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What is an SSID and how can you find yours?

What is SSID and what does it stand for? SSID stands for Service Set IDentifier and is your network’s name. If you open the list of Wi-Fi networks on your laptop or phone, you’ll see a list of SSIDs. Wireless router or access points broadcast SSIDs so nearby devices can find and display any available networks. Learn how they work and how to find yours below.

Karolis Bareckas

Karolis Bareckas

What is an SSID and how can you find yours?

SSIDs can be up to 32 characters in length, but there are no restrictions for minimum size.

Typically, manufacturers create default SSIDs by combining a company's name with random numbers or letters. Depending on your router brand, the default SSID names could look something like this: TP-Link_015040, netgear37, Linksys00042, etc.

Changing your SSID and password from the default is usually a good idea. Similar default SSIDs can cause confusion. If you set a custom SSID, you can name your home “The Bat Cave”, “Unbreakable Fortress”, or however you like. Don’t expose your personal details in the SSID, such as your home address or full name.

How to find SSID

How to find SSID on router:

You can usually find the SSID on your router printed on a sticker on the bottom or side. That won’t help if someone has changed your router SSID, however. The majority of default browsers will follow this format. Any router worth their salt will be protected by WEP, WPA/WPA2 or even a WPS PIN. These are a default form of security for anyone connecting to a router — they require the user to enter a password in order to access the router’s internet. Here’s how to find SSID on different operating systems (just don’t forget to turn on your Wi-Fi):

How to find SSID on Windows:

  1. Click on the Wi-Fi icon located on the bottom right corner and it will open a list of available networks (SSIDs).
  2. An SSID you are connected to is shown at the top of the window.
SSID on Windows

How to find SSID on macOS:

  1. Click on the Wi-Fi icon located on the upper right corner to open a list of available networks (SSIDs).
  2. The network you are connected to will have a blue Wi-Fi icon next to it.
SSID on macOS

How to find SSID on Android:

  1. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi.
  2. An SSID you are connected to will be shown above Connected.
SSID on Android

How to find SSID on iOS:

  1. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi.
  2. The network name (SSID) you are connected to will have a check mark next to it.

If you want to connect to your own wireless network but don’t know your SSID, the best option is to connect your router to the computer via ethernet cable and log into its web interface. We do not advise trying to guess — that’s the perfect way to fall for an evil twin attack.

What’s the point of hiding your SSID?

You can also change the settings on your router and turn off your SSID broadcast so it can’t be seen publicly. However, it isn’t a significant cybersecurity measure. While nobody will be able to see your SSID if you hide it, the traffic from your network can still be tracked with the right tools. It won’t hide your IP either.

To connect a new device to your Wi-Fi after hiding the SSID, you’ll have to configure your wireless settings manually.

What happens if there are multiple Wi-Fi networks with the same SSID?

As long as your device is connected to Wi-Fi, there’s no problem having multiple networks with the same SSID number within the vicinity. However, if your device disconnects and then tries to reconnect, this can cause some confusion, as it will pick the network with the strongest signal.

If those SSID names have unique passwords, your device won’t be able to connect and that’s the end of the story. But if there’s no password set, they can connect to a completely different network. This would allow criminals to monitor your internet traffic, steal your passwords, credit card details, and personal data.

What is a good name for your SSID?

Many choose to alter the SSID of their router as soon as they get it. If you live in a densely populated part of the world, it’s easier to find your Wi-Fi router name if it’s something personal you recognize — rather than the standard name that plenty of others might share.

When it comes to creative Wi-Fi names, it’s easy to get carried away with personal jokes and pranks. Remember that anyone visiting the house will probably want to connect to your internet, so making the name too raunchy may not seem like a good idea.

The best Wi-Fi network names are succinct and easy to recognize among a sea of jumbled letters and numbers — nothing identifying, however. Funny Wi-Fi names can also achieve that, but you may also be a source of ridicule with all those that can spot your SSID name.

Securing your network

We recommend changing your Wi-Fi password regularly as you can’t be sure if somebody is not sucking up your data. Always use a strong password and keep the router’s firmware up to date.

You can also set up a VPN on your router and improve your digital security. NordVPN hides your IP address and encrypts traffic, so nobody can monitor your activity without your knowledge. This secures you against hackers, as well as data-harvesting third parties.

When you install a VPN on your router, it protects all devices connected to the internet in your household. Of course, you can also install the app on every gadget individually and secure your traffic wherever you go. NordVPN operates more than 5500 servers in 59 countries, providing users with top speeds and multiple security features.

Try NordVPN free for 30 days.

Protect your router with a VPN

Karolis Bareckas
Karolis Bareckas Karolis Bareckas
Karolis is a tech geek who writes about cybersecurity, online privacy, and the latest gadgets. When not rattling his keyboard, he’s always eager to try a new burrito recipe or explore a new camping spot.