Question: Limitations of WiFi Ad Hoc Mode Networking
WiFi wireless networking supports two basic forms - so-called "infrastructure" mode and "ad-hoc" mode (see sidebar). Ad-hoc mode allows a Wi-Fi network to function without a central wireless router or access point. In a few situations, ad-hoc mode networking is preferable to the alternative infrastructure mode, but ad-hoc networks suffer from several key limitations as described here.
Answer: Consider these limitations of ad-hoc mode WiFi wireless networking:
- WiFi devices in ad hoc mode offer minimal security against unwanted incoming connections. For example, ad-hoc WiFi devices cannot disable SSID broadcast like infrastructure mode devices can. Attackers generally will have little difficulty connecting to your ad-hoc device if they get within signal range.
- Signal strength indications accessible when connected in infrastructure mode will be unavailable to you in ad-hoc mode. Therefore, you will face some difficulty whenever re-positioning an ad-hoc device to achieve a better signal.
- The WiFi networking standards (including 802.11g) require only that ad-hoc mode communication supports 11 Mbps bandwidth. You should expect that WiFi devices supporting 54 Mbps or higher in infrastructure mode, will drop back to a maximum of 11 Mbps when changed to ad-hoc mode. Ad-hoc mode should generally be viewed as "slower" than infrastructure mode for this reason.