How To Set Up An Ad Hoc Network

You can learn how to set up an Ad Hoc network to connect one computer to another computer. Most people will have their wireless devices and computers setup for Infrastructure networking, meaning the network is handled by a router. If you are in a situation where you need to transfer files and data from one wireless computer to another, you can quickly setup an ad hoc network, however. An ad hoc network is considered computer to computer networking without a router or access point present. One such application of this type of networking would be a business meeting environment, where you need to quickly transfer files to an associate. Simply setup an ad hoc network on your computer and then have the client search for and connect to the shared folder on your PC.

Configure An Ad Hoc Network

To learn how to set up an Ad Hoc network, one computer will create the network and act as the host. The other computers will then search for and connect to the computer. Once the host computer is shut down or out of wireless range, the network is gone.

Setup the connection by going into the Control Panel and clicking on the Network Connections icon. Identify your wireless connection. Right-click the connection and then select Properties.

Click on the tab that says Wireless Networks.

Ad Hoc Network
how to set up an Ad Hoc network


In the Preferred Networks section, click the Add button.

Under the Association tab you will first give the network a name or what is called a Service Set Identifier (SSID). This is the name people will see when they look for available networks.

Set the Network Authentication as Open and then configure the encryption as WEP or WPA-2 (WEP is more compatible with older wireless adapters but considered weak encryption). Setup a password, then un-check This key is provided by me automatically. You will then check the box that says This is a computer to computer (ad hoc) network.

Note: It is imperative to setup a complicated password or strangers will be able to connect to your computer in public. Or when the ad hoc network is no longer needed, just delete it for security purposes.

Click OK to save your changes. Your network will now show up under the Preferred Networks section.

How To Access An Ad Hoc Network

At this point, the host computer can then setup a shared folder. You can create a folder anywhere by right-clicking an open area and selecting New Folder. Name the folder anything you want and then right-click and select Sharing. Give the folder a name, and place any data you want to share into that folder. Newer versions of Windows will also have a Public folder, which is an open folder other computers can see an access once they connect.

Allow Other People To Connect To Your Computer

Now that you have learned how to set up an Ad Hoc network, people can browse for your network and connect to you. To do this, locate the wireless icon in the system tray and then right-click that icon.

view available wireless networks

Click View Available Networks. If the host computer is powered on and configured correctly, it will be displayed as an available network. They will then need to type in the password to establish a connection.

If you have questions about Ad Hoc networks, be sure to join our computer repair forums.

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