If you are reading this article, then I am sure you need to find all the wireless networks that are broadcast in your area, including those which have hidden their SSID. So first you must know that what is a hidden network.
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What is Hidden Network?
All WI-FI networks broadcast Service Set Identifier (SSID) every 100 milliseconds to let other gadgets know about their presence. Well, some routers don’t broadcast their SSID because the hidden network option has been enabled. This option stops the broadcasting of the network’s SSID, which causes it to disappear and invisible to all the devices that connect to WIFI networks.
How to Scan for Hidden Networks
As hidden networks don’t broadcast their names, it doesn’t mean that they are completely hidden. They communicate with other networks, so it is possible to detect using a Wi-Fi network scanner named as NetSpot.
NetSpot is a licensed application, a wireless network analyzer that can instantly collect all the information of all the Wi-Fi networks broadcast in your area. If you desire advanced features like advanced visual analysis, planning of wireless networks, you could go for their Pro Version. But if you just want to discover the networks in your area, the Free version is good enough for you.
So here is the step-by-step guide for you to detect hidden Wi-Fi SSIDS by using NetSpot.
Step 1. Download and Install NetSpot:
The first step is simple, you just must download NetSpot Free Edition from their website. After downloading just install it by following their instructions. The installation will be over in a couple of seconds. Then Launch the application and you are good to go.
Step 2. Launching NetSpot: When you launch NetSpot, you will see a prompt that will ask you to upgrade to the Pro version. If you want to upgrade, just click on the Upgrade option else, just press Continue and you can use the app for free.
Step 3. Analyzing Networks:
You must wait for a couple of seconds until it analyzes the wireless networks in your area and displays you all the Wi-Fi networks that it finds. For each Wi-Fi network, you will see the following details:
- Its BSSID or network name.
- A graph with the signal strength history.
- The security or type of encryption used.
- The alias of the network.
- The vendor of the device emitting wireless signal.
- The wireless band on which signal is emitted, the channel used, and the width of frequency channel (20, 40 or 80 MHz).
Step 4. Comparing Wi-Fi Networks:
Scroll down the list of Wi-Fi SSIDs and see what NetSpot has discovered. Write down those that interest you. Then, on your Windows laptop or mobile phone click or tap the Wi-Fi icon in the system tray area of the taskbar. You see a list with all the wireless networks that are not hidden.
Compare the list of SSIDs in NetSpot with those displayed by Windows, and those that show up only in NetSpot, are hidden by their owners. In my area, Netspot has detected a total of 20 SSIDs or network names. By comparison, Windows 10 detected only 8 wireless networks. Twelve wireless networks in our area are hidden.
Using NetSpot to Survey a Known Hidden Wi-Fi Network
NetSpot can also be used to survey a known hidden Wi-Fi network, which can be useful when setting up a home wireless network you don’t want your neighbors to see.
To survey a hidden Wi-Fi network with NetSpot:
- Connect to the hidden network.
- Open NetSpot and enter the Survey mode.
3. Add the hidden network.
4. Click Continue to proceed survey.
5. Analyse your survey results.
How many Hidden Wi-Fi networks did you find in your area?
If you have read my whole article about how can we detect hidden Wi-Fi using netspot, now it’s your job to use NetSpot to search for the hidden networks available in your area. Just share your experience with us, we are curious to know your side of the story.