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Service Set Identifier (SSID) in Computer Network

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Service Set Identifier (SSID) is the primary name associated with an 802.11 Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) that includes home networks and public hotspots. Client devices use this name to identify and join wireless networks. For example, while trying to connect to a wireless network at work or school named guest_network you see several others within the range that are called something entirely different names. All the names you see are the SSIDs for those networks. Routers broadcast this name to help wireless clients find the network. 

What is SSID?

The Service Set Identifier (SSID) is a case-sensitive text string that can be as long as 32 characters consisting of letters or numbers or a combination of both. Since the SSID can be changed, not all wireless networks have a standard name like that. Devices can join to a Wi-Fi network using a unique identification called a service set identifier (SSID). To help users connect to the correct Wi-Fi network in an area, the SSID distinguishes between several Wi-Fi networks.

How SSIDs are Used by Devices?

Wireless devices like phones, laptops, etc scan the local area for networks broadcasting their SSIDs and present a list of names. A user can join a new network connection by picking a name from the list. In addition to obtaining the network’s name, the Wi-Fi scan also determines whether each network has wireless security options enabled or not. In most cases, the device identifies a secured network with a lock symbol next to the SSID. 

Most wireless devices keep track of the different networks a user joins as well as the connection preferences. Users can also set up a device to automatically join networks having certain SSIDs by saving that setting into their profiles. In other words, once connected, the device usually asks if you want to save the network and reconnect automatically in the future. 

Most wireless routers offer the option to disable SSID broadcasting to improve Wi-Fi network security as it requires the clients to know two passwords, the SSID and the network password. However, the effectiveness of this technique is limited since it’s fairly easy to get the SSID from the header of data packets flowing through the router. Connecting to networks with disabled SSID broadcast requires the user to manually create a profile with the name and other connection parameters. 

Working of SSID

The Service Set Identifier (SSID) is an integral part of wireless networks, used primarily in Wi-Fi networks. Acting as a unique identifier, the SSID is assigned to a wireless router or access point during configuration, usually as a human-readable string such as “computer” or “data” Periodically, the router reports the SSID, and allows it to find nearby devices and determine which wireless networks are available It is also suitable. When the device wants to connect to the network, it searches for nearby SSIDs and prompts the user to enter a password and other necessary credentials. The device can take admission in the network after certification by Ruter and if it can communicate with other equipment and can access the internet like object, even without this very important functionality, it can be a security safeguard , so that simple security problems are needed and easily allowed to circumvent the security or to circumvent the security. of the SSID It is important to avoid using

Methods for Obtaining the SSID on Various Devices

SSID must be located before a user may connect to a Wi-Fi network. Here are several methods to accomplish that on various devices:

  • Router: Usually found on the back or bottom of the router is the SSID. It is frequently printed on a label with the password and further network information.
  • Windows: The wireless signal button, which is often seen in the lower-right corner of the screen on a Windows PC, can be clicked to reveal the SSID. Windows will show you a list of networks, with “Connect” indicated next to the SSID.
  • MacOS: On macOS, select the “Wi-Fi” icon from the menu bar to get a list of available networks. The SSID is denoted by a tick mark from this list.
  • Android: Open the applications menu, then select “Settings.” When the Wi-Fi option displays, the SSID you are connected to will have “Connected” or a blue checkmark next to it.
  • Apple iOS: On an iOS device, select “Settings” and then “Wi-Fi.” The network that is the SSID is the one with a checkmark by its name.

How can the password or SSID be changed?

The ability to modify the SSID name or password may be available on a mobile app that an Internet Service Provider (ISP) offers for managing services or paying bills. Similarly, to modify the SSID name or password, an ISP might also provide an app. Although the SSID can be changed by the user, it should be something that is easily recognised and devoid of any personally identifying information.

How are SSIDs secured?

  • Employ a firewall: A built-in firewall on routers can be set to automatically prevent unauthorised activity on a network.
  • Update the firmware on your router: Firmware updates with security considerations shield users against more recent assaults and vulnerabilities.
  • Modify login Credential: Since default passwords and usernames might be the same for all router types, they ought to be changed.
  • Guest network: On a router, a guest-only secondary network can be configured.
  • Make use of a VPN: By encrypting internet traffic and hiding the user’s IP address, a virtual private network (VPN) prevents other parties from tracking the user’s activities.

How to Broadcast SSIDs?

  • Three SSIDs at maximum should be enabled on each AP.
  • For every SSID, band-steering—a feature that associates users with the optimal frequency band—should be enabled.
  • In case the coverage zones of two APs overlap, they shouldn’t be on the same wireless channels.
  • It is necessary to configure each SSID to correspond to a distinct virtual LAN (VLAN). Device groups from different networks are combined into a single logical network via a VLAN.
  • Legacy bit rates should be turned off for each SSID.
  • An AP’s SSID should only be enabled when absolutely required.

Problem with SSIDs

  • If there are no wireless security options enabled on a network then anyone can connect to it by knowing only the SSID. 
  • Using a default SSID increases the chances that another nearby network will have the same name which can confuse wireless clients. When a Wi-Fi device discovers two networks with the same name, it will prefer and may try auto-connecting to the stronger radio signal, which might be the unwanted choice. In the worst case, a person might get dropped from their own home network and reconnected to a neighbor’s who does not have login protection enabled. 
  • The SSID chosen for a home network should contain only generic and sensible information. Some names (like HackMyWIFIIfYouCan) unnecessarily provoke thieves to target certain homes and networks over others. 
  • An SSID can contain publicly visible or offensive language or coded messages. 

Frequently Asked Question on SSID – FAQs

What is SSID?

Service Set Identifier (SSID) is the primary name associated with an 802.11 wireless local area network (WLAN) that includes home networks and public hotspots. Client devices use this name to identification and join wireless networks.

Can I change the SSID of my wireless network?

Enter the router’s IP address from the previous step in the address bar and press Enter. Locate the Wireless menu item. Change the default SSID name by finding and locating the Wireless Network Name (SSID) field. For your changes to be confirmed, click Save or Apply.

How does the SSID contribute to network security?

They can divide up the traffic on their wireless network and provide different users varying degrees of access to resources by using an SSID. By limiting unwanted access to important data, this can lessen network congestion and enhance security.

How long can an SSID be?

SSIDs are used in both residential and commercial Wi-Fi networks, and they are most frequently seen when tying in mobile devices, such as laptops or smartphones, to a network. SSIDs have a maximum character count of 32.

Does changing the SSID affect the network’s security?

Therefore, altering an SSID name can have a big impact on a hacker’s ability to access your system when accompanied with employing a strong password.

Last Updated : 23 Feb, 2024
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