A Walk Around the Block (with Wifi)

Kismet running on ZaurusAt long last I was able to get Kismet running on my Sharp Zaurus SL-5500 (these instructions did the trick). For the uninitiated, the Zaurus is a little handheld computer that runs Linux, and Kismet is a “wifi sniffing” program that lets me walk around with my wifi-equipped Zaurus and lists all of the wireless networks it encounters along the way.

So tonight I did a simple walk around the block to see what I could find in the neighbourhood.

To my surprise, there was a lot to be found:

  • 15 wireless access points
  • 9 of 15 were using WEP, 6 were free and open
  • Manufacturer breakdown:
    • Linksys: 4
    • D-Link: 4
    • Netgear: 2
    • Gemtek: 1
    • Zyxel: 1
    • Siemens: 1
    • Global Sun: 1
    • SMC: 1

That’s 15 networks detectable over about 2 acres of land. This is about as close to “open wireless access everywhere” as you can get, I think.


Ken Williams's picture
Ken Williams on January 25, 2006 - 03:57 Permalink

If these routers could only talk to each other! Now that would be a democratic internet, bypass the ISP’s by routing between neighbours. I guess an entire city could have it’s own public owned net if wireless routers could interconnect — but still each city would need a link out to the next nearest city, but isn’t it possible that little wireless networks could self organize?