There is a wireless connection used by all kinds of people and all kinds of devices, and yet hardly anyone talks about it: it’s called Wi-Fi Direct and it has been enabling wireless connections peer to peer for more than 10 years. What is Wi-Fi Direct? What does he do? Here is everything you need to know.
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Wi-Fi Direct is a connection peer to peer (P2P or peer-to-peer) that allows communication from one device to another, without the need for a centralized network. The standard was developed and incorporated into devices in the early 2000s.
One device acts as an access point and the other connects to it using the WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) and WPA / WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) security protocols.
Surely you think it sounds like Bluetooth. While the technologies appear similar to the naked eye, there are some important differences. One of the most important is that Wi-Fi Direct is capable of handling more information at speeds up to 10 times faster than Bluetooth, when conditions are optimal.
This makes Wi-Fi Direct an excellent alternative when you need to transmit a lot of data, such as a high-resolution image or video, or when a Wi-Fi network is down.
One of the biggest advantages of Wi-Fi Direct is its versatility when you don’t have a Wi-Fi network to act as an intermediary. Multiple devices can connect and share large files, without the security concerns (and time-consuming process) that comes with prior connection to a central network.
You will often notice when a device offers Wi-Fi Direct, as when you do a network scan, your own wireless network will appear, usually starting with “Direct,” followed by the product name or number.
Wi-Fi Direct has been available to consumers for almost a decade, thanks to the update of the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) 2011, which included the standards for this feature.
Today, the world is full of compatible devices, including some that might surprise you. Android devices are compatible with Wi-Fi Direct since Android 2.3, while Apple’s have it since iOS 7 (although Apple markets this function as “AirDrop”And“ Airplay ”).
There are also a large number of entertainment devices that use Wi-Fi Direct to stream content from a mobile device. Roku uses it, and many smart TVs also offer Wi-Fi Direct connections.
There are also all the peripherals that offer wireless connections, which can use Wi-Fi Direct instead of Bluetooth, such as wireless headsets with high-fidelity audio, wireless printers, and even peripherals like keyboards.
How Wi-Fi Direct connections are created may vary depending on the devices. Some may require you to scan a QR code. Some will ask you to enter a numeric PIN.
Other devices require you to press a button to initiate a connection. Over time, as security has become more important, more devices use a combination of these methods, and few simply connect automatically.
Some of the most common uses of Wi-Fi Direct today include:
- Fast file sharing: Wi-Fi Direct is a great way to quickly share large files with a friend or your team, when you can’t set up wired connections.
- Wireless printing: Wi-Fi Direct can handle a large amount of information wirelessly, making it ideal for important wireless printing jobs.
- Screencasting and screen sharing– From mobile games on a big screen to sharing family photos on your TV or digital portrait, Wi-Fi Direct comes in handy when you need to share your screen on another device.
- Group games: If everyone has the same game on their phones, they can connect with Wi-Fi Direct and play together, even if they don’t have Wi-Fi access.
- Quick sync: some devices will also use Wi-Fi Direct to sync information and update their media files. This can make the process faster, especially if you have a lot of new files to add, like updating your music playlists for example.
From what we’ve explained so far, you might think that Wi-Fi Direct sounds like an adaptable technology to the Internet of Things (IoT). There was talk of using Wi-Fi Direct for smart home devices, especially around 2010, as IoT connectivity was rapidly evolving. Today, Wi-Fi Direct is rarely seen on the IoT.
Wi-Fi direct is about connections between two devices that are not part of a wireless network, but exist in a separate space of their own. However, the IoT has been dominated by Wi-Fi networks, with older connection technologies like Zigbee and yes, Wi-Fi Direct, quickly lagging behind.
That happened, because today’s smart devices need to be highly interconnected with each other to enable more complex scenarios that must be easily accessed from a distance and by people who might not be at home. Wi-Fi Direct couldn’t keep up.
There is another reason why Wi-Fi Direct is not adapted to smart devices: it has some security problems, which are obvious when automatic connections are enabled. We should talk a bit about that.
Wi-Fi Direct has few security advantages compared to other options, but it has minimal security risks. It can be vulnerable when you simultaneously use a device connected to another network. If you use a Wi-Fi Direct connection on a device while it is connected to another network, hackers can take over a link, and it is easier for them if older protocols such as WPS are involved. You must confirm that your Direct connection is secure. Anyone can get your information when you use Wi-Fi Direct.
See how the security of your device works with Direct and find out how you can make it more secure. There are two different types of Wi-Fi Direct connections: temporary and persistent. A persistent connection allows you to save information on your device, so that it connects automatically. Although convenient, it presents a significant security risk. Temporary connections do not connect automatically and are more secure. You can also use temporary pins.
Use newer Wi-Fi Direct connections that have more security features and never use them in public. Hackers are always looking for ways to steal information. A recent bug in Linux devices allows hackers to access mobile devices on Wi-Fi Direct if they have their Wi-Fi capabilities enabled.