My PC Detects 13 Wifi Access Points In My Paris Apartment

Back in April 2006 I reported that the number of Wifi Access points I detected in my apartment in Paris has increased from two to six. Now about a year later the number has once more increased and is now at thirteen (see picture on left)! And that’s only in the 2.4 GHz ISM band! It’s great to see technology prospering but it starts to worry me a bit.

If only a fraction of the access points send more than their beacon frames then the networks on the same frequencies will start to trample over each other which impacts performance and reliability. For the moment things are still o.k. but some DSL operators such as Free now offer an HDTV TV box as part of their standard subscription which talks to the DSL modem via Wifi. So in the evening when lots of people watch TV some Wifi channels will become be quite busy.

Looks like I have to bring my Linksys OpenWRT 54 to Paris to trace which of these networks are really generating traffic.

4 thoughts on “My PC Detects 13 Wifi Access Points In My Paris Apartment”

  1. If you add some kind of Wi-Fi antenna to your card/laptop I bet you will find another 10 more!

    You don’t need your Linksys WRT to find which network is really doing some traffic… I am sure Live Linux Distros like for example BackTrack can do the trick 🙂

    Sadly, about 20% of the Wi-Fi APs are unsecured nowadays (the ones I encountered)… If you ask me, people should know about securing Wi-Fi before installing them.

  2. Berlin is also very much plastered with WiFi Access Points. You can almost cross the entire inner city without loosing “coverage”. Unfortunately only few of them are open. But FON ( has obviously been able to create a business case around “WiFi for everyone” where subscribers to that service share their privately owned access points with the community. FON has been able to raise another 10 Mio. as I have read. Wouldn’t it be for the legal issues that cause me headaches if someone uses my AP, I would seriously consider to join.

    With respect to security I am of the opinion that the product should take that burden from the user and set itself up in a secure way. AVMs Fritz!Box is certainly a good example to prove that such set-up procedures are possible.

  3. Hi Martin,
    indeed, I make the same observation in my Paris appartment.
    And as you probably know the Paris municipal WiFi network is about to be launched in the coming days (if Orange does not manage to block it), cf. for more information.

    Btw it seems as you are another German in Telecoms in Paris, maybe we could have a beer together one day 😉

  4. Hi Siegfried,

    calling 400 access points a Municipal Wifi network in a city of 8 million is probably a bit too much of an honor. Thats one access point for 20.000 people 🙂

    Like a real Parisian I am not a lot in Paris in summer. I let you know when I am back concerning that beer!


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