Why You Shouldn’t Deploy More Than 3 SSIDs

SSIDs (service set identifiers) are, in non-technical terms, the names of WiFi networks.  These are the names that pop up when you try to log onto the WiFi in a coffee shop, hotel, or business.  Each SSID creates its own overhead (network traffic) as it transmits probes and beacons to devices, and receives probes.  In some estimates, this beaconing and probing can make up to 7-10% of airtime utilization.  Multiply that percentage by the number of SSIDs on the network and it’s easy to see that too many SSIDs can quickly clog the network, degrading its performance. 

What does “too many” mean?  Well, having more than one SSID isn’t bad as they can be used to provide different levels of wireless access to different users and devices, but, to reduce overhead, it would be best to deploy no more than 3 SSIDs.  

  • SSID 1 can be enabled with strong identification and user management policies.  This becomes the most secure network and is for employees, staff, faculty, etc.
  • SSID 2 can be used for Guests.  Enable it with either an open or pre-shared key; this SSID can also require an agreement of terms and conditions before a user can successfully connect.
  • SSID 3 can be your catchall for any other devices, including IoT devices such as thermostats or smartplugs.

If any device needs additional control, establish policies on the WLAN that identify the characteristics of devices and limit network access without requiring an additional SSID.  Wyebot’s Wireless Intelligence Platform ™ can identify each device on a network, the packets it transmits, and the SSID it connects to.  With this level of visibility it is possible to control the network and successfully manage all devices securely without creating extraneous SSIDs.

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