Every now and then, I check up on the status of wifi networks in and around my apartment. This for two reasons. The one being that I'm kind of lazy when it comes to moving files around, and if it can be done without me actually having to move actual things around, then I will prefer that option. The other being that it is interesting to see what kind of names people assign to their networks.
So far, two things has revealed themselves to me. One is that there's a definite increase in the number of networks around here. Two is that there is less randomness in the naming than one might expect.
There are, of course, the default names. The "we never bother to name our network, so now you know what router o mobile phone we use" names.
The name name. A name that's also a name. Sometimes combined with the above - especially when it comes to phones, where the resulting name is a variant of the [name] [device] formula.
The family names. The x family. Often with an added explanatory word, like "network". Just to make sure to both family and neighbor friends that it's indeed a network that is indeed belonging to the family.
The local entrepreneur, who uses their company name. (If they are smart about it, they don't bother with passwords. Free is good advertisement.)
The local wannabe hacker, with the leet skills and the üb3r1337 haxxor name.
The local real hacker, who comes around to ask you to please stop trying if you show up too many times in the logs.
And, of course, there's always IPREDIA. Which is shorthand for "yarr! welcome, pirate friend!". A clear example of how legislative efforts sometimes backfire into more of the unwanted behavior, and of countercultural reactions to perceived threats to their way of being. -
From the basis of this, I feel as if it might be warranted to suggest that there might be more to the naming of wifi networks than one might initially think. That there might be more things to say if one but takes the time to invest them with discourse.
Who's up for it? Who's with me in thinking that wifi ethnography is a thing?