How can Wi-Fi Ad Hoc mode be enhanced?
The original 802.11 standard defined two modes of operation:
1) Ad hoc mode, where stations communicate directly with each other; and
2) Infrastructure mode, where all stations communicate through an access point which is attached to a distribution network like the Internet.
Although ad hoc mode is widely supported by Wi-Fi products, few businesses use it and some actually ban it. Ad hoc mode is most often used by individuals – for example, to copy shared files from one laptop to another in situations where no AP exists. However, the most common use is probably when a station attempts to connect to another station unintentionally advertising the SSID "Free Public WiFi" – even though neither station is actually connected to the Internet.
To provide an easier, more secure peer-to-peer communication alternative, the Wi-Fi Alliance recently defined Wi-Fi Direct. Even though it works very differently under the covers, Wi-Fi Direct effectively replaces ad hoc mode. For example, Wi-Fi Direct enables as-needed file sharing between two laptops – or between a camera and a laptop, or a laptop and a projector, etc. Just about any situation where you might have used ad hoc mode in the past, you'll probably be able to use Wi-Fi Direct instead.
What makes Wi-Fi Direct better? Unlike ad hoc mode, Wi-Fi Direct connections are inherently secure. When two devices decide to communicate with Wi-Fi Direct, they use Wi-Fi Protected Setup to turn on WPA2 security with an auto-generated key. Better yet, there's no configuration, because Wi-Fi Direct devices locate other nearby devices that offer desired services. Users don't have to figure out how devices will get IP addresses or route traffic or what Wi-Fi channels will be used. Those details are hidden from users, similar to the way that plug-and-play printers and media servers are found in wired networks today. To learn about Wi-Fi Direct, visit.
Dig Deeper on Wireless LAN (WLAN)
Related Q&A from Lisa Phifer
As the remote workforce increases, network managers and users might opt to set up two concurrent VPN connections from the same remote device. But ... Continue Reading
Is there a difference between a wireless access point vs. a router? Yes -- while the two wireless devices are related, they meet different needs in a... Continue Reading
Learn the differences between site-to-site VPNs vs. remote-access VPNs and find out about the protocols, benefits and the data security methods used ... Continue Reading