During Chinese New Year, I needed to connect 2 laptops together to transfer some files over to another laptop but unfortunately there are no wireless router or cross link network cable. If there is a wireless router, all I need is the wireless encryption password or if I had a cross link cable, manually setting up the IP address and subnet mask will do. Luckily I could still remember the steps on how to share internet connection in XP without wireless router but this time I had Windows Vista.
Other than able to connect to each other and access shared files, it is also possible to share internet connection. I hate to use Windows Vista but for the first time I am impressed on how easy it is to connect 2 or more computers together using ad hoc wireless network in Windows Vista. So if you have a mixture of XP and Vista computers that you want to share files or internet connection without a wireless router, I’d suggest you to set up the Vista computer as the server to share the internet and the rest can act as clients to connect to the Vista computer.
Here’s how you do it. First, let’s configure the host computer running Vista that will act as a wireless access point.
1. Right click the small icon that shows 2 computers at the notification area and select Network and Sharing Center.
2. At the left hand Tasks pane, select “Set up a connection or network“
3. Choose “Set up a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network” and click Next.
4. You will now see a window that says “An ad hoc network (sometimes called a computer-to-computer network) is a temporary network used for sharing files, presentations, or an Internet connection among multiple computers and devices. Computers and devices in ad hoc networks must be within 30 feet of each other. If you’re currently connected to a wireless network, you might be disconnected when you set up this network.” Click Next.
5. Enter any network name, select a security type and enter a security key or passphrase. (I use ray-temp-network as network name, WEP for security type and password 12345) Click Next. It is optional to check “Save this network” to save it as wireless network profile. If not, you’ll need to recreate it again the next time after a reboot.
6. Wait for Windows Vista to set up the temporary ad-hoc network. Once it has finished setting up, it’ll tell you that the network is ready to use. If you want to share internet connection, click “Turn on Internet connection sharing” located at the bottom of the window.
That’s all you need to do on the HOST computer. As you can see, the wizard makes it so easy on how to set up an ad-hoc wireless network in Vista. To connect another laptop whether it is running Windows XP or Vista, open up your Wireless Network Connection to scan for the ad-hoc connection. The network name that you configured at step 5 above should show up in the list. I will show you an example on how I use another Vista computer to connect to the host computer.
1. Right click the small icon that shows 2 computers at the notification area and select Connect to a network.
2. Select the network ray-temp-network and click Connect. If you’re prompted that the network you’re trying to connect is an unsecured network, just select “Connect Anyway“.
3. Enter the security key/passphrase as 12345 (or the one which you enter at step 5 when setting up the HOST) and click Connect.
You should see a message that says “Successfully connected to [Your Network Name]“. Click Close and you can start using the Internet and also access the shared files on the other computer that is connected to the ad-hoc network. Remember, the computers must be within 30 feet (9 meters) or else you will get very unstable or no connection at all.