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London Is Still World's Wi-Fi Access Point Capital

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the home-of-the-apostrophe dept.

Businesses 88

ISP Review UK writes "The latest annual Wireless Security Survey from RSA has revealed that London is still the world's wireless network (Wi-Fi) capital, with a total of 12,276 access points detected, exceeding the number found in New York City by more than 3,000. However, the French capital of Paris broke all the records with a 543% year-over-year increase in the number of wireless access points, which compares with London's 72% (down from 160% last year) and New York City's 45% (down from 49%). The survey also examined how many of the wireless access points detected were secured with some form of encryption (hotspots excluded). In New York City, 97% of corporate access points had encryption in place (76% last year). In Paris, 94% of corporate access points were encrypted — although in London, 20% of all business access points continue to be completely unprotected."

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88 comments

well... (3, Funny)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#25542771)

that will just make this [xkcd.com] a whole lot easier if i ever have to move to london

Re:well... (3, Interesting)

omeomi (675045) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543533)

How in the world are they detecting these? If I live on the 80th floor of a building in New York, are they going to detect my access point? Maybe London just has more lower buildings where wifi can be detected from the ground.

Re:well... (3, Insightful)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543549)

correct, there arnt anywhere near the number of high rise buildings in london as there are in e.g new york

Re:well... (1)

Molochi (555357) | more than 5 years ago | (#25546425)

From my place on the 25th floor, using a wrt54gl with stock hardware, I can survey about 2-3 floors up and down, plus APs in 3 hotels, some offices about a KM away and occasionally a WanderingWifi AP at an Arby's about 4KM away (direct LOS). From the pool or the top of the parking garage, I get the facing side of the whole 32 story building.

I'd imagine a more formal survey would employ a directional/dish antenna so all the Linksys/Belkin/Netgear SSIDs on channel 6 wouldn't obscure each other.

Re:well... (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 5 years ago | (#25546779)

Not to mention the tens of thousands of high rises in Seoul. You know, that country with nearly the fastest broadband in the world.

These RSA guys are idiots and are just pushing their own agendas.

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25550567)

If I'm walking around NYC looking for a Wifi connection for my Ipod Touch, I'm probably not going to go into an 80 story building and look for points there.

Having said that though, it makes absolute sense - the higher up you are, the better chance you will have line of sigh to multiple points. And if you're device scans fast enough, and the point's signal is strong enough, you might even be able to detect points while going up in the elevator. Imagine going up in a lift for 80 stories and detecting hundreds of wifi points on the way up.

I don't know if Wifi signals are the same but I recall years ago when FMRS radios first came out, that I couldn't get shit from my house. However one night I stayed in a hotel room near me about 20 stories up, and the whole band was inundated with radio signals. Obviously FMRS is designed to have a longer range than Wifi, but still.

Re:well... (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543855)

I don't know, where I live there are something like 15 access points near me. All of them are encrypted. Doesn't matter how many there are near you if you can't use any of them.

Re:well... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#25545559)

Even if it's unencrypted it doesn't mean you can use them - depends on the laws in your country, and the unwritten laws in your area (it may be local custom to share WiFi, or not...).

In some places, it is local custom to put a jug (or other container) of water outside for any passerby to get a drink from (it's not considered trespassing or theft). And the courts et all will probably be rather harsh on you if you're caught tainting the water.

Which brings us to the next point- even if the SSID says "FreeWiFi" how do you know its safe to use? Not everyone has VPN tunnel endpoints.

That's the trouble with the current situation.

Firstly there is no easy way to know whether you are allowed to use a random open WiFi network, whose network it is and the terms and conditions of usage.

Secondly there is currently no easy way to _intentionally_ _allow_ "anonymous" public users to use an _encrypted_ WiFi network, in a manner where the users can't successfully decrypt each other's traffic. In theory it is technically possible, but there is no standard to make it _easy_ (well at least as easy as using an https website).

Re:well... (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25546155)

Even if it's unencrypted it doesn't mean you can use them - depends on the laws in your country,

No if its unencrypted (or tbh WEP (or wpa with a popular SSID & weak passphrase)) I defiantly can USE them. is it legal? who cares cannabis is also illegal, its not like your going to get caught stealing some bandwidth from joe blogs (maybe if i overdo it but he will probably reinstall windows several times before even suspecting me)

Secondly there is currently no easy way to _intentionally_ _allow_ "anonymous" public users to use an _encrypted_ WiFi network, in a manner where the users can't successfully decrypt each other's traffic. In theory it is technically possible, but there is no standard to make it _easy_ (well at least as easy as using an https website).

unencrypted connection, followed by a vpn, or secure web proxy Im sure when i had a read of the open router firmware pages, it was looked easy to set up. Although they are both theoretically susceptible to a MITM attacks, i think that those attacks are not practical. Needless to say if you did hypothetically sniff the open wireless on a [national-express] train, you would see nothing of interest

Fix the title... (1, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25542903)

in London, 20% of all business access points continue to be completely unprotected.

So the title should read "London is still world's Wi-Fi Wardriving Capital", yesno?

Re:Fix the title... (2, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543175)

Wardriving has nothing to do with accessing networks. Wardriving is how these studies are done, just finding networks.

If a wardriver chooses to access a network, that remains a different and separate matter. (And not one that's black and white either. How is somebody expected to know what networks are open on purpose for public use? In Seattle there a lot of such networks.)

I myself have long taken the view that if I don't have to do anything more than just associate with access point to be fully connected, it's public. It's up to whomever owns the access point to take proper measures if they want it to be exclusive, otherwise their hardware is acting in their name to provide access to whomever asks for it.

As for these numbers, they seem to be ignoring all the wireless in places like Taipei, Seoul, and Tokyo. I wouldn't be surprised if comprehensive surveys done there blew away places like London.

Nichtlachen-Keinwortz Syndrome (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543333)

You've got Nichtlachen-Keinwortz Syndrome, right?

Re:Nichtlachen-Keinwortz Syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25545445)

You've got Nichtlachen-Keinwortz Syndrome, right?

"Nichtlachen-Keinwortz"? I think they agreed to be taken over last month after getting into trouble with too many bad debts.

It's called "Citibank syndrome" now.

Re:Nichtlachen-Keinwortz Syndrome (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25545685)

"Nichtlachen-Keinwortz"? I think they agreed to be taken over last month after getting into trouble with too many bad debts.

Be careful, young man. Mr Bent has no sense of humor about such allegations.

Re:Fix the title... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#25547559)

I wonder how they'd count me... I have two AP's, one is encrypted for my use, the other is unencrypted and rate limited on a separate VLAN as a community service (mostly 'cuz I wanted to mess with VLAN's).

Hard to believe (1)

FLoWCTRL (20442) | more than 5 years ago | (#25542907)

I found it difficult to find free wifi in London. I always ended up having to pay for it. Boo.

Re:Hard to believe (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543053)

Not free? Well that sucks. I get to watch 25 channels of high-definition digital television completely-and-totally free, and all I need is an antenna.

>>>a total of 12,276 access points

That's it? That doesn't sound like enough bandwidth to support streaming of 1,000,000 copies of Doctor Who (if broadcast television were ended, leaving only the wireless internet to supply television). I guess we still need the "freeview" broadcast television after all.

-
- posted with Lynx, a Commodore 64 web browser (using 2 kbit/s modem)

Re:Hard to believe (3, Funny)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543347)

"posted with Lynx, a Commodore 64 web browser (using 2 kbit/s modem)"

I think that very well could be retro enough to requalify as nerdy. Most nerds go top end new gear but you should get your own categorization. 'Get off my lawn! You are blocking the mules from generating enough power for true AI on the difference engine 3.0.' Ok, maybe a little long for a title but you've obviously worked at it. Where did you even GET a 2kbit modem? Did you have to build it yourself? The rest of your post while just an opinion is kinda flamebaitish just because its blatantly ignorant, i'd rate it Offtopic... then i'd rate my post offtopic too.

Re:Hard to believe (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543561)

I was just having a bit of fun with my Commodore - just to see if the web could be accessed with ancient technology. I'm now back on my 3000 megahertz PC. It's just a hobbyist thing; no different than someone who writes Linux code for fun.

- The C64 I've owned since 1987 (purchased just a few months before Star Trek TNG premiered).
- Ditto the modem which was made by Aprotek.
- And I use an S-video connection so I can play the classic 8-bit games on my 27" television. Or surf the web. ;-)

Re:Hard to believe (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543737)

Awesome, I wish I had some old computer stuff you could really play with. The most soldering you get to do nowadays is to overclock certain computers and often you can use pencil hah. When I was a kid I found a bag of random bits... capacitors and the like, I remember being able to turn the tv to static and shut it off, little things. Nowhere as cool as having computer hardware you could mess with. I think i'm going to go mod my snes so I can use PS controllers (lost the snes ones)...

Re:Hard to believe (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25545989)

Awesome, I wish I had some old computer stuff you could really play with. The most soldering you get to do nowadays is to overclock certain computers and often you can use pencil hah.

Well, to be fair, you can't exactly get inside a Z80 or 6502 and play around with it, can you? It's still a black box.

I remember reading old computer mags my Dad had from the early 1980s, and one of the letters was someone complaining that his Dragon 32 [wikipedia.org] computer was a closed box whose inner workings were relatively opaque. Of course, compared to the early, self-assembled hobbyist computers with their hexadecimal keypads, such computers probably *were* closed consumer devices.

And as I said earlier, a microchip-based CPU is effectively unhackable, no matter what it's plugged into.

Re:Hard to believe (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552859)

You can't hardwire a 6510 CPU, but you can dump the OS and use all 65535 bytes for your own purposes. That's how the people behind GEOS were able to make the Commodore 64 look-and-act like a Macintosh even though it was only 1/10th as expensive. They dumped Commodore OS and replaced it with a brand-new one.

IMHO software hacking is a lot more fun than hardware hacking.

Re:Hard to believe (1)

Nesman64 (1093657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553595)

When I was a kid I found a bag of random bits...

Were they just pseudo random bits, or did you actually find the bit bucket?

Re:Hard to believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25544693)

That's it? That doesn't sound like enough bandwidth to support streaming of 1,000,000 copies of Doctor Who (if broadcast television were ended, leaving only the wireless internet to supply television). I guess we still need the "freeview" broadcast television after all.

Who said anything about not needing TV broadcast? And why would only wireless internet supply TV? People have wired internet as well.

Re:Hard to believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25543717)

i just got back from being in london for a week and a half, and i was able to find 3 places that had "free" wifi. prior to going, the hotel said that they had free wifi in the lobby, i get there and its £10 a day.

i ended up going to a 'hole-in-the-wall' place two underground stops away to get wifi 3 times. (yea for unlimited use 7 day pass)

i was unable to find free wifi in 3-4 areas i got my laptop out (other restuarants/cafe's) around town. most are encrypted (paid) or encrypted (company). i was unable to find any open (either residential or commerical)

i came back home (atlanta) and in the last week i have seen 10+ restaurants that have a SIGN (not only on the billboard, but also on the door as you enter the restaurant) that say that they have FREE WIFI. And these are not all corporate chain restaurants (krystal, mcdonalds, panera)

is there something that i am missing that 50% restaurants (both corporate and local) have free wifi in the US and going to the UK where 1% (if that) do?

Re:Hard to believe (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 5 years ago | (#25548167)

There is a chain of wine-bars called Corney & Barrow in the City - Free WiFi for customers when I was last in London. It was just an open a/p no special rolling access codes needed. Several pubs have free wifi too.

Also the worlds CCTV capital (1, Offtopic)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25542913)

Orwell would be proud [thisislondon.co.uk]

Re:Also the worlds CCTV capital (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543147)

At least no one has suggested a system to correlate wireless access point data with the CCTV data, "to better protect against terrorist, etc." This picture of this guy, and this data was sent.

Well, no one has suggested it, yet.

Re:Also the worlds CCTV capital (3, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543469)

To be fair, it's not clearly how many if any of those cameras are government-run, and how many are just private.

Two are supposedly on traffic lights and therefore may either by traffic cameras or, more likely, those familiar traffic sensors which have cowlings that make them look a bit like CCTV cameras. The author declined to investigate. Two more seem to belong to a conference centre (a private business) although the author didn't bother to look into that, assuming they were there on government edict to monitor Orwell's gardens for some reason.

Of the remaining 28, all the cameras actually identified are private cameras belonging to businesses. Mind you there are also "hundreds of private, remote-controlled security cameras used to scrutinise visitors to homes, shops and offices" which for some reason they decided didn't count towards the 32-camera total the way the other 28 cameras belong to businesses did. I'm not suggesting that those "hundreds" of cameras are figments of the author's imagination, or that they are only mentioned to imply that the preceding 28 cameras were somehow related to the government, even though they clearly aren't, but this is a publication associated with the Daily Mail so I doubt that fact-checking got in the way of sensationalism.

Re:Also the worlds CCTV capital (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543709)

this is a publication associated with the Daily Mail so I doubt that fact-checking got in the way of sensationalism.

Isn't the CCTV issue being in the popular press a good thing? If they aren't sensationalising something they aren't reporting it.

Re:Also the worlds CCTV capital (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25544541)

If they're sensationalising it, in this case by making up a story which doesn't actually exist (32 govt. + 100s private CCTV cameras in a 200yd radius), about a real problem which does exist (excessive government surveillance), then they're just feeding people a temporary, disposable bit of outrage rather than encouraging people to take these issues seriously.

Re:Also the worlds CCTV capital (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#25545283)

That's what they always do.

But I did watch Panorama last night, and was surprised that it was on privacy (more data than surveillance).

Re:Also the worlds CCTV capital (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25547467)

CCTV isnt really effective enough for tracking, too hard to run face recognition over all that data, wifi connections on the other hand...

In other words... (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543043)

".. in London, 20% of all business access points continue to be completely unprotected."

Plausible deniability, baby!

Here's how it's going to play out (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25543049)

So the dollar is strengthening. Good right? Wrong. It's only temporary. The dollar is strengthening because foreign banks are liquidizing debt held in dollars. Basically they are paying back debts, pulling stocks out of the stock markets, and have slowed down the rate at which they lend out money. Once the capitulation reaches a peak, the dollar will fall like a rock as foreigners will be adverse to taking on U.S. debt.

Don't be surprised if $1 USD will be worth 50 or even 30 eurocents, or tariffs imposed to that effect which will raise the cost of foreign goods. It will be welcome news to the U.S. economy which will need a new wave of investment to counteract unemployment.

Also, there are many losers around the world who will be angry in this process, and they will want to blow shit up. Don't be surprised if we have another cold war, or worse yet, start WWIII. After all, wars increase economic activity by creating things to replace things that have blown up (bombs, bridges, etc).

GDP uber alles, raise it at any cost! Or so the warmongers will have you believe. We may very well become the window repair man who moonlights as a window smasher to increase business. Never mind our standard of living will plummet as some of us face our deaths in foxholes as others bust our asses building bombs and living at subsistence levels.

Remember, you read it here first.

- Profit Bob

Re:Here's how it's going to play out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25544431)

Never mind our standard of living will plummet as some of us face our deaths in foxholes

Bye. Been nice knowing you.

as others bust our asses building bombs and living at subsistence levels.

Actually, building bombs pays much more than subsistence. Fun, too.

Misleading: They only went to Paris, London & (5, Interesting)

absent_speaker (905145) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543117)

This press release is really misleading. In the last two years, RSA only surveyed these three cities, no others. So London is the world's wireless capital when they only surveyed NYC, Paris, and London? Not really.

Besides, the gross number of wireless network doesn't tell us much. A per capita figure would have been a more useful comparison. NYC metro has 17 million people, London 8 million and Paris is at 9.6 million. It also looks like they only focused on the city's "financial hubs."

If you read further into the press release, you see this other interesting note, most networks are closed:

However, New York City remains the leader in regards to its concentration of hotspots. At 15%, New York City is well clear of London where just 5% of wireless access points were found to be hotspots. In Paris, hotspots represented 6% of all the access points we located.

Press Release: http://www.rsa.com/press_release.aspx?id=9725 [rsa.com]
Survey Results: http://www.rsa.com/node.aspx?id=3268 [rsa.com]

Re:Misleading: They only went to Paris, London &am (2, Insightful)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543449)

Besides, the gross number of wireless network doesn't tell us much. A per capita figure would have been a more useful comparison. NYC metro has 17 million people, London 8 million and Paris is at 9.6 million. It also looks like they only focused on the city's "financial hubs."

Well, the result would be the same then. More people per access point = bad.

Re:Misleading: They only went to Paris, London &am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25543455)

Where did you get the 9.6 million populaton for Paris? Last I heard, the official population for Paris was just over 2 million. Moscow and London have a largest population in Europe (even Istanbul if you want to count that in)

Re:Misleading: They only went to Paris, London &am (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543779)

Where did you get the 9.6 million populaton for Paris?

Last I heard, the official population for Paris was just over 2 million.

Moscow and London have a largest population in Europe (even Istanbul if you want to count that in)

The official city of Paris has 2 million, but the metropolitain area more like 11 million.
London has 7.5 million, and the metropolitain area 13 million.

But going by the 'urban area' Paris has more -- 10.6M rather than 8.3M. The urban area is the population of the region where houses are within 200m of each other. The metropolitain area includes satellite towns (places where most residents work in the main city etc).

Re:Misleading: They only went to Paris, London &am (2, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | more than 5 years ago | (#25549437)

The official city of Paris has 2 million, but the metropolitain area more like 11 million. London has 7.5 million, and the metropolitain area 13 million.

And to complicate things further, the City of London has a resident population of 7.8 THOUSAND.

Re:Misleading: They only went to Paris, London &am (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25546011)

Was thinking something fishy was going on.

Was in Prague and London this summer and both cities where nicely covered with wifi, however, subjectively the service was much much better in Prague than London - you have to look hard in Prague for a cafe without free wifi. Now the amount of AP's might be higher in London, but travelers/citizens ability to get online seemed quite a bit better in Prague.

Re:Misleading: They only went to Paris, London &am (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 5 years ago | (#25546911)

Never mind Seoul ... 23.8 million people and one of the fastest internet infrastructure services in the world. I know that London and NY are big, but you'd be going gray before you were about to drive around all the streets in Seoul. Not to mention the tens of thousands of high rises where a wifi signal won't be detectable.

RSA is full of shit and pushing the usual corporate agenda. Now we know they fudge statistics.

Re:Misleading: They only went to Paris, London &am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25547339)

I wholly agree. They really need to add tokyo, or seoul or hong kong to the list of cities surveyed.....

they sure aren't usable... (5, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543211)

I went to NYC in summer and took an iPod Touch. Everywhere I went, there were 2 or 3 networks, often some open, often over 8 networks.

I went to London and Paris last month and took an iPod Touch. I'd open it and usually get no networks at all. It was odd going to a coffee shop and seeing no networks. Sometimes, if you went into them, there'd be a T-Mobile network, but it required you pay.

I ended up getting no real use at all out of the iPod Touch other than the London Underground map I preloaded into it.

London and Paris need to learn of this idea of free WiFi.

London also needs to understand the idea of running their subway all night. It was insane that I had to take a taxi to St. Pancras because the train to Paris was boarding before the tube started running for the day.

Re:they sure aren't usable... (5, Funny)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543409)

...I had to take a taxi to St. Pancras...

Who the hell is St. Pancreas, and why did you need to visit him? Is he the patron saint of Endocrine/Digestive Duality? I suppose he could absolve you of alcoholic overindulgence, but St. Liver might be your better bet.

Re:they sure aren't usable... (1)

bs7rphb (924322) | more than 5 years ago | (#25544767)

Well, Liverpool St. will get you to Norwich, and if you've ever been there you'll realise why that might be associated with alcoholism. You've got to cope somehow.

Re:they sure aren't usable... (1)

phayes (202222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543745)

London and Paris need to learn of this idea of free WiFi.

WIFI in Paris has boomed because of the proliferation of ADSL services like Free [www.free.fr], Orange [orange.fr], N9uf/SFR [adsl.sfr.fr], Darty [darty.com], Alice [aliceadsl.fr], etc that all include a box that does ADSL, WIFI, telephone & TV. It is now rare to find someone who has ADSL without having an associated WIFI hotspot even when they do not use the WIFI. As all these boxes come configured with WPA PSK, finding open hotspots has gotten extremely rare as it takes someone who knows what they are doing & is willing to share their ADSL line.

London also needs to understand the idea of running their subway all night.

Paris needs the same lesson, but it won't come until they have automated the train drivers out of existance due to the labor unions blocking any progress on this point. Maybe my kids will be able to go out to a nightclub & get home before 6AM, but I've tired of running around Paris in the middle of the night looking for a taxi or walking home...

Re:they sure aren't usable... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25543941)

Oh we understand all right. But logical arguments don't work here bureaucracy rules the roost here.

Running the tubes all night would be awesome. But Londoners are the laziest people on the planet and no one is going to work all night in the public sector, they would strike if we tried to make them.

Thus no tubes after midnight or before 6am.

Re:they sure aren't usable... (1)

defnoz (1128875) | more than 5 years ago | (#25553911)

Erm, except for the thousands of people who do work every night, maintaining the >100 year old lines. The NY subway can run all night because it has redundant lines for slow/fast trains, so there's no need to close the whole line for repairs.

Re:they sure aren't usable... (1)

Jon Chatow (25684) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543973)

London also needs to understand the idea of running their subway all night. It was insane that I had to take a taxi to St. Pancras because the train to Paris was boarding before the tube started running for the day.

Yes, well, the network was built without track redundancy (for all but a negligible part of the network, there's exactly one set of tracks in each direction). It's stupid, and we (Humanity) learnt to do it better in later subways (like New York). That's what you get for being first in the world.

There's not much that could be done about it. I recall seeing a guesstimate price for "fixing" the problem - that is, building an entire secondary network - at US$50 billion. Not exactly in reach.

Back on-topic, I did find this story somewhat surprising; I certainly don't find there to be WiFi APs everywhere I go. Maybe I'm just unlucky. :-)

Re:they sure aren't usable... (2, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#25544115)

There are very few subways that run all night. The New York Subway was build with four tunnels for each line -- at night, only two are needed, so maintenance can be done on the other two. The London Underground only has two tracks for each line, so they have to shut at night for maintenance. It's annoying.

There are lots of night buses, many of them running as often as every 10-15 minutes all night (but if you want to go to outer London it might only be every half hour). They're quite safe to use, and the same price as a daytime journey (90p). Many routes are getting voice+LED announcements, so you know where to get off too. And there's not much traffic at night either.

Here's [tfl.gov.uk] the night buses that go past St Pancras station.

I'd like to see more trams in London. And I'd like to see less cars too, and more bikes.

Re:they sure aren't usable... (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25544625)

You mean Britain. Our public transport system was dreamt up by the Monty Python team after being mistaken for sensible people. Oh no, it only seems like that.

Re:they sure aren't usable... (3, Informative)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 5 years ago | (#25544645)

London also needs to understand the idea of running their subway all night. It was insane that I had to take a taxi to St. Pancras because the train to Paris was boarding before the tube started running for the day.

Slightly OT but the reason they don't is because the geniuses that designed it didn't consider a second backup tunnel. Therefore if they want to do any kind of engineering work (and they do, as the UK loves the idea of running something without maintenance until it spectaculary breaks down) then they have to close the whole tunnel down.

There has been pressure to run the underground later on Friday and Saturday evenings but due to the large amount of work required on the tunnels (see why in paragraph above), this doesn't seem to get off the ground.

Oh, it also means that the slightest break-down or signal failure (of which there are a lot, again see why in paragraph above) then it brings the entire service to a grinding halt. Which is always handy at 8am on a Monday morning.

Finally free public WiFi anywhere in the UK (let alone London) is a rarity. So much so I was rather surprised to find one in Kingston one afternoon.

(Which explains why you don't see many people out with their iPod Touches surfing the web)

Re:they sure aren't usable... (1)

ydrol (626558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25547597)

>Slightly OT but the reason they don't is because the geniuses that designed it didn't consider a second backup tunnel. Well bear in mind it was the oldest in the world though not by much. Easy to criticise with hindsight. Though I did never understand why there are so many points failures.

Re:they sure aren't usable... (1)

hughk (248126) | more than 5 years ago | (#25548323)

Therefore if they want to do any kind of engineering work (and they do, as the UK loves the idea of running something without maintenance until it spectaculary breaks down) then they have to close the whole tunnel down.

It was called PPI or something and basically involved a US escapee setting up some nice juicy contracts involving paying a maintenance company not do work.

Re:they sure aren't usable... (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551095)

Be fair to the designers, it was the first in the world (and as you say it's been creaking along since then). An analogy might be UNIX -- fair enough, not the oldest, but one of the oldest OSes, carelessly designed, somehow still working, and remarkably still the best OS by far.

All night tube (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25545807)

London's Underground network can't run all night. It's closed during the night for essential works. It only has one set of tracks, unlike the NYC subway which has two (so when one closes, the other can be used).

If it were being built today, no doubt they'd dig two tunnels, but unfortunately the network is over 100 years old and they didn't think of that back then.

Re:All night tube (2, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25547385)

Lets not forget that in all honesty 24 hour tube isn't something people are that interested in, Brian paddock was proposing keeping the tube open all of friday & saturday (or atleast some of the tube), nobody cared much. There are plenty of 24hr buses to get you home between 1-2 and 5-6 (with the tfl.gov plasterd everywhere, aswell as the nightbus maps its not exactly hard to find them either). Ofc 24hr tube would be nice but id rather see money spend elsewhere than maintaining >250 stations open during the night for almost zero benefit (at night a bus can get from A to B pretty fast, especially as it rarely has to stop ( no traffic & nobody catching the bus at most stops))

Re:they sure aren't usable... (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25546049)

The law might actually prevent free wifi, here in Denmark for instance you are liable for whatever is going on on the connection, leaving it open intentionally can get you into a lot of trouble. Any cafe running wifi will make damned sure they know who was using the connection at what point (ig. require authentication and most likely creditcards).

Paris? Not so much (1)

ktappe (747125) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543369)

This is interesting to hear because I was in Paris 3 months ago and had a very hard time finding WiFi. Or at least open WiFi. They were ALL locked down, which led me to wonder if there were some type of French law banning open WiFi points.

It's true that they are common - up to a point (3, Interesting)

MythMoth (73648) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543461)

As other posters have noted, the survey was only of three cities.

Even aside from that, for most people it's something of an academic point because unless you have infinite funds and patience you will be constrained to a few networks. Free ones are relatively uncommon.

It can still be useful though - just today I was able to work around a broadband outage in my office in Knightsbridge by buying a day's connection to the local BTOpenZone access point. Mind you, it was irritating that to circumvent a problem with BT's flakey internet I had to buy a service from BT themselves at an extortionate £10 for 24 hours, but still better than no connectivity for a day.

That's it? (3, Informative)

repvik (96666) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543465)

I found more than a thousand wifi networks walking down Oxford street with a PDA this spring, and London only has ~12k wifi networks?

Re:That's it? (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25551117)

Oxford street is the busiest shopping street in the world; I think you may have picked an edge case there.

Re:That's it? (1)

repvik (96666) | more than 5 years ago | (#25552849)

Of course, but still. Oxford street is just a tiny part of London. I can't believe that that one street accounts for almost 10% of Londons wifi networks.

Encryption (1)

PrickleyPete (1390619) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543513)

In New York City 97% of corporate access points had encryption in place, at first glance this is impressive, though I wonder how many of these are still using WEP... I would expect a large percentage, so even though companies are starting to smarten up by actually using *some means* of encryption, are they using a reliable method? Doubtful.

Percentages too many, making hurt brain (2, Funny)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543563)

so let me get this straight: there's 3,000 less than 12,276 which is only 72% down from 160% net over gain loss from 49-45% with 97% up from 76% not publicly available.

free wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25543565)

In oulu (Finland, were polar bears and penguins roar) has free wifi with this http://www.panoulu.net. Thou it 'only' has about 1000 hotspots.

Open Access points? (1)

Peregr1n (904456) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543723)

It would be more interesting and productive to know which cities have the most (intentionally) open, publicly usable, free-to-use access points, in useful places.

In London, I can generally only find a few I can use - and mainly only because I have access to the BT ones, in places like Waterloo station

However, Paris is the bee's knees. Every public park has free to use WiFi, and it's simply wonderful. In the summer I lay on the grass working with my laptop, and noticed many local business people doing the same.

I know London has a lot of FON hotspots, but I've never bothered subscribing to it, as they generally pop up in residential areas - and when I want WiFi, it's in a busy commercial area or a train station, not in the middle of the suburbs.

Places to get free WiFi in (north) Atlanta (1)

Molochi (555357) | more than 5 years ago | (#25547603)

Here, intentional, free WiFi is generally a value added thing to get you use a business' services.

Starbucks is the only coffee chain that made you pay locally AFAIK. Caribou, Panera, DunkinDonuts and all the smaller/independents offer "free" WiFi. Hotels generally offer WiFi on the ground floor. Sometimes it'll reach out to the pool.

Bars almost always seem to have an open AP. Restaurants that cater to business lunchers are a pretty safe bet. If you get desperate there's always McDonald's.

Even my local mall's foodcourt has free WiFi and they advertise it on the LED sign out front.

However you will rarely find one in a place that specializes in sausage gravy as a preferred topping for a meal.

Never found one in a park though. I should get a hotdog cart or a Lunch Truck and set up an AP.

This study brought to you by Linksys (3, Funny)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543949)

America's #1 Free Wireless ISP. Nationwide, and now #1 in London too!

Stupid (4, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#25544005)

From my NYC apartment my laptop picks up 39 wireless networks. If I take it down 40 floors to the street I detect 3.

I can guess where they measured from...

Re:Stupid (2, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#25544587)

If I wanted free WiFi I'm almost certainly on the ground though.

It would be better to measure the number of WiFi spots reachable from public roads and parks, and usable without payment.

hmmm (1)

davidangel (1337281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25544419)

My experience in London was getting 500 signals at any given point, most of which were locked, and the rest of which were slow to the point of not working...

Enjoy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25545115)

...cancer.

543% year-over-year increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25545353)

So that raises Paris's number of wireless networks from what, 7, to 45?

Completely unprotected? (4, Interesting)

kunwon1 (795332) | more than 5 years ago | (#25546073)

although in London, 20% of all business access points continue to be completely unprotected."

Probably not true. I'd wager that the lions share of those 'unprotected' APs would just funnel you straight to a VPN login page, with no other access of any kind.

Not what the RSA survey was about (2, Interesting)

eggboard (315140) | more than 5 years ago | (#25547331)

I had a briefing from RSA about this survey (writing it up for Ars Technica), and the wardriving that was done was not for the purpose of counting. Rather, it was a subsample of the city: a route that went through business and residential neighborhoods, and that has been driven consistently in London for 4 years. The same route in Paris has been driven for 4 years, and in New York for 7 years.

One man's "unprotected" (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25549495)

is another man's "available".

I'd love to be able to go somewhere around here and find more open access points, instead of a dozen, all with passwords.

Seoul would be one of the WiFi Capital if included (1)

wesley96 (934306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25550877)

I'm pretty sure the title of "Wi-Fi Point Capital" would be given to some other city if the survey was extended to other cities.

I'm actually thinking of Seoul. South Korea's KT (formerly Korea Telecom) has a well-known Wi-Fi service that covers 'nationwide' called Nespot. According to this article [findarticles.com], there were 27,000 Nespot APs back in early 2007. The figure was around 17,000 in 2006 according to this (in Korean) [daum.net], so the number's been growing pretty fast.

Now, while this number is 'nationwide', the coverage is concentrated on major metropolitan cities only. Considering that Seoul has 1/4 the population of the entire nation (1/2 if you cover its satellite cities), there should be around 10,000 APs solely run by KT. Then there's the VoIP phone service that's made popular by LG Powercomm. It already has more than a million subscribers nationwide, and most of the phones are 'wireless' via Wi-Fi AP to communicate between the phone and the network. I can detect one of these APs from my house. These two companies alone probably put out several tens of thousands of APs in Seoul already. If you consider all other private and corporate APs that normally lurks around in buildings and apartments, the numbers would be mind-boggling.

Like most things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25553531)

...in London, statistically it is world class, however, the reality is totally different. See also categories Food, Rent, Happiness, Transport, Social Cohesion, Cost of Living, WIFI ACCESS, Net Speeds. I could go on...

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