Home > Knowledgebase > Can I connect two computers together using two WiFi adaptors? 21 Aug 2017
Can I connect two computers together using two WiFi adaptors?
Yes - you can connect two WiFi devices in Ad-hoc mode.


Ad-hoc mode is an inexpensive way to connect two computers together wirelessly, so they can share files and a broadband connection without the need for a router. While it is a cheaper solution than getting a router, it is not without its drawbacks. The main one really is that the host computer - i.e. the one with the modem attached - must be on and connected to the Internet for you to browse the web with the other computer. This isn't the case when you have a router - the router controls the connection, rather than any one computer.

There are a few steps to this process -
  1. Getting the appropriate WiFi adaptors for your two computers
  2. Installing the WiFi adaptors
  3. Configuring the WiFi adaptors to "see" each other
  4. Setting up Windows Internet Connection Sharing on the computer that the modem is connected to (the ICS server)
  5. Configuring the second computer (the client) to connect to the first

Getting the appropriate WiFi adaptors for your two computers

You need a WiFi network adaptor for each of your two computers - if you're not sure what you might need, consult this guide here - WiFi adaptor guide.
Please note - if you're using any version of Windows lower than Windows 98 SE, look carefully at the WiFi adaptor requirements - many adaptors require Windows 98 SE or better.


Installing the WiFi adaptors

Install your WiFi adaptors - the instructions will accompany each card. Typically, for USB adaptors, plug in the adaptor to a free USB port on the computer, then install the drivers when prompted. For PCMCIA cards, insert the card into a free slot in the laptop, and install the drivers when prompted. For PCI cards, power off the computer, open the case, inset the card into a free PCI slot, close the case, and power on the machine. Install the drivers when prompted.


Configuring the WiFi adaptors to "see" each other

After installation is complete, go into the network card properties and set the SSID to something unique. Make sure to set the SSID to the same value on each machine. If you don't, the network will not work properly.

Go into the network card properties and set a channel for the wireless network to use. Make sure you set the channel to the same number on each machine. If you don't have the same channel set, the network will not work properly.

Set the network cards to run in "ad-hoc" mode, instead of infrastructure.


Setting up Windows Internet Connection Sharing on the computer that the modem is connected to (the ICS Server)

Windows Internet Connection Sharing is really easy to set up on Windows XP - there is a wizard available at Start > Programs > Accessories > Communications > Network Setup Wizard. Go to the host machine and start this wizard, following each step. If you don't have Windows XP, you'll have to do it manually. See this guide for detailed instructions for each version of Windows - http://www.practicallynetworked.com/sharing/


Configuring the second computer (the client) to connect to the first

If you're using Windows XP on the client computer, again got to Start > Programs > Accessories > Communications > Network Setup Wizard. Specify This computer connects to the Internet through another computer (the ICS server), and click Next. If the computer has more than one network connection, this screen appears. Specify Let me choose the connections to my network and click Next. Select the WiFi connection to the ICS server. Go through the rest of the wizard, accepting the defaults. If you don't have Windows XP, you'll have to do it manually. See this guide for detailed instructions for each version of Windows - http://www.practicallynetworked.com/sharing/


You should now be able to connect to the web with the second (client) machine, but remember - the first machine needs to be on and connected to the web for this to happen.
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Additional Information
Article ID: 68
Author: Caroline Swords
Created On: 15 Nov 2005
Edited On: 03 May 2007
Edited By: Caroline Swords
Views: 13748

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