The Importance of the Service Set Identifier
I was looking at my wireless router’s DHCP client list the other day when I noticed something. Not only are there devices connected to my network, but they used names to identify themselves! At first I thought it must be some sort of attack by hackers, but after a little research I found out that service set identifiers (SSID) are actually quite commonplace.
I figured I’d make a little article explaining exactly what SSIDs are and how they work.
What is an SSID and why do you Need it
The SSID or Wireless Network Name is the name of your wireless network as it is broadcasted. This SSID can be hidden which will hide/switch off your wireless network from those who are within range and do not know the SSID. It’s important to note that anyone knowing the SSID can connect to your Wireless Access Point (WAP) and thus your network.
How does SSID Work
The SSID is a value that can be set in the wireless access point. It is then broadcasted within a certain radius around the wireless router. If you have a hidden SSID, it will not be broadcasted and only stored with your network in the wireless router in order to connect to it later on (if there are clients who know the SSID and password of course!).
Do you Need a Visible SSID
This is entirely up to you, most people have their SSID set to Visible so that it is easily identifiable when they have guests over or show off their home wireless capability. In enterprise cases however, the SSID would be set to hidden especially in places where security is a priority or in cases where people may be tempted to connect to the Wireless AP when they should not.
How do you Change Your SSID
The SSID can easily be changed from any Wireless Access Point (WAP) by going into the WAP control panel and entering a new name for your wireless network. For Windows Wireless Configuration this can be found by going into your Network Connections and right clicking on your Wireless network, selecting Properties then choose Wireless Networks tab then click on Add to enter a new SSID for your Access Point (WAP).
Where to Find SSID on iPhone
Tap on the blue arrow next to “Wi-Fi Address.” It will say your router name and the default password for your router. You can also view your SSID by going to the “Settings” app on your iPhone and navigating to “Wi-Fi Networks.” Make sure Wi-Fi is turned on. Then, tap on the blue arrow next to the network name that you’re currently connected to. Your router name and SSID will appear in a new menu.
Why Should You Care
The reason you should care is because this SSID can be used against you. People can come along and connect to your Wireless Access Point (WAP) using the same SSID name if it is set to Visible, thus giving them access to your network which therefore allows them full access to all other devices on your network and other devices on the internet as well. It is for this reason that you should always set your SSID to hidden if you’re serious about security.
Tips for Improving Your iPhone’s Wireless Connection
Here are some tips on improving your iPhones wireless connection which you will find useful.
1) The name of the router is called the SSID and this needs to be changed from Public/Visitor to a unique name for your network. This helps distinguish between several routers in one area.
2) Upgrade your existing Wireless Router or buy a new one. Many routers are extremely old and do not support the latest security protocols or technologies which can be used to protect your network from outside threats.
3) Sometimes it is possible for you to get a “Wireless Interference” on your Wireless Network. This usually happens if there another wireless network in your area, like at work or school. This can be changed by reconfiguring your “Wireless Channel” to another frequency which is less occupied.
The Service Set Identifier (SSID) is the name of your network. It is usually set to Visible by default which can be dangerous if someone decides to use that same SSID name on their Wireless Access Point (WAP). In order to protect yourself from outside threats it is important to always change this SSID from Visible to Hidden.