A Service Set Identifier is basically the name of your wifi base station that is visible to the public.
It can be a sequence of characters which makes your wifi base station stand out and relatable. It can also be referred to as the network name. It allows local users to identify a particular network.
Whenever you open your wifi settings, you will see there are tons of wifi network names.
Depending on your places like home or office, you will see the names that represent a particular organization of an individual’s hotspot.
As an example, a private company may set its network name to ABC Corporate while an individual’s service set identifier could be set as get your own wifi.
On home based wifi networks, a broadband router or a modem is the one that stores the SSID but it allows administrators to change it.
The best part is that routers can broadcast the set name to help the other wireless clients find and connect to that particular network.
What an SSID looks like?
An SSID is always case-sensitive text-based string which at maximum can be 32 characters long and can have a mixture of the letter or even numbers.
It is recommended to not have a default network name as it may reveal the router’s manufacturer and will make it easy for hackers to make use of loopholes and steal your information.
All the brands that make routers have a default SSID like Xfinity wifi, Linksys, NETGEAR, Dlink etc. No routers as such have a default name because it can be changed anyway.
How devices use SSIDs?
Whenever you use a device to connect to a device such as a phone or a laptop, it scans the whole area for wifi base stations that are operating in that particular area.
Once the list is shown, now the user can initiate a new network connection by selecting any name.
Not just that, be selecting any option out of the given, we can even check the wireless security options enabled. If you look closely, you will find a lock symbol associated with the network name.
It shows that it has security enabled which is usually WPA2.
This can be changed if the users enter the default login settings by entering the IP address 10.0.0.0.1 in the local browser. The IP may change as per the router.
Nowadays almost all the wireless devices have a track of the various networks a user joins along with the connection preferences.
A user can set up a device such that it automatically joins networks that have a certain SSID by simply saving the setting in their profiles.
In simple terms, once you are connected the device usually asks if you want to save the network or wish to reconnect automatically in the future.
You can even setup a connection manually.
As a rising trend, most wireless routers these days offer the option to disable SSID broadcasting which is done to improve Wi-Fi network security because then it gets important for the client to remember two passwords.
Issues with SSIDs
There are many issues with SSID such as:
- As we talked earlier, by merely looking at the SSID, you can decipher if it has security options enabled or not. If a network name doesn’t have wireless security enabled then anyone random can easily connect by knowing the SSID
- If you are using a default SSID then there is a chance of getting confused as you can imagine if there more than five network names all with the string Netgear, it will get hard to know which one should you connect. In a usual scenario whenever your device comes in contact with two similar network names, it will connect to the one that has a strong signal. There can also be a case where a person might get dropped from their own home network and get connected to a neighbor because they don’t have any protection setting enabled.
- Your SSID for you to understand and remember your wifi base station. If you have quirky names then you are calling trouble for yourself as it can infuriate the hackers to steal your information.
- Often times, an SSID can contain publicly visible offensive language too.