Demystification Committee

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LINX/CANARY WHARF SNIFF

In November 2015 the Demystification Committee set to explore wireless communication infrastructure across the city. Using custom software to capture and analyse WiFi data, a series of walks were undertaken.

The first went through an area nestled north-east of Canary Wharf and characterised by large anonymous buildings with imposing grey exterior. This extremely militarised part of London is surrounded by multiple metal fences and countless security cameras, for the area houses an important node of Internet: LINX, the London Internet Exchange. There, networks from providers like Virgin or O2 come together to exchange traffic.

Following the path of the underground cables branching out from LINX, the walk continued towards the nearby Canary Wharf, a world-leading financial hub, housing the headquarters of banks such as HSBC, Barclays or CityBank. These banks do not sit over the world’s fastest telecommunication cables by coincidence, as financial services and fast trading algorithms thrive over the speed, performance and scalability of networked telecommunication systems.

Over 60,000 devices and 2,000 networks were monitored during the walk. The data was initially plotted on a map, but the amount was too high to visualise at once. Instead a Network Study was produced, the first in a series of audiovisual pieces.

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