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What is the best protocol for finding an unknown computer through wireless communication?

The idea is that a computer starts off by itself and then broadcasts "Any other computer close enough to talk to?". If there is it will add the computer to a list of ones it can talk to. After this both computers will now broadcast the message. Once one more comes it will continue until all the computers are asking if there are any more to connect to.

I have been told DHCP and RIP are good ways to go but I have found none that talk about this kind of interaction

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Ad-Hoc WiFi or Wireless Mesh might be what you are looking for.. but they require that the machines who join be configured to do so. You probably need to explain why you're interested in doing this, and for what purpose. –  NickW Apr 22 '13 at 12:16
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Cripes, whomever told you that either DHCP or RIP are in any way applicable here are seriously misinformed. –  EEAA Apr 22 '13 at 13:05

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