What Is Wi-Fi Direct? Wireless File Transfer Method Faster Than Bluetooth

Wireless data sharing has made rapid strides over the past few years. Thanks to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC, data can be moved from one device to another with little effort.

But Windows 10 boasts another feature that most people don’t know about, called Wi-Fi Direct, a wireless connectivity system that helps you effortlessly hook devices up and transfer huge amounts of data.

This guide explains what exactly Wi-Fi Direct is, how it works, and how you can use it on Windows 10 to transfer your files wirelessly.

What Is Wi-Fi Direct?

Wi-Fi Direct is a peer-to-peer wireless technology that lets your computers or smartphones connect to each other without a shared public network.

You can think of Wi-Fi Direct as a sort of Bluetooth over Wi-Fi. That is, it has the same "discover and send" functionality of Bluetooth, but the data is sent using wireless networking. And as you might have guessed, this offers greater speed for your file transfer.

Bluetooth has been around since 1994, and although it’s useful for transmitting audio and connecting devices, it isn’t ideal for transferring larger files. Wi-Fi Direct has this problem covered and looks set to completely supplant Bluetooth in the next few years.

At this stage, though, Wi-Fi Direct isn’t yet as universal as Bluetooth.

However, it is a very useful feature for transferring data between Windows 10 and other suitable hardware.

How Does Wi-Fi Direct Work?

For Wi-Fi Direct technology to work, you’ll need at least a single device that’s compatible with its protocols. You can then seamlessly use it for things ranging from file transfer to inter-communication.

When you establish a connection between two devices in Wi-Fi Direct, one of the devices acts as an Access Point, to which the other device connects. All of this is an automated process, so you don’t have to worry about getting your hands dirty.

Wi-Fi Direct is built on top of Wi-Fi. The only thing that separates it from regular Wi-Fi is that while you need a router to connect your devices to the internet, Wi-Fi Direct doesn’t have any limitations.

In fact, the sole purpose of Wi-Fi Direct is to facilitate a connection between local devices instead of accessing the internet.

But then you might wonder: How does this make Wi-Fi Direct any different from Bluetooth? We already had Bluetooth for connecting devices locally, so why invent new technology for the same thing?

The reason is speed.

You see, while Bluetooth works great, it really isn’t quick enough to keep up with our fast-paced lives anymore. If you’ve used Bluetooth, you know what we’re talking about; files can take an age to transfer. With Wi-Fi Direct, however, there’s no such issue. Instead, it is as fast as a Wi-Fi network, even exceeding it in some cases.

Where Can You Use Wi-Fi Direct?

Due to its blazing fast speed (with maximum speed up to 250 Mbps) made possible by its peer-to-peer wireless technology, Wi-Fi Direct can be used anywhere where you would’ve used Bluetooth before. This makes it perfect for:

Sharing multimedia files: It can be used for sharing big multimedia files from one device to another. For example, if you have a big video file—such as a movie—Wi-Fi Direct should be your go-to tool due to the big size of the file.

Gaming: Most high-quality multiplayer games on smartphones require fast connectivity for a lagging-free experience. Direct can be helpful in cases like these.

External devices: Computer devices like keyboards, mice, printers, etc., can also be connected with the help of Wi-Fi Direct.

Check If Your Windows 10 PC Is Wi-Fi Direct Compatible

Using Wi-Fi Direct to send a file is faster and simpler than Bluetooth.

First, however, you’ll need to check that your device is Wi-Fi Direct-compatible. You can do this by pressing Windows Key +R, entering CMD to open the Command Prompt then entering ipconfig /all.

If Wi-Fi Direct is available, you should see an entry labeled Microsoft Wi-Fi Direct Virtual Adapter.

Next, you’ll need to start transferring data over Wi-Fi Direct. However, this isn’t as obvious as you would expect…

How to Transfer Files From Android to Windows With Wi-Fi Direct

As you’ll need a third-party app to use Wi-Fi Direct, choosing the right option is important.

Feem is a software that has provided Wi-Fi Direct support to Windows PC and laptop users since the days of Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Feem is free to use, although it has various premium options. Wi-Fi Direct in Feem is free, as is live chat. However, you can pay to have iOS support, unlimited file transfers, and remove ads.

Using Feem to transfer data from Android to PC or laptop is straightforward.

Set your Android device as a mobile hotspot via  Hotspot & tethering. Connect your Windows computer to this network.

Launch Feem on Android and Windows. You’ll notice that both devices are given unusual names by the app (e.g., Junior Raccoon) and a password. Keep a note of the password, as you’ll need it to establish the initial connection.

Send a file from Android to Windows using Wi-Fi Direct, choose the destination device, and tap Send File. Browse for the file or files, then tap Send.

Moments later, the data will be sent to your PC. It’s as simple as that—and it works backwards, too.

Download: Feem (for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone)

Don’t Have Wi-Fi Direct? Transfer Files With Bluetooth!

If your devices don’t support Wi-Fi Direct, a smart solution (in the absence of a USB cable) is Bluetooth. This is particularly useful if you’re trying to use Wi-Fi Direct on Windows 7 or 8 and find that the feature isn’t there or it doesn’t work.

First, ensure your computer is paired to a suitable Bluetooth device (phone, tablet, computer, etc.) before sending a file to it. The methodology for this is largely the same across devices and requires that both are set to "discoverable."

Both devices will then search for one another and, if successful, connect following input of a confirmation code.

For more information, here’s a list of how you can transfer data between a PC and Android.

If you’re not sure where the controls for Bluetooth can be found on your Windows 10 computer, open Devices. After you’re in the Bluetooth & other devices section, turn on the Bluetooth, and pair your device with the computer. For that, click on Add Bluetooth or other device and go ahead with the pairing up.

Then click on Send Files. Next, select a device that you want to share files with, choose the file to be sent, and click on Next to go ahead with the transmission.

On sending the file, the device receiving your data file will ask you to confirm that you wish to save the data. Agree to this, and wait for the transfer to complete.

Note that due to the shorter range of Bluetooth, the best results will be enjoyed by keeping both devices close together.

No Wi-Fi Direct? Transfer Files From Android to Windows PC With FTP

FTP is another handy file transfer option for Android users attempting to transfer files to their Windows 10 PC (or other operating systems, for that matter).

ES File Explorer is a popular third-party file manager for Android. This comes with several file management features for local and network use. Among these is FTP, which provides a direct network connection between two devices.

Use ES File Explorer’s FTP feature to display your Android device’s IP address.

Paste this into a file transfer program such as FileZilla to browse the contents. You can then effortlessly transfer files between the two devices.

So, try ES File Explorer if you want to transfer data from a mobile device to your laptop through Wi-Fi and don’t have Wi-Fi Direct.

Data Transfer Speeds: Which Is Best?

You will probably notice while trying these two methods that Wi-Fi Direct is considerably quicker than Bluetooth. Indeed, recent tests have demonstrated that Bluetooth speed is like a tortoise in comparison.

While Wi-Fi Direct isn’t quicker than any cable data transfer (such as USB 2.0 or USB 3.0), it is certainly capable of transferring a 1.5 GB file within 10 minutes; in contrast, Bluetooth takes almost 125 minutes to shift the same data.

Start Using Wi-Fi Direct in Windows 10 Today

Which option you choose will depend on the data you want to shift. A USB 3.0 cable with compatible hardware is the fastest option. Wi-Fi Direct is close behind, with Bluetooth coming third. Wi-Fi direct makes a good middle-ground option, but as it is not as widely available (or known) as Bluetooth, you might opt for a cable instead.

Perhaps the most important aspect of using Wi-Fi Direct in Windows 10 is its ease of use today. After all, early implementations of any technology were somewhat difficult to use. But, with time, this will hopefully change.

Source: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/wifi-direct-vs-bluetooth-use-sharing-data-windows-8/

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