What Is An SSID: Everything You Need To Know

What Is An SSID Number & How to Find Yours (2024 Guide)

Published on: January 2, 2023
Last Updated: January 2, 2023

What Is An SSID Number & How to Find Yours (2024 Guide)

Published on: January 2, 2023
Last Updated: January 2, 2023

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You may not realize it but you use an SSID every day.

In many cases you don’t even think about it, your phone or computer handles everything for you.

A Service Set IDentifier (SSID) is the name of your wi-fi network.

If you select the wi-fi option on your device you’ll be given a list of names. These are SSIDs, that’s all the possible wi-fi connections within range of your phone.

The SSID allows you to identify and choose the network that you wish to connect to.

In most cases, this is your own network which you know is safe.

It’s important to understand what is an SSID, how they work, and why you need to make sure yours is secure.

What Is An SSID Number And How To Find Your SSID

An SSID is effectively your gateway to the internet. When you open your wi-fi connections you’ll see a list of names, but not all make sense.

Each of these is a network and the SSID simply identifies each one.

In short, if there are multiple wi-fi connections the SSID allows you to connect to yours.

When you purchase a router which allows you to connect to the internet wirelessly, the wi-fi network will already be created.

The router manufacturer will have given the network a name. That’s the SSID.

The name will be a default option, usually, the manufacturer’s name followed by a set of numbers.

You’ll find the SSID name on your router and it will also show the password.

All you have to do is select the SSID from the list on your phone and enter the password to connect.

You usually only have to do this once, your device will remember the connection and automatically connect for you.

The SSID, or name of your network, can be changed. It can be renamed anything with no minimum length and a maximum of 32 characters.

If the router isn’t brand new and you don’t know the network name or password, it is possible to reset the box and use the default identifiers.

As mentioned, these are usually stored on a sticker on the bottom or side of the box.

To connect, you simply need to locate the right SSID on your phone or other device. That means turning your wi-fi on first.

1. On Windows

Wi-Fi icon

In the bottom right of your computer screen, you’ll see the wi-fi symbol.

Select this and you’ll be presented with a list of SSIDs, you can choose the name on your router or the network name you have changed your router to.

2. Using A macOS

Wi-Fi icon macos

If you have a mac then the wi-fi option is usually at the top right of the screen.

You’ll find a list of possible networks. The one you are currently connected to will have a blue dot next to it.

3. With iOS

SSID on iOS

On your Apple phone find the settings option and then select wi-fi from the list.

You’ll see a list of SSIDs and, if you’re already connected to one, it will have an indicator next to it.

4. Using An Android

SSID on Android

Android phones work in the same way as Apple phones. Simply go into the settings menu and then the wi-fi options to find the SSID list.

Again, the one you are connected to will be indicated. 

Issues Connected With Multiple SSIDs Having The Same Name

Manufacturers generally create default SSIDs and passwords. This is so that the wi-fi is configured. You get easy access and don’t need to set up the wi-fi configuration.

However, this does mean that every router they make is likely to have the same SSID and password.

There are several issues associated with leaving your network on the default options.

1. Difficult To Find Your Network

Some of your neighbours will likely have chosen the same router as you, especially if it is issued by your internet supplier.

If people don’t change their SSID, when you open the list of SSIDs you’ll see several with the same name.

It will be virtually impossible to know which is your network and your device is likely to connect to the one with the strongest signal.  

It may not seem like a problem as you’ll still be online. But, it will create security problems.

2. Security Issues

The biggest security issue is that you’ll either be on someone else’s network and there won’t be any security.

Or, you’ll be leaving your network open to attack.

Hackers constantly search for easy targets. If you have the original SSID then you probably have the original password.

A hacker can get into your network with the default names and then see all the information on your devices.

In short, they can still your information and cause an array of problems.

Securing Your SSID

To protect yourself and your information you should secure your network. The simplest way to do this is to change the SSID name and password from the default.

Of course, you may want to record this information somewhere so that you can access it in the future if you’ve forgotten the details.

It’s surprisingly easy to change your SSID.

  • Look at the router or instruction manual for a log-in location. This is likely to be an IP address such as 192.1.1.1
  • Connect your computer to the router via an ethernet cable or wirelessly with the default settings
  • Enter the IP address into your browser and the password when asked
  • You’ll now be in the administrative section of your router
  • Look through the menu options to find the wi-fi configuration – enter the submenu
  • Choose the option to change SSID
  • Enter your new SSID and password
  • Save – you’ll be kicked off the network and have to reconnect with the new SSID and password

It’s important to note there is also an option to hide your SSID. It’s a good idea to tick this box.

If people can’t see the name of your SSID it’s much harder for them to hack it.

While you’re in the router settings you can also change the default administrative log-in password.

It’s a good idea to do this to help prevent anyone else from accessing your router and changing the settings.

It’s also a good idea to change your password regularly to prevent anyone from guessing it.

To get the best possible security, you should also add a VPN to your router.

It’s advisable to go with the one you have to pay for instead of a free one. Choose one that has a good reputation, such as NordVPN.

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This will make it impossible for anyone to see your IP address or the data you’re sending, helping to keep your financial and personal information safe.

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Choosing The Right Name For Your SSID

The good news is that it’s easy to choose a new name for your network. Once you’re in the settings you can call it anything you like.

However, you do need to consider several things before you decide upon a name.

1. Avoid Identifiers

If your network name is visible and you use something that makes you or your physical address identifiable, you’re putting yourself at risk unnecessarily.

Avoid using any house names, surnames, and even postcodes that can identify where your SSID is based.

2. Remember Visitors

It’s possible to choose any name for your SSID. Funny names are often a good way to identify your network, especially if there are a lot of networks in your area.

But, if you have visitors they are likely to want or need to connect to your internet.

You need to ensure the network name you have chosen is amusing without being embarrassing or insulting.

3. Easy To Remember

Your device will generally connect by itself. But, if you need to manually connect for any reason you’re going to want an easy SSID to remember

It makes sense to make it personal without using any identifiers. This will ensure you can find the right network to connect to when needed. 

It’s worth noting most modern routers have a WPS option. This allows others to connect to your network without telling them your password.

You’ll need to press the WPS button on your router and choose the SSID on the device within 1-2 minutes of each other or it won’t work.

Final Thoughts

Everyone should understand what is an SSID to keep themselves safe when online. 

The concept is simple, the SSID is a gateway to the internet.

You just need to ensure that the gateway is easily identifiable by you and that it’s only those you choose who can go through it.

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This can be easily achieved by giving your network a unique name and password.

Just remember not to use identifiable details in the name.

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Written by Trevor Cooke

Trevor Cooke is an accomplished technology writer with a particular focus on privacy and security. He specializes in topics such as VPNs, encryption, and online anonymity. His articles have been published in a variety of respected technology publications, and he is known for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and accessible manner.

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