Feature Request: Ability to Hide the Network
I have always hidden my network as an added layer of security. Almost all wifi routers have this feature. However, when I switched to eero, I cannot find this feature. I emailed support who confirmed that this feature is missing. I'd like to request this feature in a future update.
Hiding the SSID of a wireless network does next to nothing for improving security. Even a "hidden" network is still sending out information and there are lots of available software tools that can detect these networks. Hiding the SSID can also make it harder for devices to roam to another access point (which with a mesh environment like eero, is critical). It also just adds additional complexity for support personnel to have to deal with (example: when customer submits issue that they can't see their wireless network anymore, support agents would have to first verify if the SSID broadcast is enabled/disabled).
I respectfully disagree:
1. With a hidden network, casual hackers will have to guess at the network SSID. Of course, nothing will stop a dedicated hacker, but even a dedicated hacker will choose the low-lying fruit (those that broadcast their SSID) first. Why make it easy for them?
2. Roaming: Why would I want to roam on my home network? Why would I want to roam to another access point? Are you suggesting that even when at home, with full access to MY NETWORK, I want to roam to some other Network?
a) Yes, you may have 2 networks if you have a home/office. In fact I had, before switching to eero, exactly this set up: 2 routers (ASUS + Netgear), 2 cable modems (Cisco + Motorola), one of the routers (ASUS) had an extender (Netgear). Guess what, I did not have any issue with roaming between my routers and extender. Try it!!! Once you (and only you know the SSID of your network) type in the SSID/password in windows or MAC (my wife has a MAC) or Android (I have an Android phone + tablet) or IOS (my wife/kids have iPhone/iPads) the network selector shows the hidden network on the list of available networks, but only to you since you have authenticated yourself as a user. Others (like snoopy neighbors) cannot see your network - it doesn't show up!!!
3. Really??? A customer who hides his/her network will submit a support request saying he cannot see his network anymore???? Really?? Several things wrong with this: a) if I'm so stupid to hide my network but then complain that it's hidden, probably shouldn't be messing with the settings (and probably won't)!!! and b) see 2a above - YOU (AND ONLY YOU SINCE YOU'RE AUTHENTICATED) WILL SEE THE HIDDEN NETWORK on the list of available networks - ON WINDOWS, MAC, ANDROID, IOS (since all of these devices are avilable to me and I have been using wifi for over 15 years - all with hidden SSIDs - I can personally vouch for this). I don't have access to Linux, but since Android, MAC, and IOS are Linux-based, I'd imagine that Linux wouldn't have a problem either.
IMHO, you haven't thought through your response.
Hi bindignavile —
Thanks for your feedback and welcome to the eero community!
I am more than happy to share your request, as well as the additional points made above, with our team.
I hope that both you and cMoo92 can continue your thoughtful discussion on this matter. While healthy debate is encouraged, I'd like to remind you both to make sure any future posts continue to follow our posted Community Guidelines.
bindignavile, I'm not in any way trying to brag or be condescending, but first let me preface the following reply by clarifying what my experience level is. I have 15+ years of IT experience with several of those being the IT manager for several organizations with nearly 1,000 daily network connected devices and 70 enterprise level access points. I don't claim to be a wireless guru, but I'm far beyond just a wanna-be retail store tech.
Let me respond to the points you made in your reply:
You: With a hidden network, casual hackers will have to guess at the network SSID.
Me: My original point was that nobody has to guess at anything. Even a hidden SSID is constantly sending out beacon frames and there are several free tools that can easily read these and figure out the SSID. Properly securing your network means having a network password set. Cracking the WPA2-PSK is going to be the much harder part (but not impossible). But if someone has the desire/capability to crack your network password, I don't think there is much separation of a "casual" vs "dedicated" hacker. It's what they do after they break into your network that would probably define what level of hacker they are. But this is getting into semantics and I don't think it's worth our time to debate that, nor do I believe that is that what this community is intended for.
You: Why would I want to roam on my home network? Why would I want to roam to another access point?
Me: The whole functionality a mesh network (i.e. what eeros do) is based around the idea that your devices connect to the other APs (eeros) in your home. Roaming isn't just connecting to a different SSID, it's also connecting to another AP that is offering a better signal. If you only have one eero in your home, then there is no need for roaming, but if you have multiple eeros your devices will roam. You are correct in that a hidden SSID won't necessarily stop devices from roaming to other APs that are configured with the same SSID and security settings. But a hidden SSID forces your device to be active and to send out requests saying "hey, does anybody have this SSID?" and waiting for a reply. If your SSID isn't hidden, your device can be passive and just sit there and listen and then go "oh yea, I see that SSID and I know how to connect to it!". The active vs passive part is where roaming issues can happen and devices may not connect to a closer AP as quickly/easily. Now, I will also add that roaming isn't always perfect even with SSIDs that aren't hidden. But hidden SSIDs add even more to the already complex nature of wireless networking.
You: A customer who hides his/her network will submit a support request saying he cannot see his network anymore????
Me: Yes. Customers will do this. Eero is selling their product to the consumer market and therefore there will be a lot of people who don't have strong technical skills/understanding. That's the beauty of eero. It's a product that is simple and easy. A hidden SSID requires people know/understand how to manually add a new network to their devices. This isn't a problem for people such as you and I, but we are not the norm.
If you would like me to provide you with some further articles/discussion about why hidden SSIDs are a bad form of security, I can do so.
In summary, hidden SSIDs is a very poor level of security and introduces additional complexity that can cause technical issues. And IMHO, I would rather see eero focus on fixing existing bugs, improving performance, and developing new features that would be more applicable/desirable to the entire user base.
Jeff C. On a side note, I have a community related question. Is there a way I can contact you directly?
Overall, I'm happy with my purchase..I would like this 1 feature added to my set-up.
I won't join debate in regard to whether or not hiding the SSID is beneficial for added layer of security...I simply would like to feature added to eero. I've previously kept my home business SSID private, I prefer having the option to separate my business from home/guest/family use and keep my main SSID hidden.
I purchased the Eero system (1 router + 4 repeaters) off of the recommendation of our company's CTO in order to improve our wifi coverage at trade shows around the world. The product tested great in our lab, and at my home, but I'm afraid we'll likely have to return it or shelve it indefinitely in my supply closet. The product since so many of the convention halls and facilities we were planning on using the product at require a hidden SSID as a policy. The policy is enforced strictly and all attendees benefit from it. Its not a matter of debate over the merits of hidden vs broadcasted ssid, but instead a policy we have no control over. Its a policy we benefit from in ways besides security, but that's not the issue. The feedback I wanted to provide was that while I understand this product is for residential use primarily, we still sought it out for a commercial use based on its reputation, but due to a lack of a (relatively) simple feature, we are unable to use it.
As a sales engineer, I assist in evaluating potential feature enhancements to our products, and I know you don't get new features without a valid business case. So, what i'm trying to provide here is an actual real life example of business/industry referral lost due to a lack of a feature that's being requested.
Why is this not being planned? I agree that this isn't going to increase security against someone that knows how to scan for SSIDs, but it does help against non-technical neighbors or random passerbys seeing your SSID and trying to join it. If I want to hide my SSIDs, I should have the option to do so.
Purchased the Eero 3 x WiFi APS and was all operational. However; was very disappointed to learn I could not protect the SSID from being broadcasted. I totally agree that anyone with right tool can detect SSID even if it’s hidden. However; we all have to agree that there is a boundary of security that we are all impacting.
Please find it in your hearts to add this option to the product and make it accessible as a toggled option.
Regardless of the effectiveness of hiding your SSID it is a feature of many other routers and should be an option. Would like to see it added if possible.
I should not have to share the names of my SSIDs with all my neighbors, and with multiple networks, I don't want people to browse a long list of networks when only a few are to be used by others or guests.
PLEASE, SERIOUSLY CONSIDER implementing this....I know that with the right tools the SSID is very easy to ascertain, however it is another layer to obstruct unskilled hackers.
Still really want this feature. It keeps friends from asking to join the primary network where family members hit the "Share network" button on their iphone without thinking about the server privacy
The reason I am very likely to not keep my new eero devices is 2 issues:
1) Does not allow hidden networks. I can live with this although I really don't like it but the big issue is my second reason:
2) I can't whitelist who is allowed on my network. I do get notified when a new device joins but they don't even get asked for a password. I would much rather have a situation where there is an issue for a few hours while the mac address gets added to the whitelist than have anybody who wants to join my network go crazy. Even with the block this device... with the many devices around, a whitelist is a WAY shorter list.
3) OK one more reason. The extenders do not have an ethernet connection. I have some devices (shocking I know) that are not wifi enabled and I have been connecting them to the wifi using a small switch and then that is connected to the wifi through ethernet.
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