The 802.11 standard defines two modes of operation: Infrastructure mode, where all stations communicate through...
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive emails regarding relevant topic offers from TechTarget and its partners. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact TechTarget at 275 Grove Street, Newton, MA.
an access point, and ad-hoc mode, where stations communicate directly without the help of an intermediary. Ad-hoc mode can be useful for temporary peer-to-peer applications, such as when two laptop users want to exchange files over Wi-Fi.
Most businesses discourage use of ad-hoc mode because they prefer to enforce corporate security policy at the access point and gateway or switch connected to the access point. Users that communicate directly over ad-hoc mode essentially bypass those security measures. Ad-hoc mode can even be used as an attack method. For example, a Windows XP PC that previously associated to an access point with a given name (SSID) can be tricked into automatically re-associating in Ad-hoc mode to an attacker's laptop that advertises that SSID. You avoid this attack by configuring XP (or any other wireless client software) to associate to preferred SSIDs in infrastructure mode only.
On the other hand, several vendors are now using ad-hoc mode as the foundation for building wireless mesh networks. Mesh networks have many applications, including outdoor metropolitan networks and mobile ad-hoc networks (MANETs). To learn more about Ad-hoc mode and its use in mesh networks, visit this NIST resource page. A standard for mesh networks is now under development, designated IEEE 802.11s.
In short, ad-hoc mode has many constructive uses, but unless you have a specific reason for enabling, your safest best today is to disable ad-hoc mode to prevent unwanted or risky associations.
Dig Deeper on Troubleshooting Wireless Networks
Related Q&A from Lisa Phifer
Need to send an email, check your flight's status or get ready for a presentation? You can do it all on your smartwatch, thanks to a slew of Apple ...continue reading
New and improved management features have made Android devices more suitable for enterprise use, and API and EMM tools can streamline the device ...continue reading
Whether you need a basic open source mobile device management tool for your company's Apple or Android devices, or something more customized, you ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.