Do ad-hoc networks support more than 2 laptops? I ask as I have problems adding a third laptop to a WEP-protected ad-hoc network. The network is found on the third laptop but it thinks the network is not protected. It doesn't ask for a WEP key but simply tries to connect which doesn't work of course. All laptops run Windows XP and there is no problem to create an ad-hoc network between two laptops. Before I go on trying to figure out what's wrong I would like to know if WEP-protected ad-hoc networks support more than 2 laptops at all?
Yes. The maximum number of clients in an ad-hoc network is 9 clients.
Yes, they should. The usual problem is the nature of the WEP key. Use Hex instead of ASCII and it will probably work. The problem is the ASCII to Hex conversion. My guess(tm) is the client that isn't asking for a WEP key has one already configured into the Windoze client software. It's not working and Windoze is waiting far too long to ask for a WEP key that works.
Thanks for your reply, Jeff! The software I use on that third laptop is called Broadcom Wireless Utility (from
There is a scan-button to search for networks. When I click on this button I find the ad-hoc network but the found network is said to be unprotected. Only when the other client is not connected to the ad-hoc network it understands that the network is indeed WEP-protected.
What do you mean with already configured WEP key? Similar to Windows XP Zero Configuration I can chose a network in a list of available networks in the Broadcom Wireless Utility. When I connect to the ad-hoc network I am asked to enter the WEP key. This works perfectly but only when the other client is switched off and doesn't use the ad-hoc network already.
Your guess is right that I had to change the WEP key to Hex already. With a Hex key both clients can connect to the host - however only one at a time. Whenever the other client is using the ad-hoc network the third laptop doesn't understand that the ad-hoc network is actually protected.
For what it's worth I could change from WEP to WPA/TKIP. However I had already a problem setting up the Windows XP host as it didn't show any network when I switched to WPA/TKIP. If I can't get WEP to work I might give WPA/TKIP however another try.
Questions 1.Were you able to set up a network without any encryption? 2.Did you assign each of computers a different static IP within the same subnet (from what I remember you will have no DHCP server in your ad-hoc network)?
Boris wrote: Snip.....................................................
This has confused me."Zero Config to set up ICS"?
Since you have managed to get 2 laptops to talk to each other is it possible that both of the clients have been alloocated the same IP? Have you tried doing ipconfig /release ipconfig /renew on both clients to see if this makes any difference?
Here's some more information: The host is indeed used for ICS (I used Windows XP Zero Configuration to set up ICS with DHCP). Everything's working fine as long as only one laptop connects. It gets a 192.168.0.x IP assigned and can browse the Internet. Problems start when another laptop wants to connect to the host. I don't expect DHCP to cause any problems as it should assign another 192.168.0.y IP to the third laptop?
Regarding Rob's first question: I didn't try yet to set up the network without encryption. I will try next when the third laptop is available again (hopefully tomorrow).
The third laptop is trying for quite a long time to log into the network. After some time it says it is connected. But when I check the IP it is in another range than 192.168 (and has no gateway nor DNS).
I tried to repair the connection by clicking on the repair-button in the property window of the wireless connection. It doesn't help though. In my humble opinion the problems are caused by something else. The Broadcom Wireless Utility on the third laptop scans the area to find networks and creates a list of found networks including their properties. In this list the ad-hoc network here is said to be unprotected. This is before I even start to connect to the network.
Some more details: On the host (Realtek RTL8139C) I used Windows XP Zero Configuration to set up the ad-hoc network (and ICS with DHCP). On the clients I used both Windows XP Zero Configuration and a software from the wireless card producers (one is Broadcom, the other one KCorp) but neither worked. On the third laptop both Windows XP Zero Configuration and the wireless utilities think the network is unprotected.
I wait until I have the third laptop again (might take a few days) and try then to connect all of the laptops without any encryption. However what could be the reason that the third laptop thinks the network is unprotected even before I try to connect? I don't know anything about the protocols in an ad-hoc network. But is it possible that Windows XP Zero Configuration "closes" the ad-hoc network after one client is connected (by sending false information to other clients)?
Its failing to get an IP from the DHCP server, I forget the IP, but Windows will default to some IP (not one of the private network ranges) if it thinks it is on a network and fails to get a proper responce from thr DHCLReq signal it sends.
First thing I would do is turn off all security on the LAN and see if I can just get everything 'talking'. For this I would disconnect the PC that is actually connected to the Internet. Again all we are doing here is trying to ensure everything on the LAN can see each other and such, then start one thing at a time adding complexity. First addition (once all three can see each other) is reconnect the 'server' to the Internet. (are all these conputers in the same Workgroup and or Domain or does that even come up in XP home edition?). Once all three see the internet, then add the Wireless security one computer at a time.
One other thing to do, check on the HP site and make sure your actual Wireless driver is up-to-date. The utility you are using to configure it is well over 1 year old. Perhaps there is a new driver for your chipset for the wireless 'card'. I also have an HP with Broadcom wireless, and in less then a year have seen two driver updates.
Thanks for all of your help but the problem has disappeared after the third laptop broke down ... It will take some time to fix it (looks like a harddisc crash). When I get the chance again to setup the ad-hoc network with more than 2 laptops I'll be back.