What if you wanted to share a single Internet connection, but want to share files, use the printer of another PC, send and receive instant messages, in other words -- in short, do pretty much everything you can do on a network -- but didn't have a router?
You could set up an ad hoc network, in which you can connect on a peer-to-peer basis with other computers and PDAs. You don't need any extra software; the capability is built right in XP.
All you need are WiFi-equipped PCs. To establish an ad hoc network, first one PC does the basic set-up and then the rest of the PCs connect to that ad hoc network.
- On the PC that's setting up the network, double-click the Wireless Network icon in the system tray.
- Click the Properties button, then click the Wireless Networks tab.
- Click the Add button and make sure you're on the Association tab.
- Type a name for your network in the SSID box.
- At the bottom of the screen, check the box next to "This is a computer-to-computer (ad hoc) network; wireless access points are not used."
- If you're not using encryption to protect the ad hoc network, choose Disabled from the "Data encryption" drop-down box.
- Click OK and then OK again. Your network is now set up.
About the author: Rahul Shah currently works at a software firm in India, where he is a systems administrator maintaining Windows servers. He has also worked for various software firms in testing and analytics, and also has experience deploying client/server applications in different Windows configurations.