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Accidental Wireless Networks: An Initial Study

Directory : Faculty : Intellectual Contributions

Intellectual Contribution by Sameer Verma

Contribution Title

Accidental Wireless Networks: An Initial Study

Publication

Proceedings of the Americas Conference on Information Systems, 2004

Co-author

Paul Beckman

Year

2004

Description

This research project attempts to prove that there are community wireless networks in existence that are formed accidentally as a result of consumer macro-behavior. Specifically, certain combinations of brand and technology implementations can result in extensive and overlapping wireless networks that allow users to roam seamlessly in residential neighborhoods.

We examined the distribution of wireless nodes across three such residential neighborhoods. Our hypothesis is that a majority of these wireless access points (APs) run on a small number of commercial brand devices using default settings and no encryption. Given a certain density, such nodes can overlap and provide, in effect, a seamless community wireless network, purely by the accidental behavior of individuals. The macro-behavior of consumers gravitating toward inexpensive and popular brand devices allows such networks to come about. Data analysis shows interesting patterns of node distribution by Wi-Fi channel, commercial brand, and configuration, including encryption settings.

Complete Citation

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