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With a normal Wifi network, like with an wireless router. If 1 wireless device wants to talk another wireless device it has to go through the router, right?

But with an adhoc network does data go directly to the intended device, or does it go through the computer which set up the adhoc network.

Also will the range be 30 feet from the original computer or 30 feet from the devices.

I think its a difference adhoc networks and Mesh networks?

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Yes, ad hoc networks are more efficient for wireless-to-wireless communication for the reason you mentioned. In ad hoc networks (which are technically called "IBSS" networks), devices talk to each other directly.

Contrast a typical infrastructure network with an AP, where the AP retransmits every wireless-to-wireless transmission (that is, performs "intra-BSS relay") in order to avoid the "hidden node problem". This retransmitting can effectively cut your wireless bandwidth in half when two wireless devices are talking to each other.

No one does intra-BSS relay in IBSS (ad hoc) networks, not even the originator of the IBSS. Originators have no special responsibilities at all in an IBSS network. Once other devices join, they are all fully equal peers.

As for range, the range of typical consumer indoor Wi-Fi devices is given as "up to" 150 feet, not 30 feet. If you have a device that lists its IBSS range as 30 feet, then maybe it uses lower transmit power in IBSS mode, limiting its range. In an IBSS, the range is measured between every possible two-device pairing. That is, "up to" 150 feet becomes the diameter of your network, whereas in an infrastructure network with an AP doing intra-BSS relay, "up to" 150 feet would have been just the radius, giving you a diameter of "up to" 300 feet.

Mesh networks, as standardized by 802.11s, are a whole different thing. 802.11s is where generally your network infrastructure boxes figure out who to create wireless backhaul networks (kind of like self-configued WDS links) between themselves, while each box also typically provides local AP service to local clients. I don't know of any laptops or handhelds or printers or other consumer wireless clients that do 802.11s. It's usually something that only wireless-ISP-provided 802.11 infrastructure boxes do.

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Well when setting up the wireless adhoc network on windows, it said the range was 30 feet. So if ad hoc is better, why has APs become the norm? Surely a combination of the two is best. (Also like why don't cellphones networks be ad hoc, this would extend the range and capacity in high density areas, and be more reliable.) –  Jonathan. Aug 30 '10 at 18:42
    
Ad hoc is NOT better in most cases. In most cases, people are using their wireless network to get to the Internet, or they don't want to have to keep all devices in range of all other devices, so they like having an AP doing intra-BSS relay to eliminate the hidden node problem. Also, as I mentioned, IBSS device do NOT repeat the signals, so they don't extend the range of anything. IBSSes are less reliable because of the hidden node problem. –  Spiff Aug 30 '10 at 21:26

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