What is an Ad Hoc Network and How Does it Function?

What is an Ad Hoc Network and How Does it Function?

Enterprise Networking Mag | Tuesday, October 26, 2021

In a wireless ad hoc network, network activities such as routing, security, addressing, and key management are handled by a collection of devices known as nodes.

FREMONT, CA: A wireless ad hoc network or WANET is a kind of local area network (LAN) created on the fly to connect two or more wireless devices without using traditional network infrastructure equipment like an access point or wireless router. When Wi-Fi networks are in ad hoc form, every device in the network passes data to other devices that is not meant for it.

Central servers are unnecessary for functions like file sharing and printing because the devices in the ad hoc network may access each other's resources directly through a basic peer-to-peer (P2P) wireless connection. In a WANET, network activities such as routing, security, addressing, and key management are handled by a collection of devices known as nodes.

Wireless network adapters or chips are required for an ad hoc network device, and they must be able to operate as a wireless router when connected. Each wireless adapter should be configured for ad hoc mode rather than infrastructure mode when setting up a wireless ad hoc network. The service set identification (SSID) and wireless frequency channel number must be the same on all wireless adapters.

Specific nodes in ad hoc networks forward packets back and forth rather than depend on a wireless base station to regulate the flow of communications to each node in the network. Ad hoc wireless networks are beneficial when there is no built-in wireless structure, such as when there are no access points or routers within range, and cabling cannot be extended to reach the site where more wireless communication is required.

Not all Wi-Fi networks, however, are created equal. In actuality, Wi-Fi access points can operate in two modes: ad hoc and infrastructure. Equipment like wireless access points (WAPs), Wi-Fi routers, and wireless controllers are commonly used to construct and administer Wi-Fi networks in infrastructure mode. Ad hoc networks are networks that are built on the fly by a laptop or other device. Ad hoc networks typically do not benefit from the usage of more sophisticated network protocols and network services offered in infrastructure-based wireless networks.

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