Wi-Fi Aware

Discover the world nearby

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Aware is a Wi-Fi Alliance® certification program that extends Wi-Fi® capability with quick discovery, connection, and data exchange with other Wi-Fi devices—without the need for a traditional Wi-Fi network infrastructure, internet connection, or GPS signal. Wi-Fi Aware provides rich here-and-now experiences by establishing independent, peer-to-peer connections based on a user’s immediate location and preferences.

  • Connect with people nearby to play a favorite game on mobile devices
  • Manage meeting schedules and locations or attract attendees at a trade show
  • Receive coupons and notifications from select retailers while traversing a shopping mall
  • Bring enhanced educational experiences to people visiting a museum
  • Find friends at a concert and share photos or coordinate a place to meet

Wi-Fi Aware continuously discovers other devices within a user’s Wi-Fi range prior to association, making it easy to find nearby information and services available that match preferences set by the user. Wi-Fi Aware devices bring users a more interesting, relevant, and productive mobility experience. An individual in a subway station can connect to a person within proximity to play a game, while simultaneously receiving train schedule updates without the need for an internet connection. Co-workers on a lunch break can establish peer-to-peer connections to share photos, while also maintaining a connection to the company network.

Wi-Fi Aware is a key enabler of a truly personalized social, local, and mobile experience and works well in crowded environments. Wi-Fi Aware is poised for mass adoption, with native support available in the Android Oreo operating system.

Wi-Fi Aware enriches personalized mobility experiences

  • Provides continuous device-to-device discovery prior to association, even without a GPS, cellular or infrastructure connection
  • Allows multi-directional sharing of services or information simultaneously
  • Functions dynamically; groups of devices connected through Wi-Fi Aware maintain their connection even if one device moves out of range
  • Works well indoors and in crowded environments
  • Enables efficient device-to-device communication; each data stream is associated with a specific application or service
  • Gives user control of privacy; opt-in or out of identity disclosure via operating system or application
  • Leverages the spontaneous nature of user proximity to enable innovative applications

Built on the strength of the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ program, users can trust Wi-Fi Aware devices to work well across numerous device brands.

  • Wi-Fi Aware™: Discover the world nearby
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Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is Wi-Fi Aware?

    Wi-Fi Aware incorporates capabilities enhancing peer-to-peer communications by enabling devices to exchange services and information without the need for network infrastructure or sophisticated setup processes.  Within Wi-Fi Aware networks, connections are contextually formed, creating a simple data exchange mechanism based on shared user preferences.​

  • How do users experience Wi-Fi Aware?

    Wi-Fi Aware-enabled experiences are application-driven, and users can control privacy settings and opt-in to desired notifications. Users can configure an application to offer and/or seek services on nearby devices.

  • What is the range in which Wi-Fi Aware operates?

    Wi-Fi Aware operates at typical Wi-Fi range.

  • What is the Wi-Fi Alliance specification underlying Wi-Fi Aware?

    Wi-Fi Aware is a certification program based on the Wi-Fi Alliance Neighbor Awareness Networking Technical Specification.

  • Will Wi-Fi Aware drain the battery on my mobile device?

    Wi-Fi Aware was designed to be power efficient by establishing independent networked “clusters” synchronized to a common “heartbeat” to exchange small messages about services available nearby. Continuous discovery occurs in the background without putting undue burden on the battery of a mobile device.

  • On what frequency bands does Wi-Fi Aware operate?

    Wi-Fi Aware operates in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Discovery occurs in the 2.4 GHz band, channel 6 (discovery in 5 GHz is optional).

  • Can my device be updated to support Wi-Fi Aware?

    Many devices are capable of receiving updates to support Wi-Fi Aware. Whether a device can receive software updates to add the new functionality or not comes down to individual device vendor implementation. Native support for Wi-Fi Aware is available in the Android Oreo operating system.

  • What is the relationship between Wi-Fi Aware and Wi-Fi Direct?

    Wi-Fi Aware is a similar peer-to-peer connectivity technology to Wi-Fi Direct. However, while Wi-Fi Direct requires a centralized coordinator, called a Group Owner, Wi-Fi Aware creates decentralized, dynamic peer-to-peer connections. Many applications, such as Miracast and direct printer connections, work well with Wi-Fi Direct today. Wi-Fi Aware is positioned to provide peer-to-peer connectivity in highly mobile environments, where devices join or leave in a less deterministic manner. Whether it's professionals at a crowded conference to find each other or strangers on a subway momentarily joining a multi-player game, Wi-Fi Aware connections seamlessly adapt to changing environment and usage conditions. 

  • What is the difference between Wi-Fi Aware and Wi-Fi Location?

    Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Location™ is used for determining device location within a network by finding and connecting to access points, whereas Wi-Fi Aware is about connecting directly to other devices to publish and advertise information and services without an access point. Wi-Fi Location™ and Wi-Fi Aware can be used for similar uses, such as geo-fencing or personalized shopping, but Wi-Fi Location is meant to operate within Wi-Fi infrastructure to deliver precise location determination whereas Wi-Fi Aware is focused on connecting devices within an area of proximity without a network infrastructure.

  • Why use Wi-Fi Aware over other connectivity technologies?

    Wi-Fi Aware has a longer range than other commonly used technologies. Proximity-based applications are more useful when the connection allows for a longer range. Additionally, once connected, devices can leverage the high-performance, fast speeds, and a high level of security that Wi-Fi delivers.