Why and when would you want to install a wireless adhoc network? Well you would want to install a wireless Ad HoC network when you do not have the equipment for a wired network; you lack a wireless router and want to share an internet connection, or a temporary meeting place where you need to share information.
The first type of set up will be if you do have an internet connection but you lack a wireless access point or a wireless router to share that connection. This could be a very common scenario at a business meeting or during a classroom study session.
First, each computer will need a wireless adapter. Next click the advance tab near the bottom right and click (computer to computer ad-hoc networks only). Second you will need to add your ad-hoc wireless network so click add. Fill in the network name (SSID) and choose WEP encryption. You will want to use WEP if are using older adapters and use WPA if you are sure all the computers on the ad-hoc wireless network can handle it. It is not a requirement to use encryption but just remember that anyone will be able to join your network.
Because we will want everyone to share our wired Ethernet connection you will need to enable ICS (Internet Connection Sharing) on the wired network adapter not the wireless adapter. This seems like common sense but I have seen many people trying to setup ICS on their wireless adapter. Just go to your network connections and right click the Ethernet connections and press the advanced tab. Check the box that says enable ICS. Once you have setup your ICS, go to every computer and configure their wireless adapter like you did the first one.
ICS will act as a DHCP server and assign private TCP/IP address to your ad-wireless network clients. Each computer will receive a TCP/IP address from 192.168.0.1 to 192.168.0.254. ICS will also tell the computers on the network the location of their default gateway which is the computer you set up ICS on.
Trouble shooting a wireless ad-hoc network can be a head ache. Make sure you set up the ICS computer and one client computer. You will want to check to make sure that the first client computer has the correct IP address so type CMD into the run box to bring up the command line. Next, type in ipconfig, you should see a number of 192.168.0.2 or something similar. Next type ping 192.168.0.1 or the number of your default gateway. If you can ping it you should see four reply messages.
Once you have the first two computers connected correctly, just go to all the other computers and configure the wireless adapters the same way. Other common mistakes are: leaving the firewalls on, wrong encryption and just general typos.
In my next article I will describe how to set up a wireless ad-hoc network with-out a wired LAN internet connection.