Note: This post is part of our series on “How to Secure Your Home Wireless Network“. The series contains a 10 step guide to securing your home wireless network.
The wireless access point or router typically broadcasts the network name (SSID) over the air at regular intervals. This feature was designed for businesses and mobile hotspots where wireless clients may roam in and out of range. For the home user, this roaming feature is unnecessary, and it increases the likelihood someone will try to log in to your home network. Fortunately, most wireless access points allow the SSID broadcast feature to be disabled by the network administrator. Your SSID name can be manually inputted into your devices to prevent the need for SSID Broadcasts to be enabled.
Although most routers have different methods to change the SSID details, the general steps are as follows. Incase of difficulty, consult your Wireless Router manual or customer support.
1. Find your LAN IP Address
You can identify the LAN IP Address of your machine by going to Start -> Run and execute the command “cmd”. Inside this command prompt you can execute the command “ipconfig /all”
2. Access Your Router
Once you have the IP Address for your router, we can use this to access the router and change settings. We need to open the router’s settings page via the browser by visiting http://192.168.0.1/ (Use the IP you found in step 1 ). This will prompt you for a username and password which is usually “admin/admin”, “admin/password” (or the Password set by you in: Wireless Security: How to Change Default Administrator Usernames and Passwords). Sometimes these fields are left blank, but the best way to know is the user manual.
3. Disable SSID Broadcast
Once you have logged into the router control panel, you need to look for a section such as “Wireless” or “Security” etc. Depending on the make of your router, you will find the settings for “Wireless SSID Broadcast”. By default these settings are enabled, however by simply selecting “Disable”, you can disable this functionality.
4. You’re Done!
Thats it, you’re router will no longer broadcast its SSID to all users and discourage any SSID based attacks and confusion.
Now you need to reconnect all of your wireless devices to the SSID name and when prompted for a password, enter the password set by you in Wireless Security: How to Enable WEP/WPA Encryption.
Now we recommend that you go back to our series on “How to Secure Your Home Wireless Network” and implement all the remaining recommendations into your router.