Dataset Types

Wifi sniffing data


Wifi Sniffing Data is data collected by picking up signals of Wifi enabled devices, such as smartphones. A Wifi Sniffer scans for so-called ‘packets’ that are sent out by smartphones in search for connectivity. These packets contain information that can be used as an identifier of the sender, the smartphone. Processing these identifiers generates information on the number of devices passing by or residing in the range of the Wifi sniffers. Sniffing for these packets and device identifiers at several locations can provide information on mobility behaviour of the individual smartphone user or a crowd.

The Wifi Sniffer technology is a specific type of network analyzer or packet sniffer for wireless networks. This technology is somewhat controversial since it can also be used for attacks on wireless networks.

Wifi Sniffing requires the Wifi to be activated on the devices. The rise of (unlimited) mobile data plans might cause a decreasing use of public Wifi. Also, security concerns can encourage people to disable their Wifi functionality.

The geographic range of the Wifi Sniffer can be influenced by reflection or interference of signals and varies for different locations and in different directions.

When best to use

Wifi Sniffing can be used to capture personal and crowd behavior for crowd management, analysing mobility patterns in a city or even social interactions during an event.

Main data elements:

The wifi sniffer dataset provide the following information:

  • ID of a device
  • Timestamp
  • This information can be aggregated to know the number of passers-by at a given time at a given place.

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