BSSID - Basic Service Set Identifiers

SSID, BSSID, and ESSID are all descriptions of wireless networks. However, these three terms have slightly different meanings which are described here. An access point is only one of many devices that make up a wireless network and the Basic Service Set Identifier (BSSID) refers to any device in the WLAN.

Basic Service Set Identifiers (BSSID) are 48-bit labels that identify which devices conform to MAC-48 conventions. These identifiers are usually linked with a wireless access points MAC address, like when the identifier is sent in an AP beacon but can not be seen without some type of signal analyzer or radio tool.

What will we learn?

  • Functionality
  • Service set identifier (SSID)
  • Basic Service Set Identifiers (BSSID)
  • Extended Service Set Identifier (ESSID)
  • Independent Basic Service Set
  • Infrastructure Basic Service Set
  • Common Issue


In the case that a Basic Service Set Identifier is not specified, it contains an identifier specifying the SSID of the discovered Wi-Fi adapter. If there are no BSSIDs set at all, then an APs SSID will be used to identify which network it belongs to during probe requests. In this situation, if only one 1 exists in its field instead of a name or series of numbers, then only hidden networks with identical names as wireless network adapters on your computer can be found while broadcasting for probe requests; other examples would include broadcast messages sent out outside the context of a basic service set where identifiers are required

A brief overview of the different types of basic service sets: SSID, BSSID, and ESSID.

Service Set Identifier (SSID)

The Basic Service Set Identifier, usually expressed in English, is the easiest to use of all service set identifiers. While there are many WLANs that can exist at once, each one has a unique identifier - SSID. A name inputted as null on an arbitrary SSID will be interpreted as a wildcard for hidden networks.

When your device detects more than one WLAN - the detected SSID will be shown on the notification.

Basic Service Set Identifiers (BSSID)

Basic Service Set ID, is the address for an 802.11 access point and is a randomly selected number of random bytes.

Wireless networks require a way to identify which client is associated with the wireless network. All wireless packets include the BSSID, or Basic Service Set Identifier, so that it can be included in all packets.

Extended Service Set Identifiers (ESSID)

Basic Service Set Identifiers (BSSIDs) are quite similar to SSIDs. One of the main differences is that this identifier is used across multiple routers as part of a wireless network.

The Wi-Fi networks SSID is an electronic marker or recognizer that serves as the devices address, and identifies the computer to a wireless router that will then give it access to the internet. The setting can be either broadcast disabled and closed, or broadcast enabled or open.

Independent Basic Service Set

It is the simplest set of all because this service set requires no network infrastructure. It has one or more stations that allow communication directly with each other. It contains no access points (and also known as an ad-hoc network), and because of this, the Independent Basic Service Set cannot connect to any other basic service set.

Infrastructure Basic Service Set

Infrastructure Basic Service Set can communicate with other stations. But this service set cannot do the same with the same basic service set. In this case, they communicate with each other through access points.

Both Infrastructure Basic Service Set and Independent Basic Service Sets have a logical network set identifier. Both these cannot be distinguished at the logical link control layer level. All the terms - Service Set Identifier (SSID), Basic Service Set Identifier (BSSID) and extended service set identifiers (ESSID) are used to describe sections of a WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network).

Common Issue

Basic Service Sets, or any wide-ranging network that can cover a variety of geographic locations, are composed of many Access Points. However as users move around, their specific Basic Service Set changes in accordance with the Access Point they are most near at any given time. This will not change your laptop’s ability to connect but may affect how packets are routed across networks as you move.

In an Ethernet service set, there are different types of networks. Each one has a separate purpose and you can always find out which network area is overloaded by checking the number of client(s) connected to it. By knowing the MAC address and BSSID, one can find out where a device is located.