What’s an SSID (Service Set Identifier)? As defined in about.com:
An SSID is the name of a wireless local area network (WLAN). All wireless devices on a WLAN must employ the same SSID in order to communicate with each other.
If I read correctly, here are some of the golden rules of securing a wireless network:
- Change the router’s default admin name and password.
- Enable wireless encryption.
- Disable SSID broadcast.
I completed the first two earlier on, and found myself at #3. Why should we disable the SSID? Again, to quote about.com:
Wardrivers (aka hackers) sometimes scan for the SSIDs being broadcast by wireless LANs, then set that SSID on their client to attempt to join that WLAN. Knowing the SSID name does not necessarily mean that rogue clients will be able to join the network. It depends on how the network administrator has configured their WLAN, particularly WEP security.
OK, so I oblige and dutifully disable SSID broadcasting in my Linksys WRT54G2. Male offspring boots up his computer yesterday and complains that he can’t connect at all. I’d forgotten about this SSID thing and my stress levels rise up bit by bit—rats. At times like this, it pays to step back as I’ve always said. So I go to the hotel and play some music. And mid-way through my playing it hits my brain like a sledgehammer—you disabled SSID broadcast, dummy.
Went straight to my computer after returning from the hotel. Enabled SSID in my router and male offspring was able to connect; right, got that. Then disabled the SSID. Rebooted male offspring’s computer and he was still able to connect. One more issue resolved!