What’s in a Name ? – Good and Bad SSIDs

Bad SSID

We have noticed that quite a few of our WL450 and WL510 customers are using their long range Wi-Fi installation to connect to a “personal hotspot” or “tethered phone” depending upon whether they are an Apple or Android user. If you have a good or unlimited data plan on your phone, then this is a very useful way to get internet in places where the Wi-Fi is not so good but the 3G signal is strong. Normally it is the other way round, but if you find yourself in this situation, it is a “good tool to have in your tool box”.

The long range performance of the WL450/WL510, means that you can place the phone anywhere on the boat to get the best 3G signal and the WL450/WL510 will connect to it. If you also have the WL450/WL510 connected to a router like our iNavConnect then everyone on board connected to the router, will also be able to use the 3G internet connection.

Last week we were contacted by a customer trying to do just this with his iPhone but he could not get his WL510 to connect to his personal hotspot. After a bit of head scratching, we realised that he had an apostrophe in the SSID like the one in the image above “Paul&Kay’s iPhone” and this use of a special character was stopping the WL510 from connecting to it.

Looking online there did not seem to be a definitive Specification or RFC that stated what characters must or must not be used in an SSID, but the general recommendation seems to be that SSIDs should use standard characters, avoiding the use of special characters and spaces. So in our example above a much more compatible SSID would be “PaulandKays_iPhone”.

Once we changed the iPhone’s name (SSID) to a more compatible set of characters, the WL510 connected first time and he was able to get a very good 3G connection in the Norwegian Fjord he was moored in !

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