What's the Difference?

BSSID (Basic Service Set Identifier) and ESSID (Extended Service Set Identifier) are both used in wireless networks to identify access points. BSSID is a unique identifier assigned to each access point in a network, while ESSID is a common name that is shared among all access points in the same network. BSSID is used to differentiate between individual access points, while ESSID is used to group access points together under the same network name. In summary, BSSID is specific to each access point, while ESSID is shared among multiple access points in a network.


DefinitionBasic Service Set IdentifierExtended Service Set Identifier
FunctionIdentifies a specific access point in a wireless networkIdentifies a wireless network
FormatMAC addressString
UniquenessUnique for each access pointCan be the same for multiple networks

Further Detail


When setting up a wireless network, it is important to understand the different attributes of the Basic Service Set Identifier (BSSID) and Extended Service Set Identifier (ESSID). These identifiers play a crucial role in the functioning and security of a wireless network. In this article, we will compare the attributes of BSSID and ESSID to provide a better understanding of their roles and differences.


The BSSID is a unique identifier assigned to each access point in a wireless network. It is a 48-bit address that is used to identify a specific access point within a network. On the other hand, the ESSID is the name of the wireless network that clients use to connect to the network. It is also known as the SSID (Service Set Identifier) and is typically a human-readable name assigned to the network by the network administrator.


One of the key differences between BSSID and ESSID is their uniqueness. The BSSID is a globally unique identifier that is assigned to each access point, ensuring that no two access points have the same identifier. This uniqueness is important for ensuring that clients can correctly identify and connect to the desired access point. In contrast, the ESSID is not required to be globally unique. Multiple wireless networks can have the same ESSID, which can sometimes lead to confusion for clients trying to connect to a specific network.


Another important attribute to consider when comparing BSSID and ESSID is their visibility to clients. The BSSID is a hidden identifier that is not typically visible to clients when they are scanning for available networks. Instead, clients see the ESSID, which is the human-readable name of the network. This allows clients to easily identify and connect to the desired network without needing to know the specific BSSID of the access point. However, network administrators can choose to broadcast the BSSID if they want to provide additional information to clients.


Security is a critical aspect of wireless networks, and both BSSID and ESSID play a role in ensuring the security of the network. The BSSID is used in the authentication and association process between a client and an access point. Clients must provide the correct BSSID when connecting to a network to ensure that they are connecting to the intended access point. On the other hand, the ESSID is often used as a security measure to prevent unauthorized access to the network. By hiding the ESSID or using a unique and complex ESSID, network administrators can make it more difficult for unauthorized users to connect to the network.


When it comes to network configuration, both BSSID and ESSID have their own set of attributes that need to be considered. The BSSID is typically automatically assigned by the access point hardware and is not configurable by the network administrator. This ensures that each access point has a unique identifier without the need for manual configuration. In contrast, the ESSID is configurable by the network administrator, allowing them to set a custom name for the network that is easily recognizable to clients. This flexibility in naming can help differentiate the network from others in the area.


Roaming is the ability for a client to move between different access points within a network without losing connectivity. Both BSSID and ESSID play a role in enabling seamless roaming for clients. The BSSID is used to identify the specific access point that a client is connected to, allowing the client to maintain a stable connection as they move between access points. The ESSID, on the other hand, is used to ensure that the client can easily reconnect to the network after roaming by providing the familiar network name for the client to connect to.


In conclusion, the attributes of BSSID and ESSID are essential for the proper functioning and security of wireless networks. While the BSSID is a unique identifier assigned to each access point, the ESSID is the human-readable name of the network that clients use to connect. Understanding the differences between these identifiers can help network administrators configure and manage their wireless networks more effectively. By considering the uniqueness, visibility, security, configuration, and roaming capabilities of BSSID and ESSID, network administrators can ensure a reliable and secure wireless network for their users.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.