The steps for setting up an ad hoc network can vary depending on the operating systems (OSes) of the computers involved. Each operating system deals with networking in a slightly different way, though the general process will usually be somewhat similar for each. When setting up an ad hoc network using any of the common operating systems, one computer will typically be the main hub and the rest will connect to it. The process of setting up the network can begin with creating a new ad hoc Wi-Fi™ connection through the wireless settings control area of the main hub computer. Additional computers may then join the ad hoc network in much the same way they would with any other.
Setting up an ad hoc network can allow a local area network (LAN) to be created without a router. This may allow for the local sharing of files or printers, or for several computers to use one Internet access point. The computer that has a hard wired connection to the modem will typically be used for setting up an ad hoc network. In order to begin the process, the network settings of that computer must be accessed. Depending on the OS, these settings may be located under system preferences, a control panel, or another similar location.
Most common operating systems have the option to set up an ad hoc connection clearly marked in the network settings area. This option may be referred to as creating a network, setting up an ad hoc network, or another similar phrase. Regardless of what the option is called, it will have the ability to set up a wireless network for other computers to join. A variety of other options may also be available depending on the OS, such as the network name, wireless channel it should use, whether it should be encrypted, and if the Ethernet connection to the Internet should be shared.
After the main hub computer has an ad hoc network set up on it, other computers and devices should be able to detect it. Connecting to the network is typically the same as joining any router-based network, though it may have a different icon or some other way to identify that it is ad hoc. Once additional computers have connected, they will be able to become part of the ad hoc network and gain access to shared files, printers, or an Internet connection.