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The most daunting part of upgrading to Windows Vista may be trying to figure out where in the layers of menus the networking and file-sharing options are hidden.

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802.11b (WiFi) cards can communicate in two different modes:

  • "Ad Hoc"- For direct card-to-card communication.

  • "Infrastructure" - For communication through an Access Point.  [see this page]

NOTE: Some cards also provide an 802.11 Ad-Hoc mode. This really isn't just there to confuse you, but to accomodate the fact that there are different implementations of "Ad Hoc" networking supported by different manufacturers:

802.11 Ad-Hoc is the newer implemenation and requires cards to be set both to the same channel and have the same ESSID in order to communicate.

Ad-Hoc is an older implemenation and requires only that cards be set to the same channel and ignores the ESSID setting.

We recommend that you use the "802.11 Ad-Hoc" setting if your cards provide it, since it's slightly more secure.

If you are trying to set up a network of all wireless devices and do not have an "Access Point" to connect the wireless network into an Ethernet network, you will need to set your cards to operate in "AdHoc" mode. 

When you install your client cards, set the wireless Properties as follows:

1) Channel
Set your card to any channel.  But all computers that need to communicate need to be set to the same channel number.

2) Mode (or Network Type)
Set to 802.11 Ad-Hoc (or AdHoc if that's your only choice).

3) SSID (or ESSID [Extended Service Set IDentifier])
You may choose any code (subject to the rules and limiations of your driver software), but use the same code for all cards that need to communicate.
NOTE: This is not the same as the BSSID (Basic Service Set IDentifier), which is usually based on the MAC address of the card.

4) Encryption (or WEP)
Set to disable.  You can set this up after you get your connection working.  See this page for help.

If you've set all the above wireless Properties correctly and can't get a connection, check your TCP/IP properties.  If you have a DHCP server available on one of the wireless LAN clients, you can use it.  Just set the wireless card's TCP/IP properties to obtain IP info from a DHCP server (or obtain info automatically).  Be sure that there is no gateway info entered and that DNS is disabled.  Sometimes doing a manual Release All / Renew using either winipcfg or ipconfig will get things working, even after a reboot.

If you don't have a DHCP server available, you'll need to set your TCP/IP properties manually.  If this is a brand-new network, the Client setup instructions on this page should work.  The most important thing is that you have the IP address of each card set to a unique number in the same "Class C" subnet

Example: If you choose to use the  192.168.0.X subnet, make sure your client cards are each set to a different IP address such as,, etc.  Use a subnet mask of

Use ping to test to see if you have a connection. Earthweb HardwareCentral earthwebdeveloper CrossNodes Datamation

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