Does your WiFi iPad show your location incorrectly?

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by knock, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. knock
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    knock iPF Novice

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    It is very likely something in your wireless router. Unless you are using a 3g iPad with the 3g cell towers triangulating your position, your iPad uses something that is broadcast from wireless routers around you...and you do not need to be connected to that router for this to take place. The iPad appears to read the strongest wifi signal and sets your location based upon what location that particular router you are detecting is reporting.
    I bought two wifi iPads, one for myself and one for my Mom. I set both up at my house. I have the widely popular Linksys wrt54g2 router. Both iPads hit my location very quickly and are quite accurate. I then took my Mom's iPad to her house with a Tenda router and the map starts showing my location as South Korea! If I walked down the street one way about 100 yards, it would lose her router's signal and pick up one down the street, jumping the location back to my vicinity. When I walked back to her house, it took me back to Korea. I walked up the street in another direction and back again, with the same results.
    After thinking this through, even considering that maybe her house was on top of some phenominal magnetic or radioactive deposits, I finally got down to unplugging her router and bam! I was instantly transported back to a logical location position. I took her iPad back to my house, and location works correctly on both iPads. I can also recreate the issue with my own iPad. So there is no doubt it is her router. BUT, I cannot find anything in the Tenda router's setup/settings web page that fixes this. I have changed the date and time and time zone on the router, rebooted everything multiple times and still no luck. I wanted to share this with the community so anyone else with similar issues might gain some insight.
    I'm going to dig into the router a little deeper and come up with a solution to get it to report it's location properly. I have a feeling it is something in its SSID broadcast since I have validated that it is not necessary for the iPad to be connected to a router in order to get its location.
  2. iPadCharlie
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    iPadCharlie iPad Super Guru

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    Have you checked the Tenda website (http://www.tenda.cn/) to make sure you have the most current firmware?
  3. RAC
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    RAC iPad Junkie

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    My theory, as just posted on a similar thread, is that when the Google car drives down your street taking StreetView images it also grabs the MAC addresses of wireless routers that is can pick up and stores them, with approximate locations, in a database.

    As for the Korean location, perhaps we have run out of unique MAC addresses and they are repeated in various parts of the world. I not really sure about the that though.


    This Apple KB sheds some light on the subject iPhone and iPod touch: Understanding Location Services
  4. knock
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    knock iPF Novice

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    google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Mobile/thread?tid=6bef39e72c3abbb5&hl=en Despite fixing router location online using MAC address, WiFi devices still show up 3000 miles off on Latitude - Google Mobile Help

    You are going to have to copy/paste the link above because Im still too new here on this forum to post active links

    I just found the link above showing that the problem may be related to google's map database having an incorrect location associated with the router's Mac address. It also appears there is no way to fix it with a wifi iPad alone. The database uses the Mac address as the main record. It stores cell tower, wifi, and gps location data that is reported along with that Mac address. If I get several people with cell phones to turn on gps,wifi, and cell tower assisted location, it will begin to update the location of the wifi Mac address associated with the router.
    I could clone the Mac address of another router that has yet to be pinpointed in googles database onto my Mom's router, but gee whiz.
    Here is how I think this went down.

    The time zone on the router was set by default to Korea. The first device to connect to the router and access google maps location service was her wifi-only iPad. The router reported itself to google as in the time zone of Korea and nothing conflicting was presented, so it pegged the first part of the longitude. Next came the internal compass's contribution to the location. This appears to set a bearing and somehow triangulate position. What this means is that wifi iPads and other such devices are going to corrupt googles location database for any particular router they access if that router's time zone setting is not consistent with it's actual location. Since people may move from say, Florida to Washington, even if they reset their routers time zone, google will still report the location as Florida. Google has basically allowed movable landmarks to be interpreted as fixed positions on the globe.
  5. knock
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    knock iPF Novice

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    Thanks for the link RAC
  6. iVan
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    iVan iPad Ninja

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    Can that be legal?
  7. knock
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    knock iPF Novice

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    1991-c4,

    To answer your question, yes, I have scoured their website.

    Before I posted this thread, I did do a search on this forum and really didn't hit on anything, but mainly because I did not include "GPS" in my search for obvious reasons.

    Since this issue appears to be restricted to wifi-only iPads, could you edit the OP's title to say "Does your wifi iPad show your location incorrectly?".

    After reading the similar GPS thread, i was just thinking it may be prudent to separate the issues a little better.
  8. GaurhothW
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    GaurhothW iPF Novice

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    Apple uses a service called skyhook for wifi positioning. They basically wardrive populated areas and record locations along with details about a wifi access point. In this case it appears that their database has an error. You might can submit a correction at (i would post a link, but i am new...:)

    Google search for skyhook wireless and look around the site for the submission form.
  9. iPadCharlie
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    iPadCharlie iPad Super Guru

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    Done!
  10. RAC
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    RAC iPad Junkie

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    There was an outcry about this (and StreetView as well) by Civil Liberties groups in Australia about a year ago but it must have come to nothing.
  11. RAC
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    RAC iPad Junkie

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    Just today, there is news here there Google is being investigated by the Australian Federal Police for contraventions of the Communication (Interception and Access) Act.

    The press may be getting it wrong, saying that email details etc were accessed "accidentally", which sounds unlikely.

    AFP seeks legal advice in Google probe | The Australian

    There is also mention of action against StreetView in the UK.
  12. iVan
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    iVan iPad Ninja

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    I like Streetview but using my personal network signal as a marker bothers me...

    Is there a way to restrict a wifi radio signal to the confines of a home?
  13. Peacekepr
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    Peacekepr iPF Noob

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    Hello - don't have an iPad but found your post in a search for a solution to the same problem whith my iPhone 4.

    Location services are not done by skyhook any more - it is now done in-house at Apple. From what I can tell it is not possible to update apple locations as it was with skyhook.

    I stayed for a week in a resort immediatly next to a cruise ship dock and it repeatedly located me in other port cities that the ships had been in. The conflcting location info killed my battery as it kept using gps to try and resove my location.

    Read my full post at everythingicafe. (pls cut and paste link)

    everythingicafe.com/forum/ios/apple-location-services-bug-block-particular-wifi-from-location-services-79155
  14. knock
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    knock iPF Novice

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    See, that right there is interesting. This obviously isn't a minor issue and I believe it is going to escalate as time goes by because it is caused by a database full of garbage and the number of wifi ipads as well as iphones is going to skyrocket in about 2 months. Not to mention the number of re-located wireless routers goes up every day as people move from place to place or sell their used routers on flea bay.
  15. Oldgreydoc
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    Oldgreydoc iPF Noob

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    I have wifi only iPad and like everybody else was disappointed that Location Services didn't seem able to track me down and had me as living in the middle of England (the shame, the embarrassment!). I trawled all the discussions and although the gist was that registering with Skyhook wouldn't make any difference now that Apple and Skyhook have parted company, I thought what is there to lose and registered anyway. 4 weeks went by without anything changing then all of a sudden Location Services suddenly tracked me down at my home address! I'm delighted of course but was wondering if this was due to Apple tracking down more wifi locations or is there still value in registering with Skyhook?
  16. saablady
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    saablady iPF Noob

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    This forum is so great. I'm a newbie and have a wifi only iPad2. Maps shows my location catty-corner across the road. Our road isn't shown in street view but the neighbors road is. So evidently Google picked up the neighbors router and uses it for this neighborhood. I'm not going to worry about it. If big brother ever comes after me, he'll get the neighbor instead. :)
  17. Parrori1
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    Parrori1 iPad Fan

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    Mine targets the house across the street from me. Close enough for wifi only.
  18. Bigguy1956
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    Bigguy1956 iPF Noob

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    Re - Issues with Tenda Routers on location services

    Thanks for the advice, I went to the Skyhook site (submission page) entered the details they required firstly post/zip code or address then MAC address of the wireless of the wireless router. You can get this from 'Setting/ General/ About/ WiFi Address on the iPad or they point you in the direction of freeware programs to help you in your quest for the MAC address. I completed my form & submitted it and within 10 mins the problem was solved be aware that in some cases it can take up to seven days.

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