WiFi Balloons? Visualizing WiFi Signals in the Sky? What Does WiFi Look Like to You?


Check out the following wifi visualization over Washington, D.C., created by artist Nickolay Lamm. This depiction is the first to incorporate the overall complexity — the shape, size, and color — of wireless signals. It would appear that wifi signals aren’t as simple as people may think after all.

wifi balloons

“I feel that by showing what wifi would look like if we could see it, we’d appreciate the technology that we use everyday. A lot of us use technology without appreciating the complexity behind making it work,” Lamm explained in an interview.

After all, wifi signals are simply radiowaves transmitted over an energy field. In our increasingly mobile lives, we must remember that becoming untethered from landlines — via laptops, smartphones, and tablets — makes us vulnerable to privacy issues. That’s because, like any radio wave, all it takes is another radio receiver tuned to the right channel to listen in to what we’re doing online. Further, it is two-way radio, so anything that you send or receive is vulnerable. A personal VPN like Private Wifi is needed to protect your wireless Internet communications from being intercepted by others.

And with Google’s recent announcements to launch “WiFi balloons,”  with hundreds of people connecting to one balloon at a time, that means each balloon could provide connectivity to a ground area about 25 miles.

Take a look around — at Lamm’s artistic depiction, especially — and you’ll realize the potential for hacking seems astronomical and makes ideas like Google’s pie-in-the-sky wireless idea seem downright dangerous for consumers’ online privacy.

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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.