Usually when you buy a wireless router and plug it in, there is absolutely no security protection whatsoever. Most of them work right out of the box with only the default password set, do not encrypt data, do not use a network key, and broadcast the SSID publicly. If you’ve found this article, you’re probably trying to figure out how to make your wireless network more secure.
One simple way that you’ve probably read about is disabling the SSID broadcast for your wireless router. The SSID is actually the name of the wireless network, which by default is usually the name of the networking company, such as Netgear, Linksys, or D-Link. By turning off the broadcast, the name of the network will not show up on the Windows or Mac list of availablenetworks. Though it seems this method can provide extra security, it actually does not.
A good hacker has many tools that can detect wireless networks even if the SSID broadcast is disabled! Beyond hackers, disabling SSID can lead to more connection problems and will require a lot more work for every device you want to connect to the network.
If you live in an apartment, condo, dorm, etc where other people live very close by and you’re worried about other people using your Internet, the best protection is enabling WEP or WPA encryption. However, if you have other reasons to disable the SSID, then read on below.
Disable SSID Broadcast
Unfortunately, each router brand has the disable SSID option under different menus! I’ll go ahead and try to give directions for each of the major brands since that’ll take care of 99% of the wireless users. In order to do this, you’ll have to logon to your router to configure it. You can get the IP address of the router by going to Start, choosing Run, typing cmd, clicking OK and then typing in ipconfig at the command prompt.
The router IP address is your Default Gateway, in my case, 10.0.1.10. Go ahead and open IE and type that number with dots into the address bar. You can find the login information with the instructions that came with the router or on the back or bottom of the router.
For D-link routers you’re going to click on Wireless and then click on the Home tab. You’ll see the first option is called Wireless Radio, select the Off radio button.
It seems to be pretty much the same for Linksys routers, usually click on Wireless and then select Basic Wireless Settings and select the Disable radio button.
For Netgear, you need to login and you need to find the Advanced Wireless Settings dialog. Here you’ll see a checkbox named SSID Broadcast Enable or Enable Wireless Router Radio. Uncheck it to disable broadcasting.