In a previous tutorial we’ve shown how you can connect to a wireless network that broadcasts its name. While that is a very simple process which merely involves entering a password, the same can’t be said about connecting to a hidden network. Hidden WiFi networks don’t broadcast their names, so they are not visible in the list of available networks that you can connect to from your device. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot connect to a hidden network: you can, but you will have to know its SSID (name), as well as all its other security information. This tutorial includes step by step instructions on how to connect to a hidden network, in Windows 10.
How To Find The Details Of Your Hidden Wireless Network
When you connect to a broadcasting network, much of the network configuration is done automatically. All you have to do is enter a password or press a WPS button. When you connect to a hidden network you'll need to know its security information and enter it manually.
Access your router's configuration menu, which can typically be done by entering its IP address in your browser's address bar.
Select the wireless settings section and note your network's name (or SSID) and its security type. If your network uses WEP, note the WEP key. If you're using WPA-PSK or WPA2-PSK, note the Pre-shared key. If you aren't using any kind of security, you'll only need the SSID.
NOTE: The aforementioned security types are most likely to be found in home networks. WPA, WPA2 and 802.1x are most often found in corporate networks, where an administrator would be handling the configuration.
Before trying to connect, make sure that you are in the range of the hidden wireless network.
How To Connect To A Hidden Wireless Network In Windows 10
The first thing you’ll have to do is open the Network and Sharing Center. The fastest way to do that is to right click or tap and hold on the network icon from system tray and then select "Open Network and Sharing Center".
Inside Network and Sharing Center, click or tap "Set up a new connection or network".
Select "Manually connect to a wireless network" and click or tap Next.
Enter the security information for your network in the appropriate fields, as follows:
- Enter the SSID in the Network name field.
- In the Security type field choose the type of security used by the hidden wireless network. Some routers may name this authentication method. Depending on the security type you choose, Windows may or may not ask you to also specify an encryption type.
- In the Security key field, enter the password used by the wireless network.
- If you don't want others to see the password you type, check the box that says "Hide characters".
- In order to connect to this network automatically, check the box that says "Start this connection automatically".
- You should also check the box that says "Connect even if the network is not broadcasting".
Once you have entered all the requested information, press Next.
Windows 10 will notify you that it has successfully added the wireless network. Press Close and you are done.
If you are in the network’s range, your Windows 10 device will now automatically connect to it.
Troubleshooting Connection Issues
Even if you followed the instructions provided above carefully, issues can arise. If you find yourself unable to connect to your network of choice, and you're sure the security information you entered is exactly correct, check this article for troubleshooting information: Troubleshoot Wireless Network Connection Problems by Yourself. It provides a series of flowcharts that can help you find the cause of your networking troubles.
As you’ve seen from this tutorial, the procedure for connecting to a hidden network is a bit more complex than the simple process of connecting to a broadcasting WiFi network. If you are wondering whether or not it is worth the effort, that is a matter of debate. Hiding your SSID does cloak the network from unskilled hackers and freeloaders, but it wouldn't slow down an experienced hacker. In the end, if hiding your SSID makes you feel more secure, go for it. But no matter what you choose, make sure to use a secure password and encryption.