WiFi network data analysis – Downtown Toronto

By , 2021-03-20 23:00

Installed a new Ubiquiti USG at an office downtown today, and noticed that in the 8 hours since the system was first up, it had detected over 800 nearby networks. I decided to analyze the data a bit for fun.

First, the channel. I was surprised to see that over half of all detected APs were on channel 6.

It does make sense that there are far more 2.4GHz APs detected, since it has better signal penetration.

Next up, security standards.

Nearly 90% of APs are using WPA2 of some sort, and just over 10% are open. Less than 1% use WPA.

Now, arguably the most interesting – the AP manufacturer, according to OUI lookup.

Note: some OUIs were not recognized, so the dataset is slightly less than 800 here.

In the manufacturer breakdown we se a lot of the usual brands – Cisco, Aruba and Ubiquiti are in the top. Technicolor, Sagemcom, ASUS, HP, Juniper, Sonicwall are all also common network vendors. But what of the others?

The biggest “unusual” vendor we see is Mitsumi. Mitsumi is generally known as an OEM that manufactures PC peripherals and input devices – mice, keyboards, floppy and optical drives, and quite a few game consoles. It’s not surprising that they would make WiFi radios, but I wouldn’t expect their OUI to be used as an OEM.

Looking a bit further at the data, most of the Mitsumi networks’ SSIDs are in the format “WiFi Hotspot 0000” (where 0000 is a random 4 digits). However, a few of them had names such as “Cruze”, “Volt”, “Equinox” and “Malibu”. So, apparently Mitsumi manufactures the WiFi radio for the GM OnStar car hotspots.

Continuing on with the less-known OUI vendors, we also see Visteon, Continen (Continental), Harman/B (Harman/Becker), and AlpsElec (Alps Electric).

Alps, like Mitsumi, is an OEM known for PC peripherals – particularly keyboards and laptop touchpads. In this case, the SSIDs for the Alps APs are all some variant of “MB Hotspot 000” – so they are Mercedes-Benz car hotspots.

So, unsurprisingly, the other 3 are also car electronics OEMs.

Visteon – spun off from Ford in 2000, they specialize in car infotainment and other electronics systems.
Continental Automotive Systems – The electronics systems branch of German company Continental Tire.
Harman/Becker – a division of Samsung, specialized in car electronics, resulting from the Harman company’s acquisition of Becker, a German car radio manufacturer.

Today’s takeaway: a LOT of cars have WiFi hotspots built-in these days!

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