Ad Hoc Network

An ad hoc network is a temporary network created between two devices without utilizing any other networking infrastructure. These networks exist for a single session, often for a specific purpose like transferring files or sharing an Internet connection. Ad hoc networks do not require a router or wireless access point. Instead, the devices themselves route network traffic.

Ad hoc networks are often direct peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connections created between two computers or mobile devices. However, these networks are not limited to two devices. For example, a smartphone can also create an ad hoc wireless network to serve as a mobile hotspot to share its Internet connection. Multiple devices can connect to a wireless ad hoc network, though performance may degrade as additional devices are added.

"Ad Hoc" is a Latin phrase that means "for this purpose."

Wired networks may also be considered ad hoc. A temporary network can be established between two computers using a single Ethernet cable. Two computers with Thunderbolt ports can use a Thunderbolt cable to establish a temporary connection.

NOTE: Ad hoc networks generally use a low level of security, so it's best to only use them temporarily.

Updated February 6, 2023 by Brian P.
Reviewed by Per C.

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