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How to Set Up Adhoc Network in Windows

Updated on August 16, 2016
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Alfred is a long time teacher and computer enthusiast who works with and troubleshoots a wide range of computing devices.

Adhoc network is basic wireless networking that facilitates the connection of two or more computers with just a minimum of requirements. At home, it lets you share and print files effortlessly, whether for one time file sharing or permanent configuration.

An adhoc connection is when two or more computers all with wireless capabilities communicate with each other without the services of a standalone access point or router.

In an adhoc network, one select computer is setup as the access point and is capable of permitting seamless communication with more than two computIng devices. An adhoc configuration also permits an average speed of 54Mbs. This type of connection does not necessarily have to be configured with IP addresses.

Sample adhoc network for three coomputers
Sample adhoc network for three coomputers

How to set up an adhoc network in Windows

Adhoc network is commonly used as temporary network setup and after it has solved an equally temporary task it is normally abandoned. However, there are those who set up an ad hoc network for a much more permanent basis.

Configuring ad hoc is done differently in different Windows operation systems. For this example we shall use Windows 7.

Setting up your computers for an ad hoc wireless network can be done in a few simple steps:

  • On the Desktop, right click Network (in Windows 7) and click Properties, and then from within network information page, choose Setup a new connection or network. This option is listed under Change your network settings.
  • From the new window, Choose a connection option, scroll to the last item and click Setup a wireless ad hoc (computer to computer) network.

  • Click Next, on the next screen.
  • You will be shown a window with two laaptops and the words, Set up a wireless and ad hoc network. Click Next.

  • The next window will ask you to fill in the Network name, Security type and the Security key. Fill in the desired network name and choose whatever authentication.

Setting up security and key types

Depending on how curious you are about security, you can decide to configure this option with secure settings, or you can opt to leave it un-authenticated.

  • If you choose to configure your new network without security, choose the No authentication (open) option under Security type. The dialog box will grey out the Security key input box.
  • You will also be prompted to save the network or not. If this is a temporary connection you can ignore this option.

  • If however you choose to use this network for more than just one occasion, then tick Save this network checkbox.
  • If also you decide to create a secure connection, you have two security options to select from,

WEP

WPA2-Personal

WEP for wired equivalent privacy, is the older of the two and was replaced by WPA in 2003, when security holes were discovered in its setup. WPA was fully adopted as WPA2 in 2004.

WPA2 is standard for most routers in the market and is extensively considered and preferred as the most secure option for wireless security.

  • You will also have a link to Network and Sharing Centre, which you can choose to follow, or you can just close the window.

  • Now that you have opted for WPA2 you can go ahead and fill in your password which should be anything between 8 and 64 characters or numbers.
  • Put a tick in the Save this network check box.
  • Windows will setup up your new network and will let you know that your network is ready to use. You will also be given the option to close the window.

To confirm that your network is now up and running, you can go back to the system tray and click once on the network icon. You should see the words Waiting for users under your network name.

That is confirmation that your network is now visible to either of your computers: Desktop or laptop.

Sharing files in adhoc network

When you select Network and Sharing Centre from the link above, or from the system tray, Windows will re-direct you to network information page.

From there you can access sharing options by clicking Change advanced sharing settings.

You can also manually configure sharing of folders and other features in your computer. To do this, right click a folder of your choice, and choose Properties. At the top of the next window, click the Sharing tab, and then click Advanced sharing in the next window. Finally, tick the checkbox for Share this folder in the final window.

Click Ok and your folder should be ready for sharing.

In order to confirm connectivity in the next computer, go to the system tray and click on the network icon. You should be able to see the network name you created in the first computer.

Click to connect.

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