What is Hidden Network?

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CptCookie

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After a recent windows 10 update on my laptop, I am seeing "Hidden Network" on constantly. Before I would see it every now and again, but usually it would go away after a short time. But now every time I connect to my wifi, I see Hidden Network always on with the option "connect automatically" checked by default, which I of course uncheck it, but then it goes right back to being checked again by itself. I only see this "Hidden Network" on my laptop and not on my phone. Which leads me to believe it has something to do with Windows 10? I have also ran the trial version of Acrylic Wi-Fi Home scanner and it shows that the Hidden Network (there are two of them shown in the scanner) is coming from my modem/router, but of course I can't see the actual SSID name on them since they are hidden. I also see the mac address are almost the same as my wifi, being that only the first two and last two digits differ, yet they are only like 2-3 numbers up in difference (example: 62, 64, 65). It also shows they are all on same channel. Does anyone know of a program that displays the hidden SSID that you can download and use for free, would be very helpful.

But anyway, I just don't understand this, why it's there or what it means.
 
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Don't touch it. What are the chances that thier MAC address is that close to yours. Someone is planning an attack.
 
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It may be that "Hidden Network" is the SSID of a network that is close in proximity to your PC/laptop. It would be helpful to know more information.
- How close is any other house or apartment that might have wireless?
- What type of wireless router or access point are you using?
- Do you have smart devices in your apartment or house that use wireless? For instance, a smart thermostat, a robotic floor cleaner, even a stereo receiver that uses wireless.

I do agree that I would not be touching this network as it is not yours, and there is no way to know what it is.
 

TerryNet

Terry
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... it shows that the Hidden Network (there are two of them shown in the scanner) is coming from my modem/router
Have you double checked this by unplugging the router and seeing the Hidden Network disappear as quickly as the one you know is yours?

Have you checked the guide for your router to see if it explains how to set up a hidden network?

If the guide hasn't helped have you searched your router's settings for something about hidden network?
 

CptCookie

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Don't touch it. What are the chances that thier MAC address is that close to yours. Someone is planning an attack.
An attack? I don't think so, too sloppy. Like I said, this only started to happen after a recent Windows 10 update on this device as I don't see the "Hidden Network" pop up as an option of available networks to connect to on my phone or smart TV. I find it on my phone if I go digging, like using a wifi scanner, but it doesn't show up in the available networks on my phone like it does on my laptop. Like I said, I've only ever seen it on my laptop before randomnly and now it just stays there in the list of available networks to connect to when I click on the wifi button on my laptop and when I look at it the checkbox for (connect automatically) is always checked, even when I uncheck it, it just re-checks itself after I close it after unchecking the box. But I'm not connected to it as far as I can tell as I am connected to my regular wifi SSID.

It may be that "Hidden Network" is the SSID of a network that is close in proximity to your PC/laptop. It would be helpful to know more information.
- How close is any other house or apartment that might have wireless?
- What type of wireless router or access point are you using?
- Do you have smart devices in your apartment or house that use wireless? For instance, a smart thermostat, a robotic floor cleaner, even a stereo receiver that uses wireless.

I do agree that I would not be touching this network as it is not yours, and there is no way to know what it is.
Yes, I am aware that sometimes the hidden network showing up in the list of available networks is sometimes from neighbors. But I've often seen my neighbors wifi and it's usually the more generic name and not "Hidden Network." Yes, we have a washer with wifi capabilities, but I have already seen that pop up before under the list of avaible networks and it wasn't listed as "Hidden Network."
But personally, this just seems more like a Windows 10 thing to me in combination with my router. I was just more curious about it really. And it's an ATT Arris BGW210-700 router/modem.

Have you double checked this by unplugging the router and seeing the Hidden Network disappear as quickly as the one you know is yours?

Have you checked the guide for your router to see if it explains how to set up a hidden network?

If the guide hasn't helped have you searched your router's settings for something about hidden network?
Yes, Terry. I unplugged the power cable from my modem/router and checked the list of available wifi networks on my laptop again with the modem/router unplugged and nothing showed up. I do not have a guide for the modem/router but I have worked with it before and have a decent understanding of how to use it and such, like blocking MAC addresses and all that. I checked under the WiFi section under both 2.4 and 5 ghz configs and both have the (hide network name) option OFF, and I have guest SSID OFF. I can tell you however the type of modem/router I am using, it is an ATT Arris BGW210-700. Have had it for a little over a year. Recently, I haven't done anything to change the modem/router settings. So, I still think it has something to do with the Windows 10 update I installed recently as that's when the whole thing with the Hidden Network always showing in my list of available networks started to happen.
If you need any more information to help figure this out, let me know.

Also, I tried running command prompt as administrator and I used the following cmd:
netsh wlan show profiles
When I did that, it only displays the usual network I connect to. No sign of "Hidden Network" or any other network for that matter. To pick up my neighbor's wifi for it to even show up on my list of available networks, I have to go to the other side of the house.
 
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CptCookie

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Kids have nothing better to do during the Easter holidays.
It disappears when I unplug my router. I no longer see "Hidden Network" nor my usual network I connect to (since the modem/router is unplugged) on my Windows 10 laptop when I turn on the wifi adapter to search for available networks.
 

CptCookie

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Just a thought.. since my router is dual band (2.4 ghz and 5 ghz). My laptop wifi adapter is 2.4 ghz. Is it possible the hidden network I am seeing in the list of available networks is the 5 ghz? Because I have noticed some of my devices are 2.4 ghz and some are 5 ghz when looking at connections on my modem/router homepage. I just don't understand why it seems to be staying on now as opposed to just flashing now and then like it used to. And like I said, it seemed to happen right around the Winows 10 update I did recently.
 
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I did some research on the specific router you have, the ATT Arris BGW210-700. It turns out that others are experiencing the same phenomenon as you, seeing hidden networks. No one is sure why the device does that, and people were guessing at all manner of reasons. The link to one such discussion is here: https://forums.att.com/conversation...ed-5ghz-wifi-network/5e40fbd4e508190fbd5a6e98

I would say it is safe to ignore the hidden network. It is something related to the network hardware.
 

managed

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FWIW I think Networks with a hidden SSID can show as 'Hidden Network' in the list of possible wireless connections.
 

CptCookie

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I did some research on the specific router you have, the ATT Arris BGW210-700. It turns out that others are experiencing the same phenomenon as you, seeing hidden networks. No one is sure why the device does that, and people were guessing at all manner of reasons. The link to one such discussion is here: https://forums.att.com/conversation...ed-5ghz-wifi-network/5e40fbd4e508190fbd5a6e98

I would say it is safe to ignore the hidden network. It is something related to the network hardware.
@KhunDoug I was thinking it was something like that too?

FWIW I think Networks with a hidden SSID can show as 'Hidden Network' in the list of possible wireless connections.
@managed I'm pretty sure it's not from a network in my area. I've already tried what TerryNet suggested and unplugged my modem/router to see if my device would still pick up the "hidden network." Which it did not. As soon as I unplugged my modem/router, the "hidden network" disappeared as well. It seems I am only able to see the "hidden network" from PC/Laptop (as I don't see it from my smartphone or smartTVs even though my phone is also on the same band as the PCs/Laptops being 2.4 ghz. However I can see it if I use a wifi scanner app on phone, but besides that I only see my typical network when connecting normally). I have tried using a different modem/network (different type of modem/router besides the BGW210-700) as well as a different PC and even a friends laptop and it still shows up on the wifi (also tried it on both Windows 10 & Windows 7, only difference being that on WIndows 7 it shows up as "Other Network" instead). Being that the PCs are on the 2.4 ghz band, if I go into my router settings and disable the 2.4 ghz band, I no longer see "hidden network" even tho my router/modem is still powered on and the 5 ghz band is still enabled. However, I don't see my network either to connect to for my 2.4 ghz devices when I do that of course.

So I think KhunDoug was onto something, seems like something the ISP puts on the router/modem or coming from the ISP somewhere? It's interesting, does anyone have more certainty or confirmation in dealing with this particular issue?
 
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CptCookie

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If you want to see all the nearby wireless networks download the free program inSSIDer. It will show you a lot more than the wireless list your PC shows. Right now with inSSIDer I see about 15 hidden networks.

inSSIDer
https://www.metageek.com/products/inssider/
I've already done that using another app if you scroll up on this thread and read. I have two hidden networks (hence what I was talking about them both having similar MAC addresses to the network I connect to with the only difference being in the first two and last two digits of the MAC address). You have 15 probably because you live in a city and there are people around you with their network setup to be hidden. I live in a rural area.
 

CptCookie

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Anyone?

Like I said, I see two hidden SSID wifi networks when I run a wifi scanner (along with my usual wifi SSID that I connect to). And when I unplug the power from router the two hidden wifi networks disappear from the wifi scanner as well so I know it's coming from my router.
 
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