Ad Hoc Network Meaning & Definition

An ad hoc network is a network connection established for a single session and doesn’t require a router or wireless base station. An ad hoc network is a temporary type of Wireless Local Area Network (LAN). If the ad hoc network is set up permanently, it becomes a permanent wireless LAN.

Ad hoc is a latin term that means ‘to this.’ In English, the term is generally used to describe a solution designed for a specific problem or task and not to be used for any other purposes. An ad hoc network is spontaneously formed when devices connect and communicate with each other. The connection is temporary, and the two devices communicate through a wireless card.

For example, if someone needs to transfer a file to their coworker, but the coworker doesn’t have access to a safe Wi-Fi connection, they can create an ad hoc network instead as long as the device is within 100 meters. From this point, the files are transferred to the coworker. The connection between the two devices will end when the hosting device ends the sessions.

Multiple devices can use an ad hoc network at the same time, but performance may lag. Users can also use an ad hoc network to access the internet. An ad hoc network may also be referred to as ad hoc mode.

Types of ad hoc networks

Depending on the nature of the application, ad hoc networks are classified into different types:

  • Mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs): A self-configuring, self-organizing wireless network of mobile devices.
  • Vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs): A network formed by communication between moving vehicles and other roadside devices.
  • Wireless mesh networks: A network in which the devices connected to it form a wireless mesh, depending on mobility patterns, nature of the device, and the device’s distance from one another.
  • Smart Phone ad hoc networks (SPANs): peer-to-peer networks created by smartphones that are within range of each other without requiring cellular carrier networks.
  • Wireless sensor networks (WSN): A group of dispersed sensors to monitor and record physical conditions of the environment. A WSN is typically used to monitor conditions such as temperature, sound, vibration, pressure, or pollutants.

How to set up an ad hoc network

Follow these steps to set up an ad hoc network in Windows 7, 8, 10, or Mac OS.

Windows 8 or 10

  1. Go through the Command Prompt and type the following: netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=[your desired network name] key =[your desired password].
  2. Start the hosted network by inputting the following into Command Prompt: netsh wlan start hostednetwork.
  3. In your Control Panel, open Network and Sharing Center.
  4. Click on Network Connections.
  5. Click on Change Advanced Sharing Center.
  6. Turn on Network Discovery.
  7. Click OK.

Windows 7

  1. Click on the Start menu.
  2. Click Connect To.
  3. Then Set up a connection or network.
  4. Choose Set up a wireless ad-hoc (computer-to-computer) network.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Enter the network details, like the SSID and the password.
  7. Click Next.

Mac OS

  1. Pick Create Network from AirPort.
  2. Click on Create a Computer-to-Computer Network.
  3. Follow the on-screen prompts.


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Abby Dykes
Abby Dykes
Abby Dykes is a newly-graduated writer and editor for websites such as,, and When she’s not writing about technology, she enjoys giving too many treats to her dog and coaching part-time at her local gym.

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