Ad hoc network

What is ad hoc network?
An ad hoc network is a network made up of individual devices that communicate directly with each other. The term implies a spontaneous or improvised construction as these networks often bypass the gatekeeping hardware or the central access point like a router. Many ad hoc networks are local area networks in which computers or other devices can exchange data directly with one another instead of going through a central access point.

The idea of an ad hoc network is often unknown to end users who have only seen small residential or business networks that use a typical router to send wireless signals to individual computers.

However, the ad hoc network is used quite often in new types of wireless technology, although until recently it was a rather esoteric idea. For example, an ad hoc mobile network includes mobile devices that communicate directly with each other. Another type of ad hoc network, the vehicle ad hoc network, involves placing communication devices in automobiles. Both are examples of ad hoc networks that use a large collection of individual devices to communicate freely without some kind of top-down hierarchical communication structure.

Experts point out that ad hoc networks can be cheaper for small local area networks because they require less hardware. However, others take the view that large numbers of devices can be difficult to manage without a larger, more concrete infrastructure. Tech leaders are looking for ways to enable more lively network functionality with these peer-to-peer networks.

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