How-To Geek

Ad Hoc Network

An ad hoc network is a decentralized wireless network. The term ad hoc, Latin for “for this purpose”, refers to the the non-dependence of the ad hoc network on pre-existing infrastructure such as a Wi-Fi access point, routers, or other physical network structures.

Instead, in an ad hoc network, each participating device communicates with all the other devices without any one device taking on the role as the router or controller of the exchanged data. Examples of such ad hoc arrangements include using an Ethernet cross-over cable to transfer files between two computers, or setting up a temporary Wi-Fi network between laptops in a conference room wherein each laptop operates in ad hoc mode and communicates with all the other laptops in the room.

Ad hoc networks are ideal for temporary networking (as seen in the examples above), and for situations where the greater infrastructure cannot be trusted (such as during a disaster or other emergency situation).

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