Ad hoc wireless networks, also known as peer networks, consist of computer-to-computer connected devices called nodes. These devices connect to one another without a central device like a router. They represent a local area network (LAN) that requires minimal configuration and can be deployed quickly. The wireless adapter must have the same service set identifier (SSID), be on the same wireless channel, and set to ad hoc mode versus the more traditional infrastructure mode. Infrastructure mode is used when a central device is in place, such as a server or a router.
This configuration is useful to share files or other data directly with another computer. However, this type of network is not best for excessive connections. Devices must usually be within 100 meters, and the network cannot be joined to wired LANs or the internet without a special-purpose network gateway. Due to the SSID being broadcasted and lack of network access control lists, hackers can generally find and connect to the device with ease as long as they are within range. Thus, they are inherently more vulnerable.
When the creator of the network disconnects, the other devices on the network will disconnect as well. Once everyone disconnects, the network is deleted.