According to Lifewire, an ad-hoc network differs from traditional wireless networks in that it is self-contained and does not rely on routers or wired connections. It’s temporary, which is its chief advantage.
What Are the Nuts and Bolts?
Computers equipped with the correct hardware can communicate with each other across an ad-hoc network. As an example, let’s say that four employees of a construction firm go to a job site where there is a progress snag. Further, let’s say it’s a fairly large site. The four employees can set up the ad-hoc network between their laptops and share data and communication within 100 feet of each other.
The big advantage there is that the employees won’t have to walk 100 feet back to their companions to discuss their findings. They can just take a photo with their laptop’s camera and instantly share it across the ad-hoc network. The same applies if they have Bluetooth® connections and can speak without having to shout over the din of a working construction site.
When they’re done fixing the snag, they can disconnect from one another, plan to meet for lunch later, and go back to work. There are no heavy routers to bring to the job site. There are no bulky cables. As the old British laundry ad used to say: Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy.
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Are There Security Issues?
Yes, there are security concerns. Attackers can easily join such a network. Because the network is temporary and set up on-the-fly, however, an attacker would either have to know the network was going up or would have to be “in the right place at the right time” to get in. It would be prudent, therefore, to have tough security software installed on all devices used in an ad-hoc network just in case.
If the group needs to access the internet for some reason, only one of the computers in the group must be connected. It can then share its internet connection with the other users of the group. This helps bolster the meager security by having only one “point of entry” into the network of linked devices. It’s far easier to defend a single network choke point than it is to defend every device if those devices were to connect to the internet themselves.
Are There Limitations?
Aside from the security issues, the chief limitation is that all of the members of the network would have to have accounts from the same domain to be able to use all of the sharing advantages. So, if the four people from our example were from different locations that used different accounts from each other, they wouldn’t be able to share on an ad-hoc network.
Ad-hoc networks are a useful tool for any company as long as the company realizes the limitations of such networks. The company must provide for beefed-up security and ensure any personnel it assigns to any certain task all stem from the same domain so that they can make best use of the network for the time it is in operation.