Hidden Network on every channel

I downloade the inSSIDer app and have found it to be helpful. It recommended i change to a specific channel, which i did. Now it says that another network is It seemed to help some but there is a hidden network that shows on every channel. The inSSIDer app said there’s an overlapping network on 2.4GHz. The problem there is this hidden network that earlier in the day showed up on every channel. Curious as to why this is and if its an issue.

Hello @espitts, thanks for posting! Yes, I had the same problem when I was doing some testing with inSSIDer at home.

EDIT: I just realized I never answered the “is this an issue?” question. If you must use 2.4GHz, you will almost always have to contend with overlapping networks. Ideally, those would be perfectly overlapping, because everyone used channels 1, 6, and 11 but sadly that’s not usually the case. The goal is to minimize the utilization of partially overlapping networks. Generally, [HIDDEN] networks are unused, so they are probably not something you need to worry about when selecting a 2.4 GHz channel.

First, some background. Wi-Fi network’s friendly, human-readable name is called the SSID (service set identifier). Wi-Fi networks advertise their presence by sending out Beacon frames. However, it is not actually required that the SSID be included in the Beacon frame!

So, anyway, your PC (and inSSIDer) see a bunch of Beacons from networks that won’t tell us their SSID. inSSIDer lists these as “[HIDDEN]”. There are more and more of these [HIDDEN] networks, as they are a fairly typical way of implementing backhaul for mesh networks or other out-of-band features. So, the networks table in inSSIDer was getting pretty polluted with [HIDDEN] networks that almost never have clients, and that your PC isn’t even aware of.

We tried an experiment, putting all the [HIDDEN] networks into one “catch-all drawer”, but as you’ve observed, it doesn’t really work because the the [HIDDEN] network is misrepresented and causes confusion. In an upcoming release, we’ll go back to listing all the [HIDDEN] networks individually, and add an option to hide them from the table.

Thanks for using inSSIDer!