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What is an SSID and how can you find yours?

May 28, 2020 · 3 min read

What is an SSID and how can you find yours?

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.

How does SSID work?

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 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

Many routers have a sticker on the bottom or side with the default SSID. That won’t help if it’s been changed, however. Here’s how to find SSID on different operating systems (just don’t forget to turn on your Wi-Fi):

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.

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 check mark next to it.

Android:

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

iOS:

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

If you want to connect to your own Wi-Fi 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.

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 to add extra security to your browsing — especially if you occasionally use public Wi-Fi.

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Carlos Martinez
Carlos Martinez successVerified author

Carlos 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.


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