Tokyo SSID Scan

The rain season is about to start tomorrow, but for today it left us one last beautiful day. I decided to enjoy the nice weather taking a drive from Yoyogi-Park over Omotesandou to Hirou, and count the number of WLAN access points on the way. This is sooo 2000 you may think. Yes it is stupid.

It's about 6 km, and I was curious about the WLAN density in Tokyo. For the test I placed my laptop running Network Stumbler on the rear window shelf of my car at let it scan. It won't get every access point with this method, because driving at high speed prevents signal lock most of the time. Mostly stops on the traffic lights will bring in batches of SSIDs.

Some time ago I did the same thing over in Berlin, it's a 6 km drive from my home in Friedrichshain to the office in Prenzlauer Berg. That should make a fair comparison - same distance, same method, same hippy districts. In Berlin I got about 50 access points.

So here is the result: A whooping 536 logged WLANs! One router every 11 meters, and that with most of them still skipped. Out of these about 140 were open access, 15 were Martin Varsavsky's FON routers, 19 Apple Airports, 15 NEC WarpStar, 4 Sony Location Free, 7 Livedoor access points, and 2 Google WIFI. The average speed was 49.58 Mbps.

And the conclusion? Obviously Tokyo is a huge city, and it has a lot of hardware lying around. If there is anything like a threshold where an amassment of embedded systems turns into artificial intelligence, Tokyo will be the place where the robot monsters hit first. Maybe I will do the same test in Seoul some day, it is said to have the highest Internet penetration in the world. And Germany? Probably people have more important things to do in life. =) The Apple number is a bit scary.

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