How to Disable SSID Broadcast on Your Wireless Router

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 available networks. 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, 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.

D-Link Routers

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.

dlink wireless radio

LinkSys Routers

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.

linksys wireless radio

Netgear Routers

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.

netgear ssid disable

If you have another brand of wireless router, try to click through some of the menus and you’ll find it pretty easily usually. Have any questions? Post a comment! Thanks!

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Comments [8]

  1. Joel says:

    Well this might be a good idea but sometimes when you disable a SSID the computer can't connect even if you know the SSID. I prefer to keep the SSID on while securing the router the regular way using encryption. Also, you can limit the router connection to registered MAC addresses only.

  2. Kevin says:

    I think the D-Link directions are incorrect. If you turn off the radio, you are turning off the wireless signal and it will result in making it simply a router without wireless functionality.

  3. Jan says:

    My D-Link says not to turn off SSID Broadcasting to maintain DHCP compatibility. Now what to do!

  4. Indie says:

    Note that turning off SSID broadcasting will make it impossible for most devices to connect to your wireless network like printers, game consoles, etc.

    However, if they are plugged in directly to the wireless router, they should work fine. And DHCP should have nothing to do with SSID broadcasting.

  5. Peter says:

    Hi, I have disabled the SSID because someone got onto my connection and downloaded 4.8GB in 24 hours, but now I have the problem that if I manually disconnect the connection, I cant find it again to reconnect !! Can you help? My system is a windows XP Professional.

  6. Mayank says:

    Hi, does disabling SSID Broadcast imply, disabling of beacon frames OR the entire beacon frame is transmitted by AP without the SSID mentioned in it?

  7. Robert says:

    I have a new EA6300 Linksys Router,and no where in the setup can I find anything that refers to SSID Broadcast!!! So does this router have an SSID Broadcast Function that can be disabled?? If so tell me what part of the setup will I find it!!!!! My old E2500 has this function and is easy to disable but not the NEW EA Series routers. So please tell me if this router has this function and a step by step instructions on how to disable it.

    Thanks, Robert

  8. richard cote says:

    I have a Netgear router and it says if I turn off SSID, it will no longer work!?

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