By Rich Robinson for Windows Guides
Ad-Hoc or Hotspot, and what is Tethering anyway?
Ad-Hoc, Hotspot, Tethering, three words you keep seeing. Three expressions everyone but you seem to know what is. In one of my more popular articles here on mintywhite we deal with setting up your Windows 7 computer as a Wi-Fi Hotspot. In the comments, one of our readers (who probably felt a bit awkward) asked if a HotSpot is the same thing as an Ad-Hoc. Hmm… Let’s explore this topic. After you read this, you might want to tell me to change the name of the before mentioned article to: “Set Windows 7 as WiFi Ad-Hoc” but I’ll explain a bit further down, why I chose the word HotSpot.
The short answer
The short answer is (in the words of Aerosmith): Hotspot is like Ad-Hoc, but not quite. Okay Aerosmith never said it like that, but if you know which song I’m referring too, leave your answer in the comment. HotSpot and Ad-Hoc can both be used to share your internet connection, and in some respect they are two of the same. They differ in what they are intended for.
The slightly longer answer
First, let me try to define what an Ad-Hoc and a HotSpot is:
Generally speaking, a HotSpot is what you are using when accessing Internet when you’re at a Café or a Hotel. Usually you need a username and/or password to log on through a web-Portal to be able to connect to the Internet. HotSpot requires a Wi-Fi connection and works like your Wi-Fi Network at home. The HotSpot will normally only allow you to use the Internet. Not interact with other computers or gadgets using the same HotSpot.
The Ad-Hoc is a wireless network without the need of a big Server, or a Router. A Router is preferable the easiest way to go, but you are able to do without. Ad-Hoc rely on each computers Wi-Fi Card to set up and Connect to other computers through one of the other, which for the sake of argument, is the Server (or main Computer). If this Computer has a Wireless Internet (USB modem etc.) then the Ad-Hoc Network can share the Internet Connection as well.
If you have multiple computers in your household, and all are running Windows 7, you might be using an Ad-Hoc Network already, otherwise known as HomeGroup. The Ad-Hoc gives you much of the same functionality you would come to expect from a wired network, like Printer- and Filesharing.
This excerpt appears with the permission of Windows Guides.