Wireless Networking Ad-hoc Mode - dummies

By Edward Tetz

Your wireless network can choose either the Ad-Hoc or Infrastructure mode of making device connections. Ad-hoc mode is used to put together a temporary network without the aid of an access point (AP). When the members of the ad hoc wireless LAN leave the area, the wireless LAN disappears.

When working with networking in Ad Hoc mode, you are connecting to another device that has the same wireless settings as the settings on your device. The benefit of ad hoc networking is that you do not need to preconfigure your network infrastructure to support a temporary group of users, while the users (or rather their devices) are able to share information among themselves.

A sample ad hoc wireless network is shown in the following illustration, and it required very little configuration. The ad hoc wireless LAN is created by two or more computers that have configured their wireless LAN settings to be the same. This matching of wireless LAN settings allows the computer to form a direct network connection when they are close enough for the wireless signals to communicate.


In addition to device-to-device connections, you can also use ad hoc networking in wireless mesh devices, in which all devices (APs) connect to the mesh (that being a few devices that are clustered near each other, similar to the ad hoc network illustrated), and data will pass from AP to AP through the mesh until it reaches its final destination.

The advantage of using this type of technology is that all APs can be provided with rudimentary routing information that allows the AP not only to handle routing changes as needed, but also to determine the best way to pass packets, or to be able to pass packets due to a hardware failure in one of the APs.

After a hardware failure, all other APs update their paths for data so that they do not attempt to send data through the failed AP.

When dealing with Ad Hoc mode WLAN technology, focus on device-to-device connections. The wireless mesh combines ad hoc networking with an additional layer of software to support the mesh communication process.