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Do you have to have an access point to have a wireless LAN? If I have 3 machines with wireless NIC's, do they need an access point if they are all very close together?
Turn on "ad hoc" mode in the client software; that's what it is for.
what is ad hoc? How do I turn it on? I'm new to wireless.
Check documentation that came with your product. Something in there will tell you how to control whether to use an access point or not.
Another approach is to use the client software. Find the item that seems about like described and check the box that is above/below/next to the one you found.
All ad hoc mode does is create a LAN that is separate unto itself.
I don't have any equipment yet. I am looking into a wireless LAN for a small company and am trying to save money. I just need to know if it possible to have the network without having to buy an access point.
Yes, it's possible. Cisco's cards have the ad hoc feature. You can see the 802.11b docs at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/wireless/ps458/prod_instructions_guides.html I haven't looked, but I would guess that the 802.11a clients have the feature as well.