ARCHIVED: What is an SSID?
SSID stands for Service Set Identifier, which is a 32-character sequence that uniquely identifies a wireless LAN (WLAN). In other words, the SSID is the name of the wireless network.
The significance of the SSID is not obvious until you examine the way it functions:
- It uniquely identifies a wireless network, which is of vital
importance in a wireless environment. A wireless computer or other
device sitting between a number of wireless access points (WAPs) can
"see" and broadcast to all of them. The SSID is what the computer or
device uses to identify the correct WAP.
- It acts as a "passkey" to a specific network; a WAP for a given wireless network won't accept network traffic from a wireless computer or other device unless it has the network's SSID in its packet headers.
In sum, the SSID is both what you use to identify a wireless network and what the wireless adapter and WAPs use to communicate with each other.
Last modified on September 19, 2013.