What is WiFi Direct in Windows 10?

WiFi is a way of data/information exchange between two or more devices through the use of the internet without any cable connection between them.  However, if your internet connection is down, you are detached from the world and other nearby devices. To overcome this issue, Windows 10 offers an excellent feature in which you can share files between different devices without using the internet. It is called WiFi Direct and almost similar to Bluetooth. Let’s read about in detail!

What is WiFi Direct in Windows 10
Source: Microsoft

What is WiFi Direct in Windows 10?

WiFi Direct, formerly known as WiFi Peer-to-Peer, is a standard wireless connection that allows two devices to connect directly without a WiFi access point, a router, or the internet as the mediator or the middleman.  It shares files between two devices without the use of the internet or any intermediary.

Why is WiFi Direct Better than Bluetooth or USB?

WiFi Direct is an easy way to locate devices in your vicinity and connect to them. It is preferred over Bluetooth because:

  • Firstly, its ability to transfer or share larger files as compared to Bluetooth. 
  • Secondly, its speed is much faster as compared to Bluetooth.

Cable data transfer, i.e., the use of data cable, is undoubtedly the fastest mode of data transfer, but it unnecessarily involves dependency on hardware. In case, the data cable becomes faulty or gets misplaced, you are stuck.

Prerequisites to Using WiFi Direct

For using WiFi Direct, the only consideration is to ensure that the USB WiFi adaptor meets two necessary conditions.

  • Firstly, the hardware of the USB WiFi adapter must support WiFi Direct. 
  • Secondly, the driver that would enable the USB WiFi adapter should also endorse WiFi Direct.

How to Check Compatibility of Wifi Direct on your Windows PC

To ensure compatibility to enable Windows 10 PC users to connect using WiFi Direct,

1. press Win+R and enter CMD on your PC, click OK to open Command prompt.

press windows + r to open Run and type cmd and hit enter

2. Type the command ipconfig/all and press Enter.

Type the command ipconfig /all and press the Enter key

If an entry reading “Microsoft WiFi Direct Virtual Adapter” appears on the PC screen, it will indicate WiFi Direct is available in the vicinity.

How to Setup WiFi Direct on your Windows 10 Laptop, desktop, or tablet

The modus operandi of the WiFi Direct system is straightforward. One device detects another device in a fashion similar to discovering another network. Then you enter the correct password and get connected. It requires that out of the two connecting devices, only one device needs to be compatible with WiFi Direct. So, one of the devices in the process creates an access point just like a router, and the other device automatically approaches it and connects to it.

  • In the first step, the device required to connect to the PC must be switched on. Having switched on the device, go to the device settings and activate its network and the internet and select Manage WiFi Settings.
  • After selecting Manage WiFi Settings, the Bluetooth and other options will get activated, enabling you to browse through the menu to check for “WiFi Direct” option on your device.
  • On locating the WiFi Direct option on the device, enable it, and proceed according to the directions administered by the device.
  • Once the “WiFi Direct” option is enabled, the required Android device name will be displayed in the available list. Note down the SSID, i.e. the Service Set Identifier, which is simply nothing else but the Network name in your standard natural language syllables such as English. SSID is customizable, so to distinguish it from other networks in and around you, you give a name to your wireless home network. You will see this name when you connect your device to your wireless network.
  • Next, you set a password, known only to you, so that no authorized person can access it. Both these details need to be remembered and recorded for future usage.
  • Having done so, turn your PC on, and on the search bar click Search and type Wireless. 
  • In the list of options visible, check on the Manage Wireless Network, option.
  • After clicking on Manage Wireless Network, next click on Add and choose the WiFi Network of your WiFi Direct device and enter the password.

Your PC will get synchronized with your WiFi Direct Network.

You can connect your PC to any device you want and share any data/files as desired using the WiFi Direct Network. You can also benefit from a fast wireless connection, enhancing your efficiency through increased productivity.

How to Transfer Files using WiFi Direct from Android to PC or Vice-Versa

To connect and share files wirelessly, you need to ensure that a third-party app like Feem or any other of your choice is installed on both the devices, between whom you want to share files. Feem is free to use, Feem lite app can be downloaded on both the Windows-10 Laptop and the Android Mobile devices from the Play Store.

The process of using Feem to transfer data from Android to the PC or Laptop is simple and straightforward as detailed below:

  • Go to Settings, then network and the internet.
  • Next, go to hotspot and tethering and set your mobile as an Android hotspot in your Android Phone. Now connect your Window-10 PC to this network.
  • Next open Feem on Android and Windows, not get confused as both the devices will be given odd names and a password, by the app. Remember this password or note it down somewhere as when you set up the new connection, you will require this password.
  • Choose the device to which you have to send the file. Browse the desired file and then tap to send it.
  • After some time, you will have the data sent to the required destination.

How to Connect to Printer using WiFi Direct

You can similarly, connect to your WiFi Direct active printer for file sharing and printing using your PC.

Switch on your Printer.

Next, go to the option of “Printer and Scanner” on your PC and click on it. You will get a prompt “Add a printer or scanner”, select and click the option to add the printer or scanner.

After requesting to add a printer or scanner, opt for the next option to “Show WiFi Direct Printers”. You will have all the choices displayed.

From the list displaying the names of WiFi Direct printers in the vicinity, select the printer you want to connect.

A WiFi Protected Setup or WPS Pin automatically sends the password, which the two devices remember for future use too, to enable an easy and secure connection to a WiFi Direct printer.

Must Read: What is WPS and How Does it Work?

How to Find & Use WPS

Firstly, on your router, there is a WPS button which you need to press, and this will enable you to find out the devices in your neighbourhood. Once done, go to your device and choose the connection you want to connect too. This enables your device to automatically connect to the network without the use of a password.

Secondly, to connect your network to gadgets like wireless printers, etc. that may have a WPS button, you press that button on the router and then on your gadget. Without any further data input, WPS sends the network password, which is stored by your gadget. Thus, your gadget/printer and your network router auto-connect whenever needed in the future without your having to press the WPS button.

The third method is through the use of an eight-digit pin. All WPS enabled routers to have an eight-digit Pin code which cannot be modified by any user and is auto-generated. Some devices which do not have a WPS button but are WPS enabled ask for the eight-digit pin. Once you enter this pin, these gadgets validate themselves and connect to the wireless network.

Recommended: Wi-Fi Standards Explained: 802.11ac, 802.11b/g/n, 802.11a

To conclude this discussion, despite Bluetooth holding the fort since 1994, WiFi Direct, with its ability to locate and connect quickly and transfer data at a fast speed, is gaining prominence. It is similar to the famous and most read and recited story of the hare and the tortoise, except that the Hare, compared to the WiFi Direct, has reversed the concept of slow and steady wins the race in this case.

1 thought on “What is WiFi Direct in Windows 10?”

  1. Though I recall reading Microsoft planned to “depreciate” older ad-hoc networking features, wifi direct is not well supported at all for just directly connecting two machines. It is supported for embedded devices, printers, etc, and there are libraries for using it within applications. Going back to ad-hoc still works between two PCs.

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