P2P Connections with Wi-Fi Direct®

Wi-Fi Direct® (synonym for Wi-Fi P2P (Peer-to-Peer)) is a technology that allows you to find nearby Wi-Fi Direct devices and form a Wi-Fi Direct group to communicate over a peer-to-peer link without wireless access points (base stations) in the infrastructure mode.

This feature is supported in mobile applications only.

In a Wi-Fi Direct group, the group owner works as an access point (AP) in the Wi-Fi infrastructure mode and the other devices join the group as clients. A group can be created by:

  • Negotiation between 2 devices

    In a negotiation-based group creation, 2 devices compete based on the group owner intent value and the higher intent device becomes a group owner, while the other device becomes a group client.

  • In an autonomous mode by a single group owner device

    In an autonomous group creation, a device becomes a group owner by itself without any group client.

The following sections demonstrate how to find and connect to nearby devices using Wi-Fi Direct.

Required Privileges and Features

Applications that use Wi-Fi Direct must declare the required privileges in the tizen-manifest.xml file. For more information on the Tizen privileges, see Security and API Privileges.

To perform the Wi-Fi Direct operations, the application manifest must include the following privileges:


Wi-Fi Direct does not require an Internet connection, but it needs the http://tizen.org/privilege/internet privilege because it uses standard sockets.

To perform the Wi-Fi Direct operations, the device must support the following features:

  • http://tizen.org/feature/network.wifi
  • http://tizen.org/feature/network.wifi.direct
  • http://tizen.org/feature/network.wifi.direct.display
  • http://tizen.org/feature/network.wifi.direct.service_discovery

Wi-Fi Direct Settings

To use Wi-Fi P2P, you must confirm that 2 devices are connected through Wi-Fi Direct. To see the Wi-Fi Direct settings, go to Settings > Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi Direct on the device. To listen for the Wi-Fi Direct states, set a callback function.

Implementing Wi-Fi Direct

To use Wi-Fi P2P, you must activate Wi-Fi Direct and start the service. If you want to listen for Wi-Fi Direct states, you must also set a callback function.

To implement a Wi-Fi Direct connection:

  1. Initialize Wi-Fi Direct to use all Wi-Fi Direct functions:

    #include <wifi_direct.h>
    int error_code;
    error_code = wifi_direct_initialize();

    To monitor the state of several events, the application can set state changed callbacks using the wifi_direct_set_device_state_changed_cb(), discovery_state_changed_cb(), and wifi_direct_set_connection_state_changed_cb() functions after initializing Wi-Fi Direct.

  2. Activate Wi-Fi Direct.

    Define the device_state_changed_cb() callback function, which is invoked whenever a Wi-Fi Direct local device activates or deactivates:

       Get the Wi-Fi Direct activation and deactivation events
       in device_state_changed_cb() callback
    static void
    device_state_changed_cb(wifi_direct_error_e error_code,
                            wifi_direct_discovery_state_e discovery_state, void *user_data)
        if (device_state == WIFI_DIRECT_DEVICE_STATE_ACTIVATED)
            printf("Activate Wi-Fi Direct device!\n");
        else if (device_state == WIFI_DIRECT_DEVICE_STATE_DEACTIVATED)
            printf("Deactivate Wi-Fi Direct device!\n");
    error_code = wifi_direct_set_device_state_changed_cb(device_state_changed_cb, NULL);
    /* Activate Wi-Fi Direct */
    error_code = wifi_direct_activate();
    if (error_code != WIFI_DIRECT_ERROR_NONE) {
        dlog_print(DLOG_ERROR, LOG_TAG, "[wifi_direct_activate] Failed.");
    } else {
        dlog_print(DLOG_DEBUG, LOG_TAG, "[wifi_direct_activate] Succeeded.");

    After the wifi_direct_activate() function is completed, the device_state_changed_cb() callback is invoked.

  3. Start the discovery to find nearby peer devices:

    discovery_state_changed_cb(wifi_direct_error_e error_code,
                               wifi_direct_discovery_state_e discovery_state, void *user_data);
    error_code = wifi_direct_set_discovery_state_changed_cb(discovery_state_changed_cb, NULL);
    /* Discover nearby Wi-Fi Direct peer devices */
    wifi_direct_start_discovery(false, 0);

    When the Wi-Fi Direct discovery state changes, the discovery_state_changed_cb() function is called.

  4. Fetch the list of peers.

    Get the list of peers with the wifi_direct_foreach_discovered_peers() function. It invokes the wifi_direct_discovered_peer_cb() callback, which provides information about the peers that Wi-Fi P2P has detected:

    char * mac_address = NULL;
    discovered_peer_cb(wifi_direct_discovered_peer_info_s *peer, void *user_data)
        if (NULL != peer) {
            printf("\nDevice Name: %s", peer->device_name);
            printf("\nMac Address: %s", peer->mac_address);
            mac_address = strdup(peer->mac_address);
            error_code = wifi_direct_connect(mac_address);
            if (error_code != WIFI_DIRECT_ERROR_NONE) {
                printf("Fail to connect\n");
                return -1;
            return 1;
        int error_code;
        int ret = wifi_direct_foreach_discovered_peers(discovered_peer_cb, &mac_address);
        if (ret != WIFI_DIRECT_ERROR_NONE) {
            dlog_print(DLOG_ERROR, LOG_TAG, "[wifi_direct_foreach_discovered_peers] Failed.");
  5. Connect a specific Wi-Fi Direct peer device:

    static void
    connection_state_changed_cb(wifi_direct_error_e error_code,
                                wifi_direct_connection_state_e connection_state,
                                const char *mac_address, void *user_data)
        printf("Connection state changed to: [%d] [%s]\n", connection_state,
        bool accept_connection = false;
        int rv = 0;
        switch (connection_state) {
            /* Outgoing requests */
            wifi_direct_wps_type_e wps_mode;
            /* Handle the event */
            /* Incoming requests */
            wifi_direct_wps_type_e wps_mode;
            /* Handle the event */
            /* Invitation request from peer */
            /* Handle the event */
            printf("Peer: [%s] disconnected.\n", mac_address);
            /* Handle the event */
            printf("Connection in progress\n");
            /* Handle the event */
            if (error_code == WIFI_DIRECT_ERROR_CONNECTION_FAILED) {
                printf(MAKE_RED"Time Out or connection failed"RESET_COLOR"\n");
                /* Handle the event */
            /* Handle the event */
            /* Handle the event */
            /* Handle the event */
            printf("Unknown State Received\n");
    error_code = wifi_direct_set_connection_state_changed_cb(connection_state_changed_cb, NULL);
  6. When the connection is no longer needed, disconnect the Wi-Fi Direct device:

    error_code = wifi_direct_disconnect(mac_address);
    if (error_code != WIFI_DIRECT_ERROR_NONE) {
        printf("Fail to disconnect\n");
        return -1;
  7. To deactivate Wi-Fi Direct when it is no longer needed (or the application is exiting):

    /* Power off the local device using the wifi_direct_deactivate() function */
    /* Deactivate Wi-Fi Direct */
    /* Unset the callbacks */
    /* Unset the activation or deactivation event callback */
    /* Unset the discovery event callback */
    /* Unset the connection event callback */
  8. Release the Wi-Fi Direct.

    Power off the local device using the wifi_direct_deactivate() function:

    /* Release Wi-Fi Direct */

Difference Between Wi-Fi Direct and TDLS

There are 2 protocol technologies to connect directly with each other for Wi-Fi devices:

  • Wi-Fi Direct
  • TDLS (Tunneled Direct Link Setup)

Wi-Fi Direct-certified devices can quickly connect to one another while on the go, even when a Wi-Fi network is unavailable, while TDLS operates in the background of a Wi-Fi network to optimize performance. Many devices are certified for both solutions and use them in different situations.

For more information, see What is the difference between TDLS and Wi-Fi Direct?, IEEE 802.11z - TDLS and Content sharing, syncing, streaming protocols for Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi Direct

Wi-Fi Direct is a new technology defined by the Wi-Fi Alliance aimed at enhancing direct device to device communications in Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi Direct can be used to directly connect mobile phones, tablets, and PCs to peripherals, such as cameras, printers, gaming devices, or a wireless mouse, without the need for an access point. Devices can make a one-to-one connection, or a group of several devices can connect.

Figure: Wi-Fi Direct

Wi-Fi Direct

Direct device to device connectivity was already possible in the original IEEE 802.11 standard by means of the ad-hoc mode of operation. However, this never became widely deployed. Wi-Fi Direct takes a different approach: in it, one of the devices acts as an access point. This means that legacy Wi-Fi devices can seamlessly connect to Wi-Fi Direct devices.

The IEEE 802.11z amendment is a mechanism that makes it possible to directly transfer data between 2 Wi-Fi clients that are part of the same Wi-Fi network.

Figure: TDLS


Usually, in a Wi-Fi network, data is transferred from one client to another through an access point (AP). The IEEE 802.11z amendment defines mechanisms that allow IEEE 802.11 to set up a direct link between client devices while also remaining associated with the AP. These mechanisms are referred to as Tunneled Direct Link Setup (TDLS). This reduces the amount of traffic that is transferred in the network and prevents congestion at the AP.

A TDLS direct link is set up automatically between the devices, without intervention from the AP or the user. The connection with the AP is maintained.

TDLS is not the same as, nor does it replace Wi-Fi Direct. TDLS is used to optimize the traffic flow in a network, while Wi-Fi Direct is used to quickly connect devices to one another while on the go, even when a Wi-Fi network is unavailable.