Google is committed to advancing racial equity for Black communities. See how.

Wi-Fi Direct (peer-to-peer or P2P) overview

Wi-Fi Direct (P2P) allows devices with the appropriate hardware to connect directly to each other via Wi-Fi without an intermediate access point. Using these APIs, you can discover and connect to other devices when each device supports Wi-Fi P2P, then communicate over a speedy connection across distances much longer than a Bluetooth connection. This is useful for applications that share data among users, such as a multiplayer game or a photo-sharing application.

The Wi-Fi P2P APIs consist of the following main parts:

  • Methods that allow you to discover, request, and connect to peers, which are defined in the WifiP2pManager class.
  • Listeners that allow you to be notified of the success or failure of WifiP2pManager method calls. When calling WifiP2pManager methods, each method can receive a specific listener passed in as a parameter.
  • Intents that notify you of specific events detected by the Wi-Fi P2P framework, such as a dropped connection or a newly discovered peer.

You will often use these three main components of the APIs together. For example, you can provide a WifiP2pManager.ActionListener to a call to discoverPeers() so that ActionListener.onSuccess() and ActionListener.onFailure() methods can notify you. A WIFI_P2P_PEERS_CHANGED_ACTION intent is also broadcast if the discoverPeers() method discovers that the peers list has changed.

API overview

The WifiP2pManager class provides methods to enable you to interact with the Wi-Fi hardware on your device to do things like discover and connect to peers. The following actions are available:

Table 1. Wi-Fi P2P Methods

Method Description
initialize() Registers the application with the Wi-Fi framework. Call this before calling any other Wi-Fi P2P method.
connect() Starts a peer-to-peer connection with a device with the specified configuration.
cancelConnect() Cancels any ongoing peer-to-peer group negotiation.
requestConnectInfo() Requests a device's connection information.
createGroup() Creates a peer-to-peer group with the current device as the group owner.
removeGroup() Removes the current peer-to-peer group.
requestGroupInfo() Requests peer-to-peer group information.
discoverPeers() Initiates peer discovery.
requestPeers() Requests the current list of discovered peers.

WifiP2pManager methods let you pass in a listener, so that the Wi-Fi P2P framework can notify your activity of the status of a call. The available listener interfaces and the corresponding WifiP2pManager method calls that use the listeners are described in table 2.

Table 2. Wi-Fi P2P Listeners

Listener interface Associated actions
WifiP2pManager.ActionListener connect(), cancelConnect(), createGroup(), removeGroup(), and discoverPeers()
WifiP2pManager.ChannelListener initialize()
WifiP2pManager.ConnectionInfoListener requestConnectInfo()
WifiP2pManager.GroupInfoListener requestGroupInfo()
WifiP2pManager.PeerListListener requestPeers()

The Wi-Fi P2P APIs define intents that are broadcast when certain Wi-Fi P2P events happen, such as when a new peer is discovered or when a device's Wi-Fi state changes. You can register to receive these intents in your application by creating a broadcast receiver that handles these intents:

Table 3. Wi-Fi P2P Intents

Intent Description
WIFI_P2P_CONNECTION_CHANGED_ACTION Broadcast when the state of the device's Wi-Fi connection changes.
WIFI_P2P_PEERS_CHANGED_ACTION Broadcast when you call discoverPeers(). You will usually call requestPeers() to get an updated list of peers if you handle this intent in your application.
WIFI_P2P_STATE_CHANGED_ACTION Broadcast when Wi-Fi P2P is enabled or disabled on the device.
WIFI_P2P_THIS_DEVICE_CHANGED_ACTION Broadcast when a device's details have changed, such as the device's name.

Create a broadcast receiver for Wi-Fi P2P intents

A broadcast receiver allows you to receive intents broadcast by the Android system, so that your application can respond to events that you are interested in. The basic steps for creating a broadcast receiver to handle Wi-Fi P2P intents are as follows:

  1. Create a class that extends the BroadcastReceiver class. For the class' constructor, you will use parameters for the WifiP2pManager, WifiP2pManager.Channel, and the activity that this broadcast receiver will be registered in. This allows the broadcast receiver to send updates to the activity as well as have access to the Wi-Fi hardware and a communication channel if needed.

  2. In the broadcast receiver, check for the intents that you are interested in in the onReceive() method. Perform any necessary actions depending on the intent that is received. For example, if the broadcast receiver receives a WIFI_P2P_PEERS_CHANGED_ACTION intent, you can call the requestPeers() method to get a list of the currently discovered peers.

The following code shows you how to create a typical broadcast receiver. The broadcast receiver takes a WifiP2pManager object and an activity as arguments and uses these two classes to appropriately carry out the needed actions when the broadcast receiver receives an intent:

Kotlin

/**
* A BroadcastReceiver that notifies of important Wi-Fi p2p events.
*/
class WiFiDirectBroadcastReceiver(
       private val manager: WifiP2pManager,
       private val channel: WifiP2pManager.Channel,
       private val activity: MyWifiActivity
) : BroadcastReceiver() {

   override fun onReceive(context: Context, intent: Intent) {
       val action: String = intent.action
       when (action) {
           WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_STATE_CHANGED_ACTION -> {
               // Check to see if Wi-Fi is enabled and notify appropriate activity
           }
           WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_PEERS_CHANGED_ACTION -> {
               // Call WifiP2pManager.requestPeers() to get a list of current peers
           }
           WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_CONNECTION_CHANGED_ACTION -> {
               // Respond to new connection or disconnections
           }
           WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_THIS_DEVICE_CHANGED_ACTION -> {
               // Respond to this device's wifi state changing
           }
       }
   }
}

Java

/**
* A BroadcastReceiver that notifies of important Wi-Fi p2p events.
*/
public class WiFiDirectBroadcastReceiver extends BroadcastReceiver {

   private WifiP2pManager manager;
   private Channel channel;
   private MyWiFiActivity activity;

   public WiFiDirectBroadcastReceiver(WifiP2pManager manager, Channel channel,
           MyWifiActivity activity) {
       super();
       this.manager = manager;
       this.channel = channel;
       this.activity = activity;
   }

   @Override
   public void onReceive(Context context, Intent intent) {
       String action = intent.getAction();

       if (WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_STATE_CHANGED_ACTION.equals(action)) {
           // Check to see if Wi-Fi is enabled and notify appropriate activity
       } else if (WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_PEERS_CHANGED_ACTION.equals(action)) {
           // Call WifiP2pManager.requestPeers() to get a list of current peers
       } else if (WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_CONNECTION_CHANGED_ACTION.equals(action)) {
           // Respond to new connection or disconnections
       } else if (WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_THIS_DEVICE_CHANGED_ACTION.equals(action)) {
           // Respond to this device's wifi state changing
       }
   }
}

On devices running Android 10 and higher, the following broadcast intents are non-sticky:

WIFI_P2P_CONNECTION_CHANGED_ACTION
Applications can use requestConnectionInfo(), requestNetworkInfo(), or requestGroupInfo() to retrieve the current connection information.
WIFI_P2P_THIS_DEVICE_CHANGED_ACTION
Applications can use requestDeviceInfo() to retrieve the current connection information.

Create a Wi-Fi P2P application

Creating a Wi-Fi P2P application involves creating and registering a broadcast receiver for your application, discovering peers, connecting to a peer, and transferring data to a peer. The following sections describe how to do this.

Initial setup

Before using the Wi-Fi P2P APIs, you must ensure that your application can access the hardware and that the device supports the Wi-Fi P2P protocol. If Wi-Fi P2P is supported, you can obtain an instance of WifiP2pManager, create and register your broadcast receiver, and begin using the Wi-Fi P2P APIs.

  1. Request permission to use the Wi-Fi hardware on the device and declare your application to have the correct minimum SDK version in the Android manifest:

    <uses-sdk android:minSdkVersion="14" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_WIFI_STATE" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.CHANGE_WIFI_STATE" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.CHANGE_NETWORK_STATE" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE" />
    

    Besides the preceding permissions, the following APIs also require Location Mode to be enabled:

  2. Check to see if Wi-Fi P2P is on and supported. A good place to check this is in your broadcast receiver when it receives the WIFI_P2P_STATE_CHANGED_ACTION intent. Notify your activity of the Wi-Fi P2P state and react accordingly:

    Kotlin

    override fun onReceive(context: Context, intent: Intent) {
    ...
    val action: String = intent.action
    when (action) {
       WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_STATE_CHANGED_ACTION -> {
           val state = intent.getIntExtra(WifiP2pManager.EXTRA_WIFI_STATE, -1)
           when (state) {
               WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_STATE_ENABLED -> {
                   // Wifi P2P is enabled
               }
               else -> {
                   // Wi-Fi P2P is not enabled
               }
           }
       }
    }
    ...
    }
    

    Java

    @Override
    public void onReceive(Context context, Intent intent) {
    ...
    String action = intent.getAction();
    if (WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_STATE_CHANGED_ACTION.equals(action)) {
       int state = intent.getIntExtra(WifiP2pManager.EXTRA_WIFI_STATE, -1);
       if (state == WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_STATE_ENABLED) {
           // Wifi P2P is enabled
       } else {
           // Wi-Fi P2P is not enabled
       }
    }
    ...
    }
    
  3. In your activity's onCreate() method, obtain an instance of WifiP2pManager and register your application with the Wi-Fi P2P framework by calling initialize(). This method returns a WifiP2pManager.Channel, which is used to connect your application to the Wi-Fi P2P framework. You should also create an instance of your broadcast receiver with the WifiP2pManager and WifiP2pManager.Channel objects along with a reference to your activity. This enables your broadcast receiver to notify your activity of interesting events and update it accordingly. It also enables you to manipulate the device's Wi-Fi state if necessary:

    Kotlin

    val manager: WifiP2pManager? by lazy(LazyThreadSafetyMode.NONE) {
       getSystemService(Context.WIFI_P2P_SERVICE) as WifiP2pManager?
    }
    
    var channel: WifiP2pManager.Channel? = null
    var receiver: BroadcastReceiver? = null
    
    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
       ...
    
       channel = manager?.initialize(this, mainLooper, null)
       channel?.also { channel ->
           receiver = WiFiDirectBroadcastReceiver(manager, channel, this)
       }
    }
    

    Java

    WifiP2pManager manager;
    Channel channel;
    BroadcastReceiver receiver;
    ...
    @Override
    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState){
       ...
       manager = (WifiP2pManager) getSystemService(Context.WIFI_P2P_SERVICE);
       channel = manager.initialize(this, getMainLooper(), null);
       receiver = new WiFiDirectBroadcastReceiver(manager, channel, this);
       ...
    }
    
  4. Create an intent filter and add the same intents that your broadcast receiver checks for:

    Kotlin

    val intentFilter = IntentFilter().apply {
       addAction(WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_STATE_CHANGED_ACTION)
       addAction(WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_PEERS_CHANGED_ACTION)
       addAction(WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_CONNECTION_CHANGED_ACTION)
       addAction(WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_THIS_DEVICE_CHANGED_ACTION)
    }
    

    Java

    IntentFilter intentFilter;
    ...
    @Override
    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState){
       ...
       intentFilter = new IntentFilter();
       intentFilter.addAction(WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_STATE_CHANGED_ACTION);
       intentFilter.addAction(WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_PEERS_CHANGED_ACTION);
       intentFilter.addAction(WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_CONNECTION_CHANGED_ACTION);
       intentFilter.addAction(WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_THIS_DEVICE_CHANGED_ACTION);
       ...
    }
    
  5. Register the broadcast receiver in the onResume() method of your activity and unregister it in the onPause() method of your activity:

    Kotlin

    /* register the broadcast receiver with the intent values to be matched */
    override fun onResume() {
       super.onResume()
       receiver?.also { receiver ->
           registerReceiver(receiver, intentFilter)
       }
    }
    
    /* unregister the broadcast receiver */
    override fun onPause() {
       super.onPause()
       receiver?.also { receiver ->
           unregisterReceiver(receiver)
       }
    }
    

    Java

    /* register the broadcast receiver with the intent values to be matched */
    @Override
    protected void onResume() {
       super.onResume();
       registerReceiver(receiver, intentFilter);
    }
    /* unregister the broadcast receiver */
    @Override
    protected void onPause() {
       super.onPause();
       unregisterReceiver(receiver);
    }
    
  6. When you have gotten a WifiP2pManager.Channel and set up a broadcast receiver, your application can make Wi-Fi P2P method calls and receive Wi-Fi P2P intents.

  7. Implement your application, using the Wi-Fi P2P features by calling the methods in WifiP2pManager.

The next sections describe how to do common actions such as discovering and connecting to peers.

Discover peers

Call discoverPeers() to detect available peers that are in range and available for connection. The call to this function is asynchronous and a success or failure is communicated to your application with onSuccess() and onFailure() if you created a WifiP2pManager.ActionListener. The onSuccess() method only notifies you that the discovery process succeeded and does not provide any information about the actual peers that it discovered, if any. The following code sample shows how to set this up.

Kotlin

manager?.discoverPeers(channel, object : WifiP2pManager.ActionListener {

   override fun onSuccess() {
       ...
   }

   override fun onFailure(reasonCode: Int) {
       ...
   }
})

Java

manager.discoverPeers(channel, new WifiP2pManager.ActionListener() {
   @Override
   public void onSuccess() {
       ...
   }

   @Override
   public void onFailure(int reasonCode) {
       ...
   }
});

If the discovery process succeeds and detects peers, the system broadcasts the WIFI_P2P_PEERS_CHANGED_ACTION intent, which you can listen for in a broadcast receiver to get a list of peers. When your application receives the WIFI_P2P_PEERS_CHANGED_ACTION intent, you can request a list of the discovered peers with requestPeers(). The following code shows how to set this up.

Kotlin

override fun onReceive(context: Context, intent: Intent) {
   val action: String = intent.action
   when (action) {
       ...
       WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_PEERS_CHANGED_ACTION -> {
           manager?.requestPeers(channel) { peers: WifiP2pDeviceList? ->
               // Handle peers list
           }
       }
       ...
   }
}

Java

PeerListListener myPeerListListener;
...
if (WifiP2pManager.WIFI_P2P_PEERS_CHANGED_ACTION.equals(action)) {

   // request available peers from the wifi p2p manager. This is an
   // asynchronous call and the calling activity is notified with a
   // callback on PeerListListener.onPeersAvailable()
   if (manager != null) {
       manager.requestPeers(channel, myPeerListListener);
   }
}

The requestPeers() method is also asynchronous and can notify your activity when a list of peers is available with onPeersAvailable(), which is defined in the WifiP2pManager.PeerListListener interface. The onPeersAvailable() method provides you with a WifiP2pDeviceList, which you can iterate through to find the peer to connect to.

Connect to peers

Once you have gotten a list of possible peers and selected a device to connect to, call the connect() method to connect to the device. This method call requires a WifiP2pConfig object that contains information about the device to connect to. WifiP2pManager.ActionListener can notify you of a connection success or failure. The following code shows you how to create a connection to a device.

Kotlin

val device: WifiP2pDevice = ...
val config = WifiP2pConfig()
config.deviceAddress = device.deviceAddress
channel?.also { channel ->
   manager?.connect(channel, config, object : WifiP2pManager.ActionListener {

       override fun onSuccess() {
           //success logic
       }

       override fun onFailure(reason: Int) {
           //failure logic
       }
   }
)}

Java

//obtain a peer from the WifiP2pDeviceList
WifiP2pDevice device;
WifiP2pConfig config = new WifiP2pConfig();
config.deviceAddress = device.deviceAddress;
manager.connect(channel, config, new ActionListener() {

   @Override
   public void onSuccess() {
       //success logic
   }

   @Override
   public void onFailure(int reason) {
       //failure logic
   }
});

Transfer data

Once a connection is established, you can transfer data between the devices with sockets. The basic steps of transferring data are as follows:

  1. Create a ServerSocket. This socket waits for a connection from a client on a specified port and blocks until it happens, so do this in a background thread.
  2. Create a client Socket. The client uses the IP address and port of the server socket to connect to the server device.
  3. Send data from the client to the server. When the client socket successfully connects to the server socket, you can send data from the client to the server with byte streams.
  4. The server socket waits for a client connection (with the accept() method). This call blocks until a client connects, so call this in another thread. When a connection happens, the server device can receive the data from the client.

The following example, modified from the Wi-Fi P2P Demo, shows you how to create this client-server socket communication and transfer JPEG images from a client to a server with a service. For a complete working example, compile and run the demo.

Kotlin

class FileServerAsyncTask(
       private val context: Context,
       private var statusText: TextView
) : AsyncTask<Void, Void, String?>() {

   override fun doInBackground(vararg params: Void): String? {
       /**
        * Create a server socket.
        */
       val serverSocket = ServerSocket(8888)
       return serverSocket.use {
           /**
            * Wait for client connections. This call blocks until a
            * connection is accepted from a client.
            */
           val client = serverSocket.accept()
           /**
            * If this code is reached, a client has connected and transferred data
            * Save the input stream from the client as a JPEG file
            */
           val f = File(Environment.getExternalStorageDirectory().absolutePath +
                   "/${context.packageName}/wifip2pshared-${System.currentTimeMillis()}.jpg")
           val dirs = File(f.parent)

           dirs.takeIf { it.doesNotExist() }?.apply {
               mkdirs()
           }
           f.createNewFile()
           val inputstream = client.getInputStream()
           copyFile(inputstream, FileOutputStream(f))
           serverSocket.close()
           f.absolutePath
       }
   }

   private fun File.doesNotExist(): Boolean = !exists()

   /**
    * Start activity that can handle the JPEG image
    */
   override fun onPostExecute(result: String?) {
       result?.run {
           statusText.text = "File copied - $result"
           val intent = Intent(android.content.Intent.ACTION_VIEW).apply {
               setDataAndType(Uri.parse("file://$result"), "image/*")
           }
           context.startActivity(intent)
       }
   }
}

Java

public static class FileServerAsyncTask extends AsyncTask {

   private Context context;
   private TextView statusText;

   public FileServerAsyncTask(Context context, View statusText) {
       this.context = context;
       this.statusText = (TextView) statusText;
   }

   @Override
   protected String doInBackground(Void... params) {
       try {

           /**
            * Create a server socket and wait for client connections. This
            * call blocks until a connection is accepted from a client
            */
           ServerSocket serverSocket = new ServerSocket(8888);
           Socket client = serverSocket.accept();

           /**
            * If this code is reached, a client has connected and transferred data
            * Save the input stream from the client as a JPEG file
            */
           final File f = new File(Environment.getExternalStorageDirectory() + "/"
                   + context.getPackageName() + "/wifip2pshared-" + System.currentTimeMillis()
                   + ".jpg");

           File dirs = new File(f.getParent());
           if (!dirs.exists())
               dirs.mkdirs();
           f.createNewFile();
           InputStream inputstream = client.getInputStream();
           copyFile(inputstream, new FileOutputStream(f));
           serverSocket.close();
           return f.getAbsolutePath();
       } catch (IOException e) {
           Log.e(WiFiDirectActivity.TAG, e.getMessage());
           return null;
       }
   }

   /**
    * Start activity that can handle the JPEG image
    */
   @Override
   protected void onPostExecute(String result) {
       if (result != null) {
           statusText.setText("File copied - " + result);
           Intent intent = new Intent();
           intent.setAction(android.content.Intent.ACTION_VIEW);
           intent.setDataAndType(Uri.parse("file://" + result), "image/*");
           context.startActivity(intent);
       }
   }
}

On the client, connect to the server socket with a client socket and transfer data. This example transfers a JPEG file on the client device's file system.

Kotlin

val context = applicationContext
val host: String
val port: Int
val len: Int
val socket = Socket()
val buf = ByteArray(1024)
...
try {
   /**
    * Create a client socket with the host,
    * port, and timeout information.
    */
   socket.bind(null)
   socket.connect((InetSocketAddress(host, port)), 500)

   /**
    * Create a byte stream from a JPEG file and pipe it to the output stream
    * of the socket. This data is retrieved by the server device.
    */
   val outputStream = socket.getOutputStream()
   val cr = context.contentResolver
   val inputStream: InputStream = cr.openInputStream(Uri.parse("path/to/picture.jpg"))
   while (inputStream.read(buf).also { len = it } != -1) {
       outputStream.write(buf, 0, len)
   }
   outputStream.close()
   inputStream.close()
} catch (e: FileNotFoundException) {
   //catch logic
} catch (e: IOException) {
   //catch logic
} finally {
   /**
    * Clean up any open sockets when done
    * transferring or if an exception occurred.
    */
   socket.takeIf { it.isConnected }?.apply {
       close()
   }
}

Java

Context context = this.getApplicationContext();
String host;
int port;
int len;
Socket socket = new Socket();
byte buf[]  = new byte[1024];
...
try {
   /**
    * Create a client socket with the host,
    * port, and timeout information.
    */
   socket.bind(null);
   socket.connect((new InetSocketAddress(host, port)), 500);

   /**
    * Create a byte stream from a JPEG file and pipe it to the output stream
    * of the socket. This data is retrieved by the server device.
    */
   OutputStream outputStream = socket.getOutputStream();
   ContentResolver cr = context.getContentResolver();
   InputStream inputStream = null;
   inputStream = cr.openInputStream(Uri.parse("path/to/picture.jpg"));
   while ((len = inputStream.read(buf)) != -1) {
       outputStream.write(buf, 0, len);
   }
   outputStream.close();
   inputStream.close();
} catch (FileNotFoundException e) {
   //catch logic
} catch (IOException e) {
   //catch logic
}

/**
* Clean up any open sockets when done
* transferring or if an exception occurred.
*/
finally {
   if (socket != null) {
       if (socket.isConnected()) {
           try {
               socket.close();
           } catch (IOException e) {
               //catch logic
           }
       }
   }
}