When connecting to WiFi networks, you will often come across the term “SSID”. For those unversed, it is the technical term used for a WiFi network name.
SSID is short for “Service Set Identifier”. Under the IEEE 802.11 protocol, a “service set” refers to an assembly of wireless devices with the same parameters. To put it simply, SSID is the name or identifier that tells you which network to join.
SSIDs are unique and it helps you to distinguish between multiple WiFi networks present in the area so that you can connect to the right one. SSIDs are used by both public and private WiFi networks.
Most routers come with a default SSID. But you can change it if you like, provided that you have administrative access and control over the WiFi network.
In this guide, we will be talking about everything related to SSID. From finding your SSID to changing your SSID, you will find all the important information in the post below.
What is a Wireless Network?
A Wireless Network refers to computer networks that are not connected by cables of any kind. Instead, it uses radio waves to send data back and forth.
Wireless networking is popular because of obvious reasons. Firstly, it is cost-effective. Secondly, it doesn’t involve any physical wires. This is why most households and offices have wireless networking.
By opting for wireless networking you can avoid the cost of cable installation between different locations. Wireless networking is entirely based on radio waves, which take place at the physical level of the network structure.
The best thing about the wireless network is that they don’t involve cables. This means you can connect all your devices, including laptops, mobiles, computers, smart TVs, tablets, etc. to a wireless network within the range. This type of networking is perfect for offices and homes as it eliminates the use of cables and tangling issues.
However, the extreme popularity of wireless networks doesn’t make wired networks obsolete. This is because they are used on a larger scale. For example, your internet service provider provides internet connection through wires like twisted pair cable, optical fiber, or coaxial cable.
The cable provided by your ISP is then connected to a home router which gives you access to the internet. Just so you know WiFi is the best wireless technology.
When trying to connect to a WiFi network, you are shown a list of WiFi networks available near you. The names assigned to these wireless networks are what is known as SSID.
Speaking of wireless networks, let’s talk about the four main types.
1. Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN):
It uses a wireless distribution method to connect to two or more devices. It provides connection via access points to the wider internet. It allows users to move around the coverage area, which is often a small office or home while maintaining a network connection.
2. Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN):
It provides a large coverage area, such as neighboring cities, towns, etc. It can be described as a type of network that sends wireless signals beyond a single property or building.
3. Wireless Metropolitan Area Network (WMAN):
It refers to a locally distributed wireless network that transfers information between distributed nodes covering a city or suburb. It can support multi-business access services such as data, voice, multimedia, image, and IP.
4. Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN):
It helps to interconnect devices within a person’s reach or workspace. It allows you to connect all or most of your devices and access the Internet using any of the supported wireless communication techniques.
What is SSID?
SSID stands for “Service Set Identifier”. In simple words, it is the name of your WiFi. It is also known as Service ID, Network ID, Network Name, or Service Name.
It is represented by an alphanumeric code that can go up to 32 characters. Every router comes with a unique SSID. Just so you know SSIDs are case-sensitive. For example “networkaccess” is a different SSID from “networkaccess.” You are also allowed to use some special characters like the underscore, spaces, dashes, and periods.
All Wi-Fi networks have an SSID that helps you to identify which wireless network to connect to. Whenever connecting to a new wireless network, having the password and the SSID is a must.
Every router has a default SSID, which usually consists of the company name and random letters and numbers. It is always a good idea to change your default SSID and password. By doing so, you can make your network more secure. Also, you shouldn’t disclose your custom SSID and password to anyone, unless you want them to connect to your Wi-Fi network.
Your Wi-Fi SSID is more important than you think. It prevents unauthorized access to your Wi-Fi network. For example, if anyone tries to access your Wi-Fi without the SSID, the security features of your router will immediately stop the device from connecting.
A Wi-Fi base station or wireless router will broadcast its SSID so that all nearby devices can display a list of available networks with easy-to-read names.
In the case of an open network, you can connect to it with just the SSID. But when it comes to connecting to a secured network, you need a password to gain access.
If you want to know how to find or change your SSID, you should keep reading this article. We will be discussing all that in detail in the upcoming section.
How to Find SSID on Router, Windows, macOS, Android & iOS?
By now you know that you can change the default SSID of your WiFi network. But before that, you need to find the SSID.
People usually encounter an SSID when connecting their mobile phones to a Wi-Fi network. Like when you try to connect to public Wi-Fi in a cafe or restaurant, you are shown a list of SSIDs near you. These are the names of the network within the range of your mobile device. All you have to do is select a name, enter the password if required, and you are connected to the internet.
Now if you are wondering how to find the SSID of your wireless network, no worries, we have got your back. In the section below we have discussed the steps to find SSID on your router, Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
How to Find SSID on Router:
You can typically find the SSID on your router printed on a label at the side or bottom of the router itself. In case, it’s not there, you should look for the SSID number in the router or WiFi modem’s user manual.
Remember, after you change the SSID number, the printed SSID on your router will become invalid, which means it will no longer work.
In case, someone else with access has changed the SSID without your knowledge, no worries. All you have to do is reset your router. For this, you need to press and hold the “Reset” button at the back of the router device. This will restore its settings to default. By doing so, you will validate the default SSID.
For more in-depth about reset routers, check out our article on 30-30-30 Hard Reset.
For more information, you should refer to your router’s manual guide. If you don’t have a manual guide, you can find the details of your router online.
You can trace the new SSID on your operating system, the steps of which are discussed below.
How To Find SSID on Windows:
If you are using a Windows desktop or laptop, you should follow these steps to find the updated SSID.
- Switch on your device.
- Locate the Wi-Fi icon on the bottom-right edge of the screen, and click on it.
- It will show you a list of available SSIDs near you.
- Find the current name of your network. It always appears on the top of the list with “Connected” underneath.
How to Find SSID on macOS:
Mac users should follow these steps.
- Turn on your Mac device.
- Go to the Wi-Fi icon located at the upper-right edge of the screen, and click on it.
- You will get to see a list of available networks or SSIDs near you.
- The SSID you are connected to will have a colored Wi-Fi icon next to it.
How to Find SSID on Android:
If you are using an Android phone, you should follow these steps to find your SSID.
- Launch the Settings app on your phone.
- Go to the Wi-Fi option.
- The SSID you are connected to will be displayed on the top with “Connected” underneath.
How to Find SSID on iOS:
To find your SSID on iOS, you should follow these steps.
- Open the Settings app on your iOS device.
- Next, go to Wi-Fi.
- The network name you are connected to will show a checkmark sign to its left.
Thus, you can see how easy it is to find your SSID on the router, Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. Just follow the steps correctly and you should be good to go.
How to Change the SSID on Router, Windows, macOS, Android & iOS?
Should you change your default SSID? Absolutely, yes! You should also change your default password.
The good thing is every router manufacturer allows you to change your default SSID and password. Since many of you don’t know how to change your default SSID, we have laid down a guide just for you. Go through the details, and you will know what to do.
How to Change the SSID On Router:
The steps to change your default SSID are almost the same across major routers. The steps you need to follow are:
- First, you need to find your router’s IP address, which can be found in the case of the router.
- Once you find your router’s IP address, open your web browser.
- Now type your router’s IP address in the search bar to access the administrative console.
- You will be asked to enter your current password and username. If you haven’t changed it before, you should enter the default login credentials. You can find it in the case of the router or in the user manual.
- Once you are on the admin console page, go to the Wi-Fi settings section and click on Wi-Fi Settings.
- Locate the section for Network Name or SSID.
- Enter the SSID name of your choice. The maximum number of characters you can use is 32.
- Now enter a new password in the given field.
- After that click Save to apply the necessary changes.
The changes you made will take effect immediately. Some routers will restart after changing the default SSID and password. So, don’t get worried because that’s completely normal. Once everything is done, you will have to reconnect your devices to the router.
How to Change the SSID On Windows:
You can change your default SSID on Windows. For this, you need to follow these steps.
- The first thing you need to do is find the IP address of your router. The IP address is important because it will give you access to the administrative web interface of your router.
- Once you find your router’s IP address, launch your browser.
- Type in the IP address in the search bar and hit Enter.
- This will take you to the admin console portal.
- When prompted, enter your default username and password. This is only if you haven’t changed it yet. Otherwise, you will have to enter the custom login details.
- Once you log in to the router management console, click on the Wireless tab.
- You will see the SSID or Network Name option on the screen.
- Enter your desired SSID, but make sure that it is unique.
- After entering the SSID name, click Apply to save the new changes.
To secure your wireless network you should also change the default password. You will find the password change option in the Security section under the Wireless tab. All you have to do is enter a new password and click the Save button.
How to Change the SSID On macOS:
The steps to change SSID on macOS are similar to Windows. However, to avoid any confusion, we have explained the steps once again.
- Your router comes with an IP address, which can be found on the router’s case.
- Launch a web browser and enter the IP address in the search bar.
- This will open the router’s admin console portal.
- You will be asked to sign in. For this, you need to enter your default username and password, provided that you haven’t changed it before.
- Once you log in to the admin web interface, click the option Wireless. You will find this in the menu on the left of your screen.
- Go to the SSID field and enter the desired SSID. Along with that, you can also change your default password.
- Once you make the necessary changes, click Apply or Save and you are done.
After you change your default SSID and password, you will have to reconnect all your devices.
How to Change the SSID On Android:
Besides desktop, you can also change your default SSID on Android mobile devices. The steps you need to follow are:
- Find the IP address of your router.
- Launch a web browser on your Android phone.
- Type in the IP address and press Enter.
- The router’s admin console page will open.
- To log in to your router’s admin web interface, you will have to enter your default username and password. If you have already changed it, then enter the custom login details.
- Once you log in, press the Wireless option.
- Now change the default SSID and password.
- After you are done, press the Save button to apply the new changes.
To refresh the system, you should restart your device. This will apply to the new changes. After that, you can connect your device to your Wi-Fi just the way you always do.
How to Change the SSID On iOS:
If you are an iPhone user, you should follow these steps to change your default SSID.
- Launch the Settings app.
- Go to the Wi-Fi menu.
- If your Wi-Fi is switched off, turn it on and connect to your wireless network.
- Once connected, press the information icon located next to the name of your Wi-Fi network. This will open the network details of your router.
- From the displayed details, copy the IP address of your router.
- Now launch a web browser on your iPhone.
- Enter the copied IP address to open the router’s admin panel.
- You will be asked to enter your default username and password. You will find this information on the back of your router.
- After successfully logging into the admin panel, go to Wi-Fi Settings.
- There you will see a box or field named SSID or Network Name.
- Change the default SSID.
- You should also change the default password for security reasons.
- After you are done with all the steps, tap the Save or Apply button, and you are done.
Now restart your iPhone to refresh the system, and then reconnect your device to your Wi-Fi network.
How to Choose the Best SSID for your WiFi Network?
Now that you know how to change your SSID, let’s talk about how to choose the best SSID for your network.
When changing your default SSID make sure to choose something unique, especially if you live in an apartment building where there are a lot of people near you. This is to prevent connection issues. At the same time, you should also keep in mind not to reveal your personal information like your address or name in an SSID. After all, you will not want anyone to see this information and misuse it.
To choose the best SSID for your Wi-Fi network you should follow these tips. This will help you to create a secure and personalized SSID.
- You should avoid choosing a generic SSID name. For example, “your name” or “home name.” As mentioned above your SSID should be as unique as possible.
- If you are using a dual-band router, you should customize 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi bands separately. This will help you create a unique SSID for your wireless network.
- If your router supports band steering, then you should set one SSID for both Wi-Fi bands. This is because band steering routers can automatically pick the network band depending on the client’s support and ability.
- The SSID you select will be used by your family members and guests as well. So don’t make it too raunchy. Also, you should avoid using an offensive SSID.
- The best SSID is the one that is easy to recognize and succinct. This is why you should select something very unique. Even funny names will do.
You should change the default SSID of your router as soon as you get it home. This is needed to make your wireless network secure.
What Happens if there are Multiple Wi-Fi Networks with the Same SSID?
If you live in a crowded place like an apartment building, it is obvious that you will have a lot of wireless networks in the vicinity. This increases the chances of you and your neighbor having the same network name or SSID. This is why you shouldn’t choose a generic name.
Now if you ask whether having the same SSID name as your neighbor is a problem or not, we say it is. As long as you are connected to your Wi-Fi network, it is fine. But the problem starts when your device disconnects or you want to connect a new device. Having the same SSID can lead to a lot of confusion. Your device will choose the network with the strongest signal.
But if the passwords are unique, your device won’t be able to connect to your neighbor’s network. However, if the network is without a password, you can easily connect to it.
Using your Wi-Fi network without a unique password can be very risky. It increases the chances of your internet traffic being monitored by cybercriminals. If they gain access to your network, they can steal your personal information like credit card and bank details, passwords, etc.
To avoid all these issues, you should always set a unique SSID and password for your Wi-Fi network. Also, you should change the default SSID as soon as possible.
For security reasons, many people create Wi-Fi networks with hidden SSID. But even if you hide your SSID, your router will still reveal your traffic wirelessly.
Before you decide to hide your SSID, you should know that it will not appear in the list of Wi-Fi networks on a device. However, anyone with a wireless traffic monitoring tool can easily detect it. Also, hiding your SSID leads to connection issues. Worst of all, it reveals your Wi-Fi connection details every time you try to connect a device.
Instead of hiding your SSID, you should consider using WPA2 encryption. Along with that, you should also use a strong password. This will make your Wi-Fi network more secure.
Keeping your wireless network security is very crucial. Being negligent about it can make you land in great trouble.
You need to understand that hackers and cybercriminals are always looking for potential victims. If your wireless security is low, they can easily hack into your network even without accessing your network devices.
With that in mind, you should do everything it takes to make your wireless network secure. The most common wireless network security threats are:
- War Drivers
- Rouge Access Points
To help you out, we have explained some of the best and most effective ways to secure your Wi-Fi networks below.
- Change your Default SSID
The very first thing to do is to change your default SSID. You should do it as soon as you get the router home. Make sure to set a unique and strong SSID.
- Change your Default Password
The next thing to do is to change your default password. Avoid setting a generic or easy password, such as your birth date, your mobile number, or “123456”. A strong password is a combination of numbers and an alphabet.
- Hide Your SSID
Yes, hiding your SSID can lead to connection issues. But it is a good way to make your Wi-Fi network secure. The best way to secure your SSID is to stop it from being broadcast. You can connect to your Wi-Fi network only if you know the SSID.
- MAC Filtering
For advanced security, you should opt for MAC filtering. In this case, you allow internet access only to users with specific MAC addresses, while the others will be blocked out even if they try to connect to your network.
- Use a Firewall
This is another great way to make your wireless network safe. All you have to do is place your router outside the network’s firewall. This will make all incoming and outgoing data pass through the firewall.
By now you know what SSID is and how it works. Whenever you get a new router make sure to change the default SSID to make your wireless network secure. You can change the SSID by following the steps mentioned in this post. Choose a unique and strong SSID and deploy other security measures to keep your Wi-Fi network safe from hackers. I hope, you found this article helpful.
Hi, I am James Burns a skilled and experienced network engineer with a passion for optimizing digital connectivity. With a wealth of expertise in designing and managing intricate network infrastructures, I excel in enhancing performance and security. I hold a distinguished record of delivering top-notch results in various Network courses, including the Juniper Networks Certified Associate (JNCIA) certification, demonstrating my commitment to continuous learning and professional growth. My dedication to staying at the forefront of emerging technologies makes me an invaluable asset in ensuring seamless and reliable network operations. Whether troubleshooting complex issues or implementing innovative solutions, I am dedicated to creating robust and efficient network environments for businesses and individuals alike.