SSID stands for service set identifier. When you set up a wireless LAN at your home using an access point, the name of the network is called SSID. The access point or broadband router (with the inbuilt access point) comes with a predefined default SSID. Usually, all the models of a specific make come with the same SSID network name. Typically, these names are same as the name of your routers such as Linksys, NETGEAR, TP-LINK, Dlink, or just default. But why should you change your router’s network name? Let’s see ahead.

Reasons to change router network name or default SSID?

To avoid confusion

When you set up a new wireless router, it is essential to change the default network name. The chances are that your neighbours use same wireless routers as you.

As all the routers come with the same default name, this can cause a lot of confusion. Imagine trying to connect to your wireless network when you see 5 networks with the same SSID as yours.

To ensure higher wifi security

Default SSID has several security concerns as well. Using default or common SSID makes your WPA2 encryption weaker. The encryption algorithm used in WPA2 uses the network name as well.

Hackers use password cracking dictionaries which include commonly used SSID. Not changing your SSID to something unique makes the hacker’s job easier.

To prevent being a target for hackers

On a different node, not changing your default SSID makes you appear clueless about technology. This gives the impression that your network is vulnerable and is an easy target.

Check if your router’s SSID is a default name and change it a unique name for clarity and security purpose.

Syntax rules for SSID

SSID is a case-sensitive string. This means, “xyz” is considered different from “XyZ”. SSID can allow up to 32 bytes which is equivalent to 32 characters. SSID comprises of letters and numbers.

Special characters such as space, period, underscore, etc. are also allowed as all new routers come with firmware support for the use of the commonly used special characters with WPA/WPA2 encryption.

However, it is strongly recommended that the use of pipe character (vertical line – |) is avoided.

Choosing an SSID

SSID can have up to 32 characters comprising of letters and numbers. While selecting an SSID, take care of the following conditions:

  1. Choose a name that is uncommon and unique to your network. This is so that the name is not shared by any nearby networks or other networks that you may encounter.
  2. Your network name should not contain any personal information. For example, don’t use your name, date of birth, etc., in the SSID.
  3. Pick an SSID that contains both numbers and letters. This is because it will make WPA2 encryption harder to crack.
  4. Choose a long name. Again, this helps with the encryption of the network.

When should you change your network’s name or SSID?

You can change your network name at any time. However, if you have a wireless connection setup, changing the SSID will cause all the wireless devices to disconnect.

To access the network, the wireless devices will have to rejoin the network using the new name.  Other than this, changing the network name does not affect network’s operation at all.