connection, especially to do simple tasks like sharing pictures from the phone to the TV or with other family members sitting right next to you.

Wi-Fi Direct provides a reliable connection between peripherals like keyboards, remote control, speakers, printers, mice, headsets,  and many other display devices.


Wi-Fi Direct encourages wireless communication and data transfer in a more advanced and reliable way where it can be used to transfer files at a faster speed despite having a large size.

The discovery mode is something new and can promise a robust connection between devices without any internet connection in the safe and secure manner.

Further Reading: Project Ara: Is this the Future of Smartphones?

Image Source: WiFi Symbol by Rido/Shutterstock