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Hidden SSIDs

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:

 

  1. Navigate to Wireless > Configure > SSID availability
  2. Select the SSID you would like to manage
  3. For Visibility, choose Hide this SSID
  4. 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.

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