Setting Up an Ad Hoc Network

An ad hoc network is a temporary network that connects two or more wireless computers and devices without requiring a hub or wireless access point. The computers' network adapters communicate directly with each other. An ad hoc network is handy when you need to exchange files or share an internet connection with someone who isn't normally part of your network—for example, in a meeting. Another common use: multiplayer games .

To set up an ad hoc network, follow these steps:

1. Open Network And Sharing Center, and click Set Up A New Connection Or Network.

2. In the Set Up A Connection Or Network wizard, select Set Up A Wireless Ad Hoc (Computer-To-Computer) Network and click Next. On the next page, click Next. Doing this brings you to the page shown here:

3. Specify a network name . The name can be up to 32 characters long; can contain letters, numbers, and underscores; and is case-sensitive.

4. Specify a security type . Ad hoc networks support WEP and WPA2-Personal encryption; the only other option is an open, unsecured network. An open network is the easiest for others to join—whether that's an advantage or disadvantage depends on whether potential interlopers might be nearby and whether you expect to transmit sensitive information .

5. If you choose to encrypt the ad hoc network, enter a security key or passphrase in one of these forms:

• For WPA encryption, up to 63 characters (letters, numbers, and spaces)

• For WEP encryption, 5 or 10 case-sensitive characters (letters, numbers, and punctuation) or a 13-digit or 26-digit hexadecimal number (numbers and letters A-F)

6. If you plan to use the ad hoc network again, select Save This Network. If you do not, Windows automatically deletes the network after the user who set up the network or all other users on the network disconnect.

7. Click Next. If your computer is connected directly to the internet (through a network adapter other than the wireless adapter you're using for the ad hoc network) and you want to share the internet connection, click Turn On Internet Connection Sharing.

8. Click Close.

The network is now set up and ready to use Others can join the network just as they join any other wireless network: Click the network icon in the taskbar's notification area, select the ad hoc network, and click Connect. If the ad hoc network is secured with WEP or WPA encryption, another dialog box asks for the security key; enter it and click Connect

To share files, file sharing must be enabled . For more information, see Chapter 18, "Sharing and Managing Network Resources ."

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