Anyone that uses a wireless router for home or office purposes knows that anyone with a wireless card and is in range will be able to see that network regardless if it is encrypted or not. If you are someone like me then you don’t want your neighbors seeing and possibly trying to gain access to your network.
The name that people see for your network is known as its SSID (Service Set Identifier) which is usually set to a default depending on your router. Changing the SSID to something more familiar will help some, but since Windows XP automatically searches out nearby SSIDs, displays their name, and lets you easily connect to them, you need to tell your router to not broadcast its real name, essentially making it invisible. Since you will know the real name, you will be able to connect your own computers to the network with no hassle.
All routers are going to display their controls a bit differently, but they all work the same fundamentally. I’m going to give the steps using a Linksys router, but if you have NetGear or 3com you should be able to figure it out just easily.
1. Login to the router by opening your browser and going to http://192.168.1.1 . If you have never logged in the default login/pw is admin/admin, you can change this password in the router settings later if you like.
2. Click on the Wireless tab and in the Wireless Network Name (SSID) Box type a new name for your network, something unique that can’t easily be guessed is preferred.
3. In the Wireless SSID Broadcast section select disabled.
4. It is also a good idea to periodically change the channel on which your wireless is broadcast. You can do this in the Wireless Channel drop-down list.
5. Click Save Settings
6. Now you just need to tell your computer to connect to the SSID you assigned your network. To do this click on the small wireless icon in the notification area. Once that opens click on the Change Advanced Settings and then select the Wireless Network tab. Click the Add button in Preferred Network section and type in your unique SSID and click ok. Now your computer will know that network without seeing the SSID being broadcast and you’re done.