Peek Into Store’s Wi-Fi Network Finds 335 Devices

December 23, 2011

A network engineer who peeked into the Wi-Fi networks of Honolulu (Hi.) Apple stores found over 300 connected devices at one store, including customer iPhones and iPads, window displays and the iPod touch point-of-sale devices. Apple uses an open Wi-Fi network at each store to connect its display products, and also allows visitors and passersby to use the network. Tech writer Todd Ogasawara posted that he visited two Apple stores recently and used a network profiling app on his iPad to view the stores’ open Wi-Fi network. At the first unidentified “mid-sized” store Ogasawara found 208 devices using Apple’s Wi-Fi network. At a second “anchor” store in Honolulu, he found 335 connected devices. Ogasawara said the profile showed that Apple uses commercial-grade Cisco Wi-Fi access points at the stores. A typical mall-size Apple store can have 135 products on display, all connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi. A variety of other devices also connect to the store’s Wi-Fi: window displays using Mac minis, point-of-sale iPod touch devices, Concierge and Genius Bar iPads, and back-of-house computers. Lastly, a network profile also shows visitor devices using Apple’s Wi-Fi, either during normal use or while they’re being repaired, and even devices outside the store linked to the network. Download (pdf) a list compiled by IFO of an actual store’s Wi-Fi network devices for more details on device names and network configuration.

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