This article is one in a series to assist in the setup, troubleshooting, and maintenance of Cisco Small Business products. Disable SSID Broadcast on a Cisco Small Business VoIP Router.
Q. How do I disable the SSID broadcast on my Cisco Small Business VoIP router?
One way to secure your wireless network is to disable the SSID broadcast. This procedure prevents other users from detecting your SSID or your wireless network name when they attempt to view available wireless networks in your area. In order to disable the SSID broadcast, complete these steps:
Disable SSID Broadcast
Access the router’s web-based setup page. For instructions, click here .
When the router’s web-based setup page appears, click Wireless, look for WirelessSSID Broadcast, and select Disable.
Reconnect to your wireless network by creating a profile on the wireless computer’s configuration utility.
Configuring Hidden SSIDs
The Cisco Meraki Enterprise Cloud Controller allows for you to hide one or more SSIDs, also known as “SSID Cloaking”. Hiding an SSID does not provide any security. Instead, Cisco Meraki recommends using WPA2-PSK or WPA2-Enterprise. One suggested use of hidden SSIDs is to reduce the “clutter” and prevent users from mistakenly trying to associate with an SSID to which they are not supposed to associate.
If you decide to use hidden SSIDs, please be aware that some users may need further technical support to properly configure and connect to an SSID that is not visible in common wireless network utilities. This can add extra work for IT administrators because they will have to go to each machine and manually configure the SSID, rather than telling users which network to connect to and the password.
To configure a hidden SSID, use the following steps:
- Navigate to Wireless > Configure > SSID availability
- Select the SSID you would like to manage
- For Visibility, choose Hide this SSID
- Save your changes
Connecting to Hidden SSIDs
Wireless clients passively scan the channels and listen to beacon frames sent by APs advertising their wireless networks (SSIDs). Clients collect these beacons to populate their available wireless networks list.
When the Visibility drop down is set to Hide this SSID under Wireless > Configure > SSID availability, a Cisco Meraki AP will send beacon frames for that wireless network using a null (blank) value which may be interpreted as “\000\000\000\000” (or similar) in a packet sniffing utility such as Wireshark. Therefore, the wireless network profile must be configured manually on the wireless client so they can connect.
When configuring the wireless profile on the client device, the SSID name and WPA2 passphrase are case sensitive and must be identical to how they are configured in Dashboard. If you do not have the SSID name value entered correctly on your wireless client, your device will not be able to receive a response from the AP when probing for the wireless network.