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Using Wi-Fi Direct to Connect Your Galaxy Tab 2 to Other Devices

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The Galaxy Tab 2 allows you to connect with another computing device wirelessly and directly using the Tab 2's built-in Wi-Fi Direct feature. Eric Butow shows you how to set up Wi-Fi Direct and connect your Tab 2 with another device wirelessly.
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If you need to wirelessly transfer data to or connect with another device such as your smartphone, you don't need to buy a cable or even a wireless router to connect your Galaxy Tab 2 to another device. You can use the Tab 2 Wi-Fi Direct feature to connect to another device that also has Wi-Fi Direct enabled.

Set Up Wi-Fi Direct

Access Wi-Fi Direct in the Tab 2 by tapping on the Settings icon within any home screen. In the Settings window, tap the Wi-Fi option in the menu on the left side of the screen if the option isn't selected already. In the gray menu bar at the top of the screen, tap Wi-Fi Direct, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 The Wi-Fi Direct menu option appears at the right side of the menu bar between the Scan option and the menu icon

The Wi-Fi Direct setting options area appears on the right side of the screen, as shown in Figure 2. The name of your Galaxy Tab 2 appears in the My Device Name section. The Tab 2 searches for available devices available near you and displays those devices in the Available Devices section.

Figure 2 The Wi-Fi Direct setting options appear at the right side of the gray menu bar; the menu bar appears at the top of the screen underneath the Status Bar

The Available Devices section shows you a list of all wireless devices to which the Galaxy Tab 2 can connect through Wi-Fi Direct. If you want to show only those devices that can connect to multiple devices through a Wi-Fi Direct connection, such as a wireless printer, tap Multi-Connect in the menu bar.

You'll see only devices that support multi-connect connections in the Available Devices list. You can scan for more multi-connect Wi-Fi devices by tapping Scan at the right side of the menu bar at the top of the screen (see Figure 3). When you're finished viewing devices, tap Done in the menu.

Figure 3 Multi-connect Wi-Fi devices appear in the Available Devices section list

Tap the menu icon at the far right side of the menu bar to open the drop-down menu that contains more setting options. Tap Rename Device to rename your current device. In the Rename Device window shown in Figure 4, delete the name of the device in the box and then type your new name. When you're finished, tap the OK button. You can also get help with the application by tapping Help in the drop-down menu.

Using Wi-Fi Direct

Once you've connected your Wi-Fi devices to your Tab 2 using Wi-Fi Direct, how do you find those devices in Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)?

If you’re in an app that allows you to send data to another device, such as the Gallery app, then tap the Share icon in the menu bar. You’ll see a list of all devices and apps to which you can send the photo in the drop-down list. If you only see a few entries, you can view all devices and apps in the menu by tapping See All at the bottom of the list. You’ll see the Wi-Fi Direct option, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4 The Wi-Fi Direct option appears below the Bluetooth option near the top of the drop-down menu

After you tap Wi-Fi Direct in the menu, the Select Device screen opens and scans for available devices in the Available Devices section. Tap the device to which you want to send the device in the list. The Outbound Transfers screen appears and displays the status of the transfer. When the transfer is complete, check the other device to confirm that it received the file.

If you receive a file from another device using a Wi-Fi Direct connection, you can view the file by opening the My Files app, shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5 Folders appear in the file folder tree on the left side of the My Files app screen. Files and subfolders appear on the right side of the screen

In the My Files screen, tap the sdcard0 folder name within the file folder tree. In the list of subfolders that appears underneath the sdcard0 folder, swipe down the list until you see the ShareViaWiFi subfolder in the tree, and then tap that subfolder name. You’ll see the file in the list on the right side of the screen. Open the file in the associated app by tapping the file name in the list. For example, if you tap an image file, then the Gallery app will open and display the image on the screen.

Resolving Connection Issues

If the Tab 2 can’t find your Wi-Fi Direct device, check the other device’s Wi-Fi connection and ensure the other device offers Wi-Fi Direct. Try connecting to your Wi-Fi Direct device again on your Tab 2 by tapping Scan at the right side of the menu bar, as you saw in Figure 2.

You should also check the Wi-Fi Alliance website to learn if your device is Wi-Fi Direct enabled. The Wi-Fi Alliance is a non-profit group founded in 1999 and was formed to grow Wi-Fi acceptance in the marketplace, support industry standards, and provide a forum so Wi-Fi companies can collaborate and improve Wi-Fi technologies. You can begin searching for products that include Wi-Fi Direct functionality by opening the Internet app and then accessing the Certified Products page (see Figure 6).

Figure 6 Swipe down the page to view the Capabilities section, and filter your search by various product capabilities such as Wi-Fi Direct

Within the Certified Products page, you can filter the list by company, two different category types, the product’s certification ID number, and the date the product is certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance. You can search for all products that are Wi-Fi Direct certified by tapping the Wi-Fi Direct checkbox in the Capabilities section and making no other changes on the page. View products that are Wi-Fi Direct certified by tapping the Submit button at the bottom of the page.

As of this writing, more than 2,800 products are certified as Wi-Fi Direct devices. However, some devices use their own proprietary Wi-Fi direct connection to connect with your Tab 2. For example, my Hewlett-Packard Officejet Pro X576dw multi-function printer uses its own HP Wireless Direct technology. An HP Wireless Direct connection makes it appear to your Tab 2 that it’s another Wi-Fi network connection. You’ll learn how to connect to a wireless printer through a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection in my article "How to Print Wirelessly from Your Galaxy Tab 2."

Final Thoughts

Now that you can connect your Tab 2 to other computing devices using Wi-Fi Direct, enjoy the freedom of sharing files and other devices without wires.

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