Whether you’re just the curious sort or you’re dying to know if your brilliant idea for a prank Wi-Fi name will work, here’s the scoop on the minimum and maximum SSID lengths.
The SSID, or Service Set Identifier, is the name assigned to a Wi-Fi network. It’s written out, typically, as an alphanumeric string.
Maybe you’re still using the one that came pre-applied to your router, like
TP-LINK_2058JE9 or maybe you swapped it out for something personal, like
StevesHouse , or something funny, like
FBI Surveillance Van.
How Long Can a Wi-FI Network Name (SSID) Be?
But how long, or short for that matter, can you make it? Let’s get to the bottom of it and go right to the source. The source, in this case, is the 802.11 wireless standards maintained by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
From the most current revision of the standards document, as of July 2022, 802.11-2021, we can see the size range of the SSID value.
You might not trot out the word “octet” a lot in your day-to-day life, but it means a group of eight. In this case, eight bits. It’s used in computer documentation to avoid the ambiguity of the word “byte.”
How that relates to the matter at hand is this: each character of the text you’re reading right now, and the text you might use for your SSID, is represented by individual characters that are each 8 bits in size.
So the SSID name field length is 0 to 32 characters. The extreme minimal side of that range is inaccessible for our purposes—as noted in the documentation excerpt above, the SSID length of 0 is reserved for special functions, and you can’t set an empty SSID on your router.
You could, however, make your SSID a single character like
X or even a blank space like
The upper threshold is a firm one, however, because any value exceeding 32 characters is invalid. You won’t be able to save it to your router settings, nor will you be able to enter it on a client device.
An example of the longest possible SSID you could use is
LongSSIDNamesAreMoreThanPossible, which is 32 characters on the dot.
Spaces are valid in SSID names too, so something like
With Spaces Your SSID Feels Long is both valid and a bit easier on the eyes.
Be Careful About the Characters You Use
Speaking of spaces, this last bit of SSID trivia might surprise you. The character set and the organization of those characters are not, in anyway, enforced by the 802.11 standards. The only rule for the SSID is that it is 1-32 characters.
While your particular router might enforce rules like only allowing basic ASCII characters such as
0-9 , spaces, and some common special characters like
_ , that’s a manufacturer choice, not a restriction imposed by the standard. In theory, any character you can input is valid.
Be warned: Using extended character sets can create readability issues for client devices that can’t display the characters you’ve selected.
Sometimes, even without dipping into extended character sets, odd Wi-Fi SSIDs can cause unexpected issues too. So it’s never a bad idea, whether your SSID is long or short, to stick to simple alphabet-based SSIDs like
I Love Really Really Long SSIDs.
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