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Internet, Networking, and Wireless Discussion of networking, internet, and wireless including Apple's Airport products.

Question about contradictory advise in FAQs


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BluesForDan

 
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Quote:
Another means of securing a wireless network is to choose to disable “SSID broadcast”... It’s highly recommended that you do not disable SSID broadcast.
Um, okay. Is there anybody else who sees a contradiction here? I'm thinking of getting a printer with a wireless connection for the house, and I'm totally new to networking. Doing a little research before I start belting out questions.
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesForDan View Post
Um, okay. Is there anybody else who sees a contradiction here? I'm thinking of getting a printer with a wireless connection for the house, and I'm totally new to networking. Doing a little research before I start belting out questions.
Like you said...you're new to networking!

The SSID is the name of your network (wireless or wired). So let's say the name or SSID of your home network is "Fred". If "SSID Broadcast" is enabled...and you're using a wireless router...then everyone within the router's range will be able to see your wireless network's name "Fred". If you have a password setup for "Fred"...they cannot access your network.

If you choose to disable "SSID broadcast"...then your wireless router will not broadcast your network's name (Fred).

By not broadcasting your network's SSID (Fred)...this (in some small way) can help to enhance the security of your network...since folks can't even see your networks name. The downside to this is...you then have to manually enter your networks name (and password) each time you sign onto your network.

Is there a contradiction in the info you quoted...maybe...maybe not. It seems more of an opinion to me...rather than a fact. I'm really not sure why the person that posted that said, "It’s highly recommended that you do not disable SSID broadcast."...other than if you forget your networks name you won't be able to log into it.

HTH,

- Nick

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cwa107

 
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It's because your network name is still visible to WiFi scanners. So while it won't be visible to casual users, anyone with a modicum of knowledge about WiFi can still see it. So it affords very little security while making it harder for your clients to find and maintain a connection, particularly in areas of weak signal.

OS X, in particular, seems to have issues with hidden SSIDs. So my advice is to not disable it, lest you give yourself a false sense of security and cause yourself more headache than its worth.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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BluesForDan

 
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can I leave SSID on and have it set up for a password?
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cwa107

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesForDan View Post
can I leave SSID on and have it set up for a password?
Yes, setup your wireless router to use WPA2 security and it will allow you to create a passphrase. This is the preferred method of securing a wireless network.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwa107 View Post
It's because your network name is still visible to WiFi scanners. So while it won't be visible to casual users, anyone with a modicum of knowledge about WiFi can still see it. So it affords very little security while making it harder for your clients to find and maintain a connection, particularly in areas of weak signal.
Yeah...that's why I mentioned that disabling SSID broadcasting could "in some small way" improve security...but for the folks that REALLY want to do find your network...they'll find it with or without SSID broadcasting.

I think maybe one way disabling SSID broadcasting can be helpful is to discourage network "leeching"...by other users who may not be that computer savvy...but do know how to connect to networks via their Airport (for example).

But then again...it's usually pretty silly not to have as password on a wireless network...to prevent "leeching", and other unauthorized access.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
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IvanLasston

 
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But hiding the SSID does nothing for leaching. If that is all you do - it is extremely easy to find the SSID. As cwa said - You are 1 scanning program away from finding the name of the SSID. It becomes just a royal pain because when something disconnects you have to go through the reconnect sequence - typing in the SSID name - connect etc.

By far - you are better off broadcasting SSID and enabling WPA2 with a strong password rather than trying to disable SSID for any reason.
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