On this page Apple says the following:

SSID (Service Set Identifier—Wi-Fi network name)

The SSID, or network name, identifies your Wi-Fi network to users and other Wi-Fi devices. It is case sensitive.

Set to: Any unique name.

Details: Choose a name that's unique to your network and isn't shared by other nearby networks or other networks you are likely to encounter. If your router came with a default SSID (network name), it's especially important that you change it to a different, unique name. Some common default SSID names to avoid are "linksys", "netgear", "NETGEAR", "dlink", "wireless", "2wire", and "default".

If your SSID isn't unique, Wi-Fi devices will have trouble identifying your network. This could cause them to fail to automatically connect to your network, or to connect to other networks sharing the same SSID. Also, it might prevent Wi-Fi devices from using all routers in your network (if you have more than one Wi-Fi router), or prevent them from using all available bands (if you have a dual-band Wi-Fi router).

(emphasis mine).

I've been always wondering if this could be the case in real life?

Are WiFi devices connecting to the remembered access points using their SSID, or BSSID?

To avoid the security hole that is pointed out by Apple, where someone puts WiFi honeypots named netgear, linksys to mass-grab the passwords, (taking advantage of devices whose owners have devices that will try to auto-connect to such a network), I'd imagine the devices should connect to a BSSID, and the SSID would be only displayed to the user to have friendly UX.

But maybe I'm wrong and the devices really do connect by SSID?

  • 2
    you should take a look at the wifi pineapple ... it mimics your known SSID
    – schroeder
    Sep 24, 2016 at 21:04
  • you can also try mana toolkit, github.com/sensepost/mana, great tool. We ported it here also: github.com/offensive-security/kali-nethunter/wiki/…
    – jmingov
    Sep 25, 2016 at 11:36
  • 2
    Devices do connect by SSID. The problem with BSSIDs is that large WiFi networks (think corporate buildings or college campuses) are composed of many access points that have different BSSIDs, so you will not be able to roam if you connect by BSSID. BSSIDs can also still be spoofed.
    – tlng05
    Sep 25, 2016 at 14:14

2 Answers 2


Devices connect to a Wifi network through SSID. It's because that each BSSID can have multiple SSIDs(for example, one for home users, another one for guests, and so on...) and had they been connecting through BSSID, they wouldn't know which SSID to choose.

Also, in large Wifi networks, where more than one BSSIDs are required to cover a large area, a single SSID is chosen(with the same credentials), i.e, multiple BSSIDs broadcast a single SSID, so that you can roam through the large area without fearing disconnection. Your device will simply hop onto another BSSID(with the same SSID, of course), without any intervention required from user's side.


I've been always wondering if this could be the case in real life?

Yes, it is very much possible and its very easy to implement also.

Are WiFi devices connecting to the remembered access points using their SSID, or BSSID?

Wireless devices (user devices like Mobile, Laptops and other wifi devices) connect to the wireless network based on SSID only and not on BSSID. These devices remembers the wireless network based on SSID name (and the security type of SSID like WPA or WP2) only.
BSSID is used to differentiate the wireless access points.

Suppose, you have 10 access points in a building and all are announcing the same SSID (obviously will be installed in a way to not interfere each other); then BSSID will be used to differentiate the access points and to map the range of the access points.

Hope it explains your query!!!

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