Looking for a definition of SSID (Service Set Identifier)? SSID is a unique sequence of characters that represents the name of your wireless network (Wi-Fi). It is assigned by the router manufacturer and can have as many as 32 characters. To make it easier for them, manufacturers often use the product name coupled with randomly generated characters. For example, TP-Link_545543, Linksys005452, and so forth.
SSID is also attached to the header of the packets sent over WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) and ensures they were transferred successfully. Also, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands in wireless connections use a separate SSID so they are easy to distinguish. Now that you know the answer to the question, “what is SSID?” let’s continue.
How to see SSID (Service Set Identifier)?
The easiest way to do so is by flipping your router and finding a sticker with a default password, SSID, barcode, and other information. Some routers don’t have this sticker, and others have had this password changed by, for example, your ISP who rented or sold you the router.
This is an example of a sticker found on routers with the SSID details –
Follow these instructions to get the current SSID:
Find SSID on Windows this way:
- Click on the Wi-Fi icon on the right side of your taskbar.
- An SSID you’re connected to will be at the top of the list.
Follow these quick steps to find SSID on macOS:
- Click on the Wi-Fi icon in the top right corner.
- Your current one will have a checkmark next to its SSID.
Discover your SSID on Android by doing this:
- Tap Settings in the app drawer.
- Go to Wi-Fi.
The option might also be inside options titled Network, Internet, or Network & Internet.
- Your SSID will have a checkmark or be sorted under Connected.
Do this to find your SSID on iOS:
- Open the Control Center.
- Tap and long-press on the WiFi icon.
- You will see a list of networks, and your SSID will have a checkmark in front of its name.
What if two networks use the same SSID?
This isn’t unusual, especially if you live in a large building, and two people use a common SSID (Service Set Identifier). For example, “Home” or “My Wifi”. This makes it much harder to find which is yours and which isn’t. In the best-case scenario, the wrong one will have a password or be an open but friendly connection from a neighbor. In the worst case, you’ll be a victim of the “evil twin” network. Malicious people intentionally leave the network open and copy your SSID to bait you. After you connect and they can see your browsing history, location, and even send malware, RAT, or keyloggers. This leads us to the next point.
How to change SSID (Service Set Identifier)?
It is strongly recommended to change your Wi-Fi name and password using the web interface of their Wi-Fi router for additional security. A lot of people use this chance to pick funny Wi-Fi names and puns. See our list of the best Wi-Fi passwords ever but also a list of Wi-Fi passwords you should never use. This won’t affect your Wi-Fi signal at all.
Can you hide your Wi-Fi connection from being discovered?
If you went and changed the network name as we suggested, you must’ve noticed the option to hide your SSID altogether. Doing so will certainly hide the name from being discovered by devices nearby, but it’s not a strong countermeasure. Those with appropriate tools and equipment can still detect your Internet traffic and pinpoint your network and IP address. In reality, that makes it less secure, since your device is forced to search for the network constantly, and the router has to continue transferring packets wirelessly. It’s also inconvenient since you have to set up the connection manually.
The best way to protect your Wi-Fi connection
If you’re looking for SSID security tips besides a complex, long password, and WPA2/WPA3 encryption, we recommend getting a VPN for your router. It will hide your real IP address and use a much more advanced encryption algorithm for your Internet traffic. This will hide your identity, location, and browsing activity/history. It’s also ideal for connecting to a public Wi-Fi hotspot. You don’t know who else is also connected and what their intentions are.
Troubleshooting SSID Issues
Even after getting a grasp on what an SSID is and how to change or hide it, users might face problems related to SSID, primarily when it comes to connectivity issues. Here are some common SSID-related issues and how to troubleshoot them:
SSID Not Found
If your device isn’t detecting your Wi-Fi network, ensure the router is powered on and transmitting signals. A swift reboot can frequently rectify minor issues. If this doesn’t solve the problem, verify the network’s visibility settings are correct.
As mentioned above, hiding the SSID will make it undiscoverable, and you’ll need to manually enter it to connect.
If you’re sure you’re entering the correct password, but it’s not accepted, the problem may lie in the SSID. In order to fix this issue, ensure you’re connecting to the correct network if there are multiple connections with similar names. Also, to avoid potential confusion, it’s always wise to assign a unique SSID.
Multiple Networks with the Same SSID
In a densely populated area, you might come across multiple networks with the same SSID. This could create confusion when trying to connect. The simplest solution to fix this issue is to modify your SSID to something distinct.
Connectivity Issues with Hidden SSID
Hiding the SSID might seem like an extra layer of security, but it can cause connectivity issues for some devices. If you’re experiencing constant dropouts or failed connections with a hidden SSID, consider making your SSID visible again.
Changing SSID on Disconnected Devices
Changing the SSID will disconnect all previously connected devices, as they recognize networks based on the SSID. If you’ve changed your SSID and find devices unable to connect, you will need to reconnect them manually to the network with the new SSID.
SSID is just a simple name for your network. But it plays a vital role in your Wi-Fi network’s functionality. Ensuring its uniqueness and visibility can help alleviate the most common network issues. But remember, the SSID itself isn’t a security feature. Ensure you’re using robust Wi-Fi security settings to keep your network safe.