What Is SSID (Service Set Identifier)?


Service Set Identifier or SSID is a technical term which is used to define wireless network name. As today wireless networks are very popular and dense. Almost every home has at least one wireless network which will be dense in cities. SSID is used to name a wireless network name which can be changed easily from the wireless device name which is generally a wireless router or ADSL modem.

SSID Properties

SSID is defined in IEEE 802.11 wireless local area network standard. As a standard SSID has some properties which should be implemented by wireless devices. SSID can contain a maximum of 32 characters which will be used to name wireless networks. This is very important to connect the correct wireless network. Each packet sent over a wireless network will include the SSID in order to ensure that the data sent to the correct or targeted wireless network. If the SSID didn’t exist the wireless medium which is air would be chaotic and unpredictable to transmit data to the correct destination.

Default SSID

Most of the wireless devices like wireless routers, ADSL modems set default SSID. These SSID can be shown from the management GUI which is generally a web application of the modem. But also the default SSID information is printed physically on the modem. The printed SSID information generally put under the device like below.

List Wireless Networks with SSID

For Windows 10 operating system wireless networks and SSID’s can be listed by clicking to the wireless icon in the task manager. But keep in mind that in order to search and list SSID’s the wireless interface should be enabled and running properly. Below we can see that there are different SSIDs with different wireless signals. We can see that some SSID’s are used similar names but there are some little differences.

List Wireless Networks with SSID

Change SSID

Generally changing the SSID is a good step for security and preventing misunderstanding. SSID can be changed via the web application of the wireless device.

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Hidden SSID

SSID is used to define network and visible for all wireless clients by default. SSID is just a name and can be hidden for different purposes like security. The wireless network with a hidden SSID will not be shown in the wireless network list by default. But there are different ways and applications to list hidden SSID’s. So hiding the SSID is not a real security solution. Even hidden SSID can create problems with the connection. In order to connect hidden SSID follow Network & Internet Settings ->Network and Sharing Center -> Set up a new connection or network -> Manually connect to a wireless network . We will see the following screen where we will put some information like network name, security type, security key, and then check the checkboxes. The network name is the SSID of the wireless network we want to connect.

Connect Hidden SSID

WPA2 and SSID Relation

Wireless networks are secured with different protocols. WPA2 is one of the most recent protocol to secure and encrypt wireless. WPA2 key is used to authenticate the new clients to the given wireless network which is defined with SSID. WPA2 key is an alpha-numeric password which can be 32 characters at most.

Multiple SSID

Modern wireless devices like wireless routers, ADSL modems implement multiple wireless standards. Generally, 2.5 and 5.0 GHz are used to broadcast wireless networks. The wireless devices can broadcast different SSID for 2.5 and 5.0 GHz. Alternatively, for security reasons, multiple SSID can be broadcasted for Guest, External, or Internal wireless networks.

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