Connect 2 Wireless PCs with No Router

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Ted B. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I'm stumped! An elderly lady recently came into the shop and needed help with wireless networking (802.11) between her older Hewlett Packard computer (running Windows 98SE) and her XP notebook.

Unfortunately, we could not get the connections working. She had opted for a wireless network because she did not want to run a long cord from her bedroom to her living room to connect the two computers. The representative at the Motorola help-desk told me (several times) that we had to buy a router as a source point before the two computers could find each other. Having more money than patience, the elderly lady caved in an bought the wireless router ($50).

Do you know if it's possible to hook up two PCs using a wireless network without a router? Others tell me that fiddling with the 'ad-hoc' and 'direct connect to another computer' should get the two wireless machines to work without the router. What's the skinny? I personally use a crossover patch cable (not wireless) to connect two PCs together -- so why can't we do something similar with the wireless network? "

My response:

Admittedly, I am not very knowledgeable in this area as my network is not wireless (yet). However, from the little information that I've read concerning wireless connections, you do need a WAP (Wireless Access Point) when connecting more than 1 PC over a wireless network.

This would make sense to me, because (as you have stipulated): cross-over patch cables are fabricated in such a way as to bypass the need for a router. Cross-over cables are aptly named because the send and receive "link" in the cable has been switched, hence the term "cross-over".

There may be special software or a tweak you can use for 2 wireless PCs so that they don't need a WAP -- but none that I am aware of.

Help from Infopackets Readers?

If you know the answer to Ted's question, please send me your comments.

Update 2004/12/10: This article has been updated. Click here to read!

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