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Marc_G 09-07-2009 01:24 PM

Hidden SSID prevents wifi connection on 8820
Hi folks,

I've searched many threads here and elsewhere without an answer. Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction. For the life of me, I can't get my blackberry to connect to my network unless I turn on transmission of the SSID. Here are the details:

Just got a new 8820 running OS 4.5.

My home wifi network is running WPA2 with AES encryption and a specific preshared key. I also use MAC address filtering and have entered the BB's MAC into the allowed list.

Normally, I leave the SSID as hidden (not transmitted) for the increase in security that provides. FWIW, I've got a Belkin N+ Gigabit router. All other devices (laptops and an iTouch) work fine in this environment.

If I turn on the SSID broadcast, the blackberry finds the network and connects to it just fine. The minute I turn off SSID broadcast, the BB loses the connection. Nothing I can do brings it back. Even manually entering the network name and re-entering the PSK does not help. It fails to find or connect to the network.

To be clear, I've tried setting up the network while SSID is on, which works, but the network fails and won't reconnect after I turn off SSID broadcast.

If I clear out that network name, and use the Manually Add Network, selecting PSK encryption and entering in my proper PSK, I have never been able to connect.

Is there some setting I need to change? Some special process to go through?

To me broadcasting one's SSID for a home network is a serious security risk so I prefer not to do this.

One additional note: originally my router was set to use WPA/WPA2 TKIP/AES. In this mode, the BB never connected, whether or not the SSID was being sent, and the BB never could even see the network in its list. Changing to strict WPA2/AES fixed that situation.

Please help! This is driving me nuts.


daphne 09-07-2009 01:31 PM


To me broadcasting one's SSID for a home network is a serious security risk so I prefer not to do this.
This is a misconception that many people have. It actually gives a false sense of security and does not provide any real protection. Some info here:

Your SSID Isnxxx8217;t Hidden Forever -
Wi-fi Mythbuster: Do NOT hide your SSID -

Edit, better article here:

Marc_G 09-07-2009 01:39 PM


OK, point conceded, disabling SSID isn't the end-all and be-all of security. That's why I use WPA2 + MAC filtering. But, it's a reasonable step to take to:

A) Make me less of an obvious target to the suburban script-kiddies in my neighborhood, and

B) Prevent "Joe-next-door" from trying to log onto my network through his sheer laziness in failing to prioritize his network association preferences.

If someone wants to hack me, they will, but I believe in doing all the simple things I can to reduce the threat from both intentional and accidental intrusion. ;-)

That said, does anybody have some ideas I can try to make this work?



NJBlackBerry 09-07-2009 01:43 PM

It may be reasonable, but unnecesssary and doesn't do anything with respect to your A) and B) solutions. WPA2 and MAC filtering and very reasonable security measures to take in a home environment.

daphne 09-07-2009 01:58 PM

It's easy enought for script kiddies to find your SSID even when it's "hidden" if they have the right tools. Your not-techy neighbors may not be running AirMagnet or Linux with Kismit however. MAC address filtering is not difficult to overcome either.

I'm thinking what you want to do -- having the BlackBerry connect with the SSID hidden -- is not possible, but I might be wrong.

Marc_G 09-07-2009 02:53 PM

Googling around shows that lots of people get it working fine. I'm presuming that I'm somehow omiting a step or an obscure setting leading to my dismay.

In the worst-case scenario, I can enable my router's "guest access" which effectively broadcasts a different SSID and computers (or blackberries) that connect to it (via a PSK authentication) have internet access, but not access to other computers on the LAN.

Believe me, I realize I'm being a bit pig-headed about the security thing, and that the facts are against meabout SSID hiding, but it's the way I've got my network set up, it works, I like it, and all other devices work fine in the environment. I'm sure there's some way to get it working with the 8820. Hopefully a reader here can steer me in the correct direction. Meanwhile, Daphne thanks for the good references. Appreciated.


daphne 09-07-2009 03:40 PM

I do see posts on other forums where people got this to work, but I think all the threads I saw were about the Bold. Is your 8820 running the lastet OS?

Marc_G 09-07-2009 04:42 PM


Originally Posted by daphne (Post 1466987)
I do see posts on other forums where people got this to work, but I think all the threads I saw were about the Bold. Is your 8820 running the lastet OS?

It is brand new from ATT so is recent. I believe corporate IT policy prevents me from flashing it to latest.

Marc_G 09-07-2009 04:46 PM

I'm on I believe my corporate IT policy pevents me from flahing it to newer versions. They control the horizontal and the vertical.


daphne 09-07-2009 04:53 PM

Looks like there is a newer version posted in the 8800 series forum here, but not much you can do if the IT policy blocks it. I hope someone has a solution for you.

Marc_G 09-09-2009 05:26 AM

If anybody has suggestions, I would appreciate it. Meanwhile I have enabled the "guest wireless access" function on my Belkin router. This sets up a WPA2 / PSK authentication on a separate SSID. The devices that connect to it get internet access but no access to the rest of my LAN. For me this is an acceptable compromise, if not my prefered way of operating.

hrbuckley 09-09-2009 08:04 AM

Before I got my Bold I used to run my 8820 this way. The only real reason to hide SSIDs, and the reason I do it, is to prevent people trying to connect to the wrong network. It is amazing how many people, when told to connect to NetA, will try to connect to NetB just cause it is stronger. Then call support when it doesn't work.

Anyway, both my 8820 and my Bold worked 'out of the box' though I use Linksys/Cisco devices running Kamikaze. Also, both have Blackberry data plans.

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