What Are the Forms of Network Names?

Network names are text strings that refer to a computer network

Red, green and blue plastic tubing on white background.
PM Images/Getty Images

A network name is a text string that devices use to reference a particular computer network. These strings are, strictly speaking, separate from the names of individual devices and the addresses they use to identify each other. There are several different forms of network names.


Wi-Fi networks support a type of network name called a Service Set Identifier (SSID). Wi-Fi access points and clients are each assigned an SSID to help identify one another. When we speak of wireless network names, we typically are referring to SSIDs.

Wireless broadband routers and wireless access points establish a wireless network using an SSID. At the time of their manufacture, these devices are configured with a default SSID (network name) at the factory. You should change the default name for your devices.

Windows Workgroups and Domains

Microsoft Windows supports assigning PCs to named workgroups to facilitate peer-to-peer networking. Alternatively, Windows domains segregate PCs into named subnetworks. Windows workgroup and domain names are both set separately from the names of each PC and function independently from SSIDs.


Yet another distinct form of network naming is used to identify computer clusters. Most server operating systems, for example, such as Microsoft Windows Server, support the independent naming of clusters. Clusters are sets of computers that work as a single system.

Network vs. DNS Names of Computers

It's fairly common in the information technology world for people to refer to computer names as maintained in the Domain Name System (DNS) as network names, even though they aren't technically names of networks.

For example, your PC may be named "TEELA" and belong to a domain called "a.b.com." The DNS will know this computer as "TEELA.a.b.com" and advertise that name to other devices. Some people refer to this expanded DNS representation as the computer's network name.