How long can you make your Wi-Fi network name?

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Whether you’re just the curious type or dying to know if your brilliant idea for a joke Wi-Fi name will work, here’s the scoop on minimum and maximum SSID lengths.

SSID Basics

The SSID, or Service Set Identifier, is the name assigned to a Wi-Fi network. It is usually written as an alphanumeric string.

Maybe you’re still using the one that comes pre-installed on your router, like TP-LINK_2058JE9 or maybe you changed it to something personal, like StevesHouse or something fun, like WuTangLAN either FBI Surveillance Van.

How long can a Wi-FI network name (SSID) last?

But how long, or short for that matter, can you do it? Let’s go to the bottom and go directly 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 recent revision of the standards document, as of July 2022, 802.11-2021, we can see the size range of the SSID value.

A figure from the Wi-Fi standards documents, showing the values ​​for the sizes of the SSID elements.
IEEE

You may not repeat the word “octet” a lot in your everyday life, but it means a group of eight. In this case, eight bits. It is used in computer documentation to avoid the ambiguity of the word “byte”.

The way it 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 8 bits in size each. .

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Therefore, the length of the SSID name field is 0 to 32 characters. The extreme minimum side of that range is inaccessible for our purposes; as stated in the documentation excerpt above, the SSID length of 0 is reserved for special functions and you cannot configure an empty SSID on your router.

An example of the shortest possible SSID, a single character.
X, the SSID formerly known as NETGEAR-20HE295.

However, you could make your SSID a single character like X or even a blank space like   , but your router’s firmware may restrict you from using extremely small SSID values. That’s not due to compliance with 802.11 standards; it’s just a firmware choice made by some manufacturers. A minimum length of 2 characters generally applies, but can be longer.

However, the upper threshold is hard because any value that exceeds 32 characters is invalid. You will not be able to save it to your router settings, nor will you be able to enter it on a client device.

An example of a long SSID name of 32 characters.
This is not the best SSID in the world, it’s just a tribute.

An example of the longest possible SSID you could use is LongSSIDNamesAreMoreThanPossiblewhich is 32 characters o’clock.

Spaces are also valid in SSID names, so something like With Spaces Your SSID Feels Long is valid and a bit more pleasing to the eye.

Be careful what characters you use

Speaking of spaces, this latest SSID trivia might surprise you. The character set and the organization of those characters are in no way mandated by the 802.11 standards. The only rule for the SSID is that it is between 1 and 32 characters.

While your particular router may impose rules such as allowing only basic ASCII characters like A-Z , a-z , 0-9 spaces and some common special characters like ! Y _ , that is a choice of the manufacturer, not a restriction imposed by the standard. In theory, any character you can enter is valid.

Be careful: using extended character sets can create readability issues for client devices that cannot display the characters you’ve selected.

Sometimes, even without diving into extended character sets, weird Wi-Fi SSIDs can also cause unexpected problems. 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.