What is an SSID, and what is it used for?

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what is ssid

Have you ever heard the term “SSID” and wondered what it is? The truth is, you may have already encountered this vague construct dozens of times in your life, without even realizing it. In this article, you will discover what “SSID” stands for and how to use it in everyday life. 

What is SSID?

A network SSID is the name given to the wireless network of your device. When you buy a new phone or a computer, it’s usually given a special name, which is visible on the list of Wi-Fi networks. SSID allows different devices in the area to find and identify yours. 

There are many different ways to locate and change the SSID. You can protect it with a Wi-Fi password or even hide it. Most often, it has around 32 characters, however, it could be shorter or longer. A default SSID consists of a company’s name and a set of numbers (sometimes letters).

Why do I need SSID?

The main role of SSID, apart from identifying the wireless network of the device, is to secure and protect the network from any unwanted connections. The SSID alone does not offer a sufficient level of protection, as anyone with access to Wi-Fi can connect to your router by finding its SSID.

This is why, apart from SSID, your device has two encryption protocols: WEP and WPA2. These two standards are essential in terms of wireless security and can be configured for any network. They allow setting up Wi-Fi passwords that must be entered to connect to a wireless network. The SSID code is nothing more than the security key protecting access to your network.

How to find your SSID?

To locate your SSID, you need to search for a special sticker that is often taped on the back or the underside of your router. On the sticker, you will find the name of your SSID and its password. As mentioned above, SSID on a router is usually a combination of 32 characters, including numbers and letters. When you find the SSID of your Wi-Fi,  take a photo of it, or write it down in your notebook so that it is easier for you to change its name or password on your device.

How to find SSID on Windows:

To begin with, find a Wi-Fi icon located in the bottom right corner, click on it, so it will show you a list of available networks (SSIDs). 

how to find ssid on windows icon example

Some people might need to click “^” to see it. Sometimes next to the icon, you may notice a letter “x”. In this case, first, you have to click it, and then choose the command “Wi-Fi Off”. In the next step, turn the Wi-Fi back on. 

If you are not connected to the network, look at the note where you have your SSID written down and find it in the list in the pop-up window. Being already connected to the Wi-Fi, you may only look for your network’s name. It should be found at the top of the list of networks. There will be a word “Connected” underneath its name.

A list of networks on Windows screenshot

How to find SSID on macOS:

In the first step, you have to click on the Wi-Fi icon that you will see in the upper right corner (make sure that the Wi-Fi is working). Next, you will see the list of networks (SSIDs) in your area, and you will be able to look for your network’s name. There should be a ✓ on the left side of it. Your network SSID is the name you see next to the ✓.  

How to find SSID on Android

First, on the home screen, choose the icon “Apps” and go to “Settings”. When you find Wi-Fi, tap on it and turn it on. It will automatically generate a list of networks around you. Choose your SSID’s name. Click on it, to connect your phone to this network. If your router SSID does not show, you can also add it manually. In that case, you need to click on “Add Wi-Fi Network” and enter the name of your SSID. Enter one of the security options : 

  • WEP
  • WPA / WPA2 / FT PSK
  • None

Give the password, if required, and click on “Save”. 

How to find SSID on iPhone

Open the settings and then go to the Wi-Fi section. In the next step, turn on Wi-Fi. After that, your phone will show you all the Wi-Fi networks available. 

Click on the name of the network that belongs to your router. Probably, you will be asked to enter your network’s password — this means you have to enter your SSID code. After you’re connected to the network, you’ll see a blue checkmark next to the network and the connected Wi-Fi icon in the right upper corner of your display.

How to turn my phone into a Wi-Fi Hotspot?

To set up a personal hotspot on your Android, go to your phone’s settings and choose the option “Mobile Hotspot & Tethering”. Click on the “HotSpot” to run your private Wi-Fi. 

To turn your iPhone into a hotspot, first, go to “Settings”. Then tap on “Personal Hotspot” and allow others to join your network. If you don’t see “Personal Hotspot” in settings, click on the cellular tab — now it should appear on your screen. Note your Wi-Fi password, so you won’t forget it.

As you can see, it’s very easy to find your router’s SSID. Wi-Fi settings can sometimes be misleading, so do not hesitate to look for help when you don’t understand something. 

Want to know more about websites and online security? Go to our blog to read about the best ways to protect your computer from snooping and your personal data from being stolen.

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