How to Connect to Ad Hoc Network from Windows 8.1

Microsoft seems to have dropped the ball on this one folks. For some unknown-to-me reason, Windows 8 computers cannot detect an ad hoc network. This means that when I set up an ad hoc internet sharing network on my Windows 7 laptop so that I could share the laptop’s internet connection with a different laptop running Windows 8.1, it couldn’t be done. The main reason it wouldn’t work is because the ad hoc network I created does not show up under WiFi connections on the Windows 8.1 machine. I tried all sorts of things and only one finally worked, so I’ll share it with you below. For anyone following my series on developing a Smart Home, This is the method I used to network my smart home PC to other PCs in the house. The laptop used as a controller for the house was connected directly to the cable modem using an Ethernet cable. Then I created an ad hoc network on the same laptop that broadcasts the internet signal(shares its internet connection) to any other computer in the house that has wireless capability.

Instructions for using ad hoc with Windows 8.1

  1. ¬†First create your ad hoc connection from a computer that has a working internet connection that you want to share. FYI, Windows 7 starter does not have the ability to create ad hoc networks and won’t allow you to share internet connections in any way without doing some serious mods to your OS. It’s easier to use a PC that doesn’t have Windows 7 starter.
  2. Next, on the machine that you want to share with that’s running Windows 8.1 or similar, open the Control Panel and click on “Network and Sharing Center”.
  3. Click on “Set up a new connection or network”.
  4. Select “Manually connect to a wireless network” and click “Next”.
  5. In the “Network Name” field, enter the ssid name for the network you created on the other computer exactly how you entered the name when you created the ad hoc network.
  6. Select he appropriate security type and enter a security key if needed.
  7. Be sure that the box that reads “Start this connection automatically” is NOT CHECKED. I normally leave the other box unchecked as well.
  8. Click the “Next” button.
  9. Close that window and open a command prompt window which you can do by hitting the windows key then clicking on the search icon(magnifying glass) in the upper right corner of the screen then typing “cmd” and searching. Click on the command prompt option from the search results to open a new command prompt window.
  10. At the command prompt, type(without quotes):”netsh wlan connect [ssid]” replacing [ssid] with the ssid name of the ad hoc network you created on the other PC.
  11. Now your Windows 8.1 PC is all set up to use that single ad hoc network. Unfortunately you’ll have to repeat the above process for any other ad hoc networks you might want to use in the future. You’ll not have to do it again for the same network though. Finally, to connect, all you do it type this at the command prompt: “netsh connect [ssid]” without quotes and replacing [ssid] with the ad hoc network name.
  12. Now you are connected, so use it til done and when you want to disconnect, you can use “netsh wlan disconnect ” without quotes.
  13. If you ever wish to delete the ad hoc network from your Windows 8.1 computer, use this command from a command prompt: “netsh wlan delete profile [ssid] ” without quotes and replacing the ssid name and brackets with actual network name.

There you go! Now you can connect your Windows 8.1 machine to an ad hoc network. It’s really only about ten easy steps so don’t be intimidated by my long explanation. Simple do the above one step at a time and you’ll get it in no time at all. Good Luck!

Why Would You Use an Ad Hoc Network?

The reason I did this instead of using a WiFi wireless router was to save electricity. Since I had to have the main computer that controls the house running all the time anyway, I figured why not use it for a router too. I have effectively eliminated one small appliance which means saving about 10 watts of power continuously in my case.

Another reason could be that you simply do not have a wireless router. In my particular case, I fried mine last night by accidentally hooking 24 volts to the router instead of the required 12 volts. So this turned out to be a blessing in disguise because now I am able to save power on my Smart Home system and cut down on the number of wires as well.