Home / 🌐Internet / 📡 Networks / Ad Hoc Network What is this type of wireless network and how does it work?

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At the computer level, a network refers to the interconnection, by means of devices, of a certain number of computers or networks, worth the redundancy. Which, through electronic impulses, electromagnetic waves or other physical means, have the capacity to send and receive data packets, share their resources and operate as an organized whole .

Thus, a wireless network is one that connects nodes by means of electromagnetic waves , without the need for a physical or wired connection. Taking into account that, one of the most known and used in different fields, are the Ad-Hoc networks that, basically, are a decentralized wireless network that supports the access to the different nodes in a direct way and, thanks to that, it reveals important advantages for the users.

Therefore, due to its remarkable importance, it is worth knowing the most interesting aspects of an Ad-Hoc network, in order to specify what they are for . In addition to this, we will also indicate which are its main particularities and utilities, as well as its most interesting components, benefits and disadvantages .


What is an Ad-Hoc Wireless Network and what is it for?

Basically, an Ad-Hoc wireless network is a type of decentralized network that is characterized by being point to point and thus, its nodes can communicate with each other independently of a fixed infrastructure. In other words, is not subject to any pre-existing infrastructure , such as wired networks (or routers ) or access points in managed wireless networks.

In this sense, within an Ad-Hoc network, each node is responsible for participating in the routing by forwarding data to other nodes and, therefore, the determination of these nodes towards the data is done dynamically on the basis of the connectivity of the network in question. Consequently, all nodes have the same status within the network and are free to link to any other Ad-Hoc network device in the link range .

Therefore, as there is no structure for this, it is not necessary to have a router or an access point to carry out the communication between the sending of data and the reception of the same by the nodes that exist. Rather, the same components of the Ad-Hoc network are responsible for communicating with each other to dynamically transmit information .

That is why, mainly, this type of network is used for domestic environments where the least possible complexity of installation is preferred. They also work perfectly for sharing a certain file between different computers or devices belonging to the wireless network and without access to the Internet , and can also be implemented in circumstances of civil or natural emergencies.

What are the main characteristics of an AD HOC network?

However, to know more about this type of decentralized wireless networks in order to manage them correctly, it is extremely relevant to point out their most valuable characteristics.

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Next, we proceed to mention each of them:

  • They are networks based on a system known as “Ad-Hoc mode” , which is notable for allowing nodes to move freely and thus, do not depend on a central domain established. Therefore, the node may act as a host or as a router, depending on the transmission range of each of those present in the network.
  • It is possible to connect more than one laptop to an Ad-Hoc network , provided that all adapter cards are configured for Ad-Hoc mode and linked to it SSID . Considering also that, the equipment must be located less than 100 meters from each other.
  • In an Ad-Hoc network, there will always be an absence of infrastructure . This means that, no centralised entity or structure will be found, because the devices can play the role of host or router at any time.
  • They stand out for presenting a variable topology and therefore, the nodes have the possibility to move and constitute new links with other nodes belonging to their coverage area, basically.
  • With regard to its autonomy, it should be distinguished that is limited . This is due to the portability of its devices which are restricted with respect to battery life.
  • As the existing nodes are mobile, it is frequent to break links and thus, variations or changes of routes are originated.

AD HOC Network vs. Standard WiFi Which is better and how do they differ?

Although it is true, many people wonder what are the dissimilarities between the Ad-Hoc mode and a conventional WiFi network which refers to a technology that allows the wireless interconnection of electronic devices. For this reason, it is important to specify the differences that exist between both types of networks and, with this, according to the requirements of each user, to define which is the best:


As we have emphasized throughout the post, the Ad-Hoc mode does not require a centralized access point and therefore is characterized as a decentralized wireless network. Consequently, it is the devices that are connected to each other to achieve data transport over the network in question, so they do not depend on a central router.

In contrast, standard WiFi technology usually operates in infrastructure mode. In other words, communication between all the devices in a network must be carried out from an access point, which is generally the wireless router . Thus, they are networks based on a pre-established infrastructure in wired network hopping connections. Therefore, unlike the AD HOC mode, in this case communication is carried out indirectly via the wireless access point to send and receive data packets.


Generally, Ad-Hoc networks are easier to set up . If you need to link devices together to transfer files without using the Internet, these devices can be connected directly in Ad-Hoc mode to form a temporary WiFi network , without the need for a wireless router.

On the other hand, the WiFi Standard needs a more advanced configuration , as these types of networks are ideal for creating a permanent network . Taking into account that, wireless routers will work as an access point thanks to their higher power wireless antennas and radios that manage to cover a wider area.

Other differences

AD HOC Network WiFi Standard These networks have the ability to handle dynamic topology changes, No built-in encryption or securityOffers high security and encryption in the protocolBefore data traffic, no additional frames need to be exchangedMust exchange several frames before data trafficNo built-in service discoveryService discovery is always part of the protocol

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Which one is better?

In order to determine the best wireless network between Ad-Hoc mode and WiFi Standard, it all depends on the type of usage . In other words, it will be the user’s needs that will define which kind of network is more suitable to achieve its purpose.

Therefore, if you need to transport data between several computers easily and quickly without having to use the Internet or use a central router to transfer the data, it is best to use an Ad-Hoc type network . But, in case you need to create a permanent and more advanced network, it is recommended to access a conventional WiFi network to do so.

AD HOC uses What are the main applications of this type of network?

Due to their decentralized nature, Ad-Hoc networks are competent for a variety of applications where the central nodes are not required, even though they are critical for optimizing the scalability of centralized and managed wireless networks.

The main uses and/or applications of this kind of wireless network are listed below :

  • These are very useful networks for sharing files or any kind of data with several computers simultaneously , directly, without the need for the computer to have access to a WiFi network.
  • They also apply to sharing the Internet connection from one computer to another , easily and quickly.
  • They have optimal training for any emergency situation , such as: natural disasters or armed conflicts . Since, its configuration is minimal and its deployment is dynamic, since the routing protocols can be set up quickly.
  • Its application in the domestic environment is really important and, nowadays, it is very well managed. For example, for the transfer of information between mobile devices via Bluetooth or between other devices (such as printers).
  • It is an ideal mechanism for sending files to another computer directly, when memory cards or other removable media are not available .
  • AD HOC networks can be used to participate in multiplayer network games , i.e. in teams with multiplayer games.

What does it take to create an AD HOC network? Main components

However, as its configuration is totally simple and its temporary creation can be carried out by any user, it is valuable to know which are all and each one of the components needed to elaborate an Ad-Hoc network easily . Therefore, at this point, we proceed to mention those elements that you should have when building a decentralized wireless network:

  • Network Interface Card : Each node needs to have these cards in order to access the support of the specific wired network scheme.
  • Wireless network cards : Are required to create an Ad-Hoc network, in any case; so that they can be connected to each other.
  • Workstations : Basically, these are computers or mobile devices that, within such a network, are known as “network nodes”.
  • Shared resources : Refers to the different peripherals needed to share the resources you want; this being the main purpose of an Ad-Hoc network. A clear example of this is a printer.

Again, it is valuable to distinguish that, for this type of configuration, an access point should not be used .

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Advantages and Limitations of AD HOC How convenient is it to install?

Finally, in order to define how appropriate it is to create and install an Ad-Hoc network, one of the most important aspects to know are its main advantages and disadvantages . Taking into account that, from each of them, you will know clearly if you require a system of this type in your home or in your workplace, for example.

Main benefits

Because of the benefits that Ad-Hoc networks exhibit for their users, of course, there are valuable advantages to be considered when wanting to build a network of this kind:

  • Fortunately, is very easy to set up and so only each node needs to be configured. It is very simple and some operating systems offer the possibility to configure each computer in a few steps. Like Windows, for example.
  • By using such a network, files and data can be shared quickly , as all equipment will be kept directly interconnected and does not require a central administration process. In other words, it does not need an intermediary.
  • An Internet connection is not required to be able to transfer information between devices directly.
  • It is also an ideal mechanism to share the Internet connection with other computers and thanks to that, with very few resources, you can get some computer to work as a modem for the other machines in use.
  • They are much cheaper than other managed networks . This is because there are no additional costs such as cabling to establish the connection to the central router.

Main limitations

However, not everything can be perfect and these kinds of networks also reveal some limitations, disadvantages or cons that are significant to take into account before creating and using them.

Below we point out these disadvantages:

  • In this type of network, the security is completely reduced . This is due to the fact that all the nodes are connected to each other and if an intruder manages to gain access to any of these nodes, he will be able to penetrate all the equipment that make up the Ad-Hoc network.
  • It is mandatory that all teams remain within the coverage area of the others in order to establish communication with them. Otherwise, the process will not be satisfactory.
  • Since the nodes are interrelated, as long as one of them is disconnected, the whole network, or at least part of it made up of those nodes that are within reach of the one that was disconnected, will be disarmed.
  • In general, nodes compete to enter the shared wireless environment and such competition results in collisions or interference that is basically caused by the transmission of two or more nodes simultaneously.
  • If the network cards used are not compatible , it will be impossible to carry out the connection in Ad-Hoc mode. You must therefore ensure that compatibility exists.
  • Just as there is little security in this type of network, there is also a very slow speed, in most cases . Therefore, it is a kind of network that is not completely efficient.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and for sure it will be of a great help for other members of the community. Thank you! 😉


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