What is an SSID and How to Find Yours?

Haseeb Awan
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March 15, 2023
Modified On
June 22, 2024


Introduction

As a tech-savvy person, I have often encountered the term SSID while configuring routers or setting up Wi-Fi networks. However, not everyone may be familiar with this term, which may seem like a mystery to some. So, what exactly is SSID, and why is it necessary for network security? In this comprehensive guide, I will explain everything about SSID, including how to find yours, change it for better security, and avoid common mistakes.

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What is an SSID, and why is it necessary for network security?

SSID stands for Service Set Identifier, a unique name given to a Wi-Fi network. It is a sequence of characters that identifies a particular wireless network. When setting up a Wi-Fi network, you must choose an SSID broadcasted by the wireless router. Any device that wants to connect to the network must provide the correct SSID to establish a connection.

SSID is crucial to network security as it helps identify and differentiate between wireless networks. It enables devices to connect to the correct network and prevents unauthorized access to your network. When you set up a Wi-Fi network, you can hide the SSID, meaning you will not broadcast the network name. It makes it harder for hackers to find your network and attempt to break in.

How to Find Your SSID

How to Find Your SSID on a Windows computer

Finding your SSID on a Windows computer is a simple process. Take the following steps:

  • Tap on the Wi-Fi icon in the taskbar.
  • Select the network you connect to from the context menu.
  • Select "Properties."
  • Scroll down to the "Network profile" section.
  • Your SSID will have listed under "Network name (SSID)."

How to Find Your SSID on a Mac

If you are using a Mac computer, here's how you can find your SSID:

  • Tap on the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar.
  • Navigate to the network you currently connect to with your mouse.
  • The SSID will be displayed in a pop-up box.

How to Find Your SSID on iOS

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap on "Wi-Fi."
  • The name of the network that you connected to is your SSID.

How to Find Your SSID on Android

  • Open the Settings app.
  • Tap on "Wi-Fi."
  • You can connect to a network by tapping on it.
  • The SSID will get listed under "Network name."
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Understanding SSID Broadcasting and Hiding

SSID broadcasting makes your network name visible to anyone within range of your Wi-Fi signal. When you set up a new router, the default setting is usually to broadcast the SSID. If you've kept this setting the same, your network name is visible to anyone who searches for Wi-Fi networks in your area.

On the other hand, SSID hiding makes your network name invisible to others. When you hide your SSID, your wireless network name won't appear in the list of available networks on other devices, making it harder for unauthorized users to find and connect to your network.

While SSID hiding may seem like a good idea to enhance network security, it's not a foolproof solution. Sophisticated hackers can still detect hidden networks and cause compatibility issues with some older devices. Additionally, hiding your SSID can make it more difficult for legitimate users to connect to your network, leading to frustration and reduced productivity.

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Understanding the Different Types of SSID

There are two types of SSIDs:

Primary Service Set Identifier (BSSID)

Are you familiar with "Basic Service Set Identifier" or BSSID? It's a unique identifier assigned to each wireless access point (WAP) in a wireless local area network (WLAN). This identifier differentiates one WAP from another, allowing devices to connect to a specific WAP within a WLAN.

The BSSID, or the Service Set Identifier (SSID), is a network name given to a WLAN. The SSID can be considered the name of a wireless network, while the BSSID is like a serial number assigned to each WAP within that network. When a device connects to a WLAN, it scans for all available SSIDs and displays them in a list. The user then selects the SSID they want to connect to, and the device uses the BSSID to connect to the specific WAP associated with that SSID.

There are several reasons why the BSSID is essential. For one, it helps ensure that devices connect to the correct WAP within a WLAN. Without the BSSID, devices may try to connect to the wrong WAP or have difficulty connecting. Additionally, the BSSID can also use for troubleshooting purposes. Network administrators can use the BSSID to isolate and resolve the issue quickly if there are issues with a specific WAP within a WLAN.

Overall, the BSSID is a critical component of any WLAN infrastructure. With it, devices could connect to the correct WAP within a network, and troubleshooting issues would be much more challenging. So the next time you connect to a wireless network, remember the importance of the BSSID and how it helps ensure a seamless and reliable connection.

Extended Service Set Identifier (ESSID)

Are you familiar with the Extended Service Set Identifier, ESSID? It is an essential component of any Wi-Fi network, and it's crucial to understand how it works. In simple terms, an ESSID is a unique name for a wireless network. It will use to identify and differentiate between various networks in the same vicinity. Think of it as a label that assists your device in recognizing and connecting to a specific Wi-Fi network.

The ESSID is often called the network's SSID or Service Set Identifier. It is because the SSID is a subset of the ESSID, which is visible to users when they search for available networks. Whenever attempting to join a Wi-Fi network, your device displays a list of available networks, each identified by its SSID. Choosing a unique and easily recognizable SSID for your network is essential so that users can quickly identify and connect to it.

Among the most significant benefits of using an ESSID is that it allows you to set up multiple access points for a single wireless network. It means you can have multiple Wi-Fi routers in different parts of your home or office, but they will all be in the same network. That makes providing reliable Wi-Fi coverage throughout the building easier without worrying about users having to switch between different networks manually.

In conclusion, the Extended Service Set Identifier (ESSID) is an essential component of any Wi-Fi network. It provides a unique name for the network, which makes it easier for users to identify and connect to it. Using an ESSID, you can also set up multiple access points for a single network, making it easier to provide reliable coverage throughout a large area. So if you're setting up a new Wi-Fi network, choose a unique and memorable SSID that will help your users connect quickly and easily.

How to Secure Your SSID?

Why Network Security is Important?

Network security is a critical concern for individuals and businesses alike. Hackers can use unsecured networks to steal sensitive information or launch cyber-attacks, leading to financial loss, identity theft, and other serious consequences.

Securing your SSID is essential in protecting your network from unauthorized access. Setting a strong password for your router and changing it frequently is crucial. Avoid using easily guessable passwords like "password" or "123456". Instead, combine lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Another way to enhance network security is to encrypt your wireless network. Encryption change data into a secret code to protect it from unauthorized access. Several encryption methods are available for wireless networks, including WEP, WPA, and WPA2. The most secure encryption technique currently available is WPA2, which you should use whenever possible.

Here are a few tips to secure your SSID:

  1. It's easy to secure your SSID and only requires a few straightforward steps. First, access your router's settings by typing its IP address into your web browser. The default IP address for most routers is 192.168.1.1, but it can vary depending on the manufacturer.
  2. Once you're in the router's settings, look for the SSID settings. You can change your network name, enable or disable SSID broadcasting, and set up encryption here. Choose a unique network name that's easy to remember but difficult for others to guess.
  3. Next, enable encryption and choose the most secure encryption method available. Create a strong password and avoid using common words or phrases. Save your changes and restart your router to apply the new settings.

How to Change Your SSID for Better Network Security?

Changing your SSID can improve your network security by making it harder for hackers to identify your network. Here's how you can change your SSID:

  • Log in to your router's administration page.
  • Navigate to the Wi-Fi settings.
  • Look for the SSID field.
  • Enter a new name for your network.
  • Save the changes.

SSID FAQs

What Are Some Common SSID Security Mistakes to Avoid

While SSID can help in improving network security, there are a few common mistakes that you should avoid:

  • Using default SSID names - Many routers come with a default SSID names, such as "Linksys" or "Netgear." Hackers may already know these default names and can use them to their advantage.
  • Broadcasting SSID - Broadcasting your SSID makes it easier for hackers to identify your network.
  • Using personal information - Avoid using personal information, such as your name or address, as your SSID. Anyone can use this information can track your location and identity.

Advanced SSID Security Options

Apart from changing your SSID, there are some advanced security options that you can enable to improve your network security:

  • Disable SSID broadcasting - By disabling SSID broadcasting, your network name will not be visible to other devices, making it harder for hackers to find it.
  • Enable WPA2 encryption - WPA2 encryption is the most secure encryption protocol for Wi-Fi networks. Enabling it will ensure that only authorized devices can connect to your network.
  • Use MAC address filtering - MAC address filtering allows you to specify which devices can connect to your network. You can create a list of approved MAC addresses and only allow those devices to connect.

Troubleshooting SSID Connection Issues

If you are having trouble joining your network, the following are some troubleshooting steps that you can try:

  • Restart your router and device.
  • Check if your device is within range of the router.
  • Make sure that your device had connected to the correct network.
  • Disable any antivirus software and firewalls that may be blocking the connection.

Best Tools for Managing and Optimizing Your SSID

There are several tools available for managing and optimizing your SSID. One of the most popular tools is the Wireless Diagnostics tool on Mac computers. This tool helps you identify and troubleshoot network issues and optimize network performance.

Another helpful tool is the Wi-Fi Analyzer app, available for Android devices. This app lets you see which Wi-Fi networks are in range and their signal strength. You can use this information to choose the best channel for your network and avoid interference from other networks.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts on SSID and Network Security

In conclusion, SSID is a crucial component of Wi-Fi networks that plays a vital role in network security. By understanding what SSID is, how to find yours, change it for better security, and avoid common mistakes, you can improve your network security and protect your data from unauthorized access. Remember to enable advanced security options, such as WPA2 encryption and MAC address filtering, to strengthen your network security further.

So, the next time you configure a Wi-Fi network, choose a unique SSID and enable advanced security options to keep your network safe and secure.

Haseeb Awan
CEO, Efani Secure Mobile

I founded Efani after being Sim Swapped 4 times. I am an experienced CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the crypto and cybersecurity industry. I provide Secure Mobile Service for influential people to protect them against SIM Swaps, eavesdropping, location tracking, and other mobile security threats. I've been covered in New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Hulu, Nasdaq, Netflix, Techcrunch, Coindesk, etc. Contact me at 855-55-EFANI or haseebawan@efani.com for a confidential assessment to see if we're the right fit!

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