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How To Set Up an Ad Hoc (Peer) Wi-Fi Network

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Follow these step-by-step instructions to set up an ad hoc Wi-Fi network. A Wi-Fi network in ad hoc (also known as computer-to-computer or peer) mode allows two or more devices to communicate with each other directly instead of through a central wireless router or access point.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: less than 30 minutes

Here's How:

  1. For each of the computers (devices) to be connected via ad hoc networking, determine whether they have Wi-Fi capability. Purchase and install Wi-Fi network adapter hardware if needed.

  2. Decide on a name and a Wi-Fi security password for the ad hoc network to be created.
  3. To set up an ad hoc Wi-Fi connection in Microsoft Windows, first choose the "Set up a new connection or network" option in Network and Sharing Center, then choose the "Set up a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network" option and click Next to start the process. Follow the instructions provided with each step.
  4. To set up ad hoc Wi-Fi from Mac OS X, choose the "Create Network..." menu option from AirPort (usually accessible from the main menu bar), then choose the "Create a Computer-to-Computer Network" option and follow the instructions provided.
  5. Test the ad hoc network connection after linking the first two devices together.
  6. To join additional devices to an established ad hoc network, browse the list of Wi-Fi networks it has discovered and connect to the one with the correct name.

Tips:

  1. When using ad hoc mode, be aware of several security issues and performance limitations of ad hoc Wi-Fi networks.

  2. The most common sources of trouble in ad hoc mode networking are incorrect configuration and insufficient signal strength. Ensure your devices are located close enough to each other, and ensure configuration settings are made identically on each device.

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