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Can computers talk to a wireless AP using ad hoc?

Wireless expert Lisa Phifer explains how to use ad hoc to get computers to talk to one another, in this response.

Because of physical location and variable signal levels, I want to have one computer talk to a wireless AP (a router connected to a T1 link) and other computers talk to it via an ad hoc wireless connection. I assume the first computer would have to have two wireless adapters. Is this feasible?

Yes, this is possible and it does require the first computer to have two active wireless adapters. Adapter A would be associated infrastructure mode to your wireless router. Adapter B would be configured to accept ad hoc mode associations from other computers. Assuming that you are using Windows, the computer that contains these two adapters would be configured to share Adapter A's network connection. The easiest way to set this up is to just follow the Windows Network Setup wizard to share an Internet connection.

Note that you'll want to configure the ad hoc connection to use a different (non-overlapping) channel than your AP. For example, if your AP uses 802.11b/g Channel 1, configure the ad hoc to use 802.11b/g Channel 6 or 11. Whether you have control over channel assignment or not depends on the type of wireless adapter and client software that you use.

You didn't describe your physical topology, but I assume your challenge is that your wireless router and T1 link are too far from your wireless clients. You might want to consider using a wireless bridge or range extender instead of ad hoc connection sharing. Ad hoc connections are not always that reliable, and everything will depend on that one PC being up and running and actively connected and not otherwise busy. A wireless bridge (or range extender) is just a device built to do what I think you're trying to do, and it may give you more reliable results.

This was last published in May 2007

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