What is an SSID and how do I know which one belongs to my network?

SSID is an acronym for Service Set Identifier and it is the name used to identify the particular wireless network to which a user wants to connect. Some manufacturers of wireless networking equipment also refer to the SSID as the “network name”.

When you attempt to connect to a wireless network, your computer will search for all wireless networks within its range. If you live in a rural area  and have installed a wireless router in your home, that is likely the only SSID that will be included in the list. However, if you take your computer to a coffee shop located in a busy downtown area or business district, you may see several SSIDs for several wireless networks.

If you are attempting to connect to your own wireless router and there are several within range, follow the steps below to isolate your network’s SSID.

  1. Disable the wireless card on your computer. Many laptop models include a button or toggle switch for turning the wireless function off (commonly called “flight mode”). If you are unsure how to turn off your computer’s wireless function, please consult your User Guide or the manufacturer.
  2. Using an Ethernet (RJ-45) cable, connect your computer to one of the network ports on the back of the router. These ports are generally labeled 1 through 4, or are marked with a small computer-shaped symbol. Note: To avoid a disruption in connectivity, leave all other cables, such as the modem and power cables, connected in their existing positions.
  3. Open a web browser and enter in the address bar.
  4. Enter your username and password to access your router.
  5. Make any desired configuration changes, such as changing the SSID.
  6. Log out of the router.
  7. Disconnect Ethernet cable from your computer and the router.
  8. Re-activate your computer’s wireless function