How to Connect Two Computers or Laptops Wirelessly


Setting Up an ad hoc Network

To get started, open the Control Panel and click on Network and Sharing Center

network-sharing-centerOn the next dialog, click on the Setup a new connection or network link towards the bottom.

setup-new-connectionIn the new connection dialog, scroll down till you see the Setup a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network option.
setup-wireless-ad-hoc

On the next screen, it will explain what a ad hoc wireless network is and will let you know that if you’re currently connected to a wireless network, you’ll probably get disconnected. Go ahead and click Next.

new-ad-hoc-network

Now you have to give the network a name, choose a security type and give it a security key. For the security key, you can choose from only three options: no authentication, WEP or WPA2-Personal. The default is WPA2-Personal, which is the strongest. Click next and then you’ll get a screen showing you that the network has been setup. Note that if you don’t check the Save this network box, once you disconnect from the ad hoc network, it will simply disappear. If you want to use it again, you’ll have to start from scratch.

open your list of wireless networks and you should see your newly created one listed along with the rest of the wireless networks. Click on it to connect

Share Data Across ad hoc Network

Now that you got the ad hoc network setup, go ahead and have the other clients connect to the network. Note that the wireless icon may continue to show that blue spinning circle icon even though the computer is connected to the ad hoc network. That is because it’s also trying to connect to the Internet, which it obviously won’t be able to do since it’s just a peer network.

At this point, you have several ways to share data between the computers. Let’s break it down based on the different scenarios.

– If the computers are all running Windows 7 and higher, you can use the homegroup feature that is built right into Windows. It lets you share music, videos, documents, pictures and printers easily.

– If all computers are running Windows, but there are also Windows XP or Windows Vista clients, then you have to join all the computers to the same workgroup and make sure that the network discovery and file and printer sharing are enabled.

– If the computers are a mix of operating systems like Windows and Mac, then you need to rely on just file sharing and permissions. The most important things here are making sure the user account in Windows has a password (otherwise you can’t connect to a file share) and enabling file sharing on the non-Windows operating systems correctly.

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